Jenni Palocsik, Senior Director, Solutions Marketing, Verint, [email protected]
self-driving cars to services such as Amazon Alexa, great strides are
being made to offer technology to help make our day-to-day lives
easier. It’s not a huge leap to consider how software robots might soon
be found in the workplace, helping human employees do their jobs.
The World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report
(January 2016) predicted that developments in artificial intelligence,
robotics and other fields would lay the foundation for a “revolution”
in how technology could be used to tackle problems.
There was great
promise, but also a warning issued about the transformation that entire
industries would need to make. Some jobs were expected to grow rapidly,
others could be threatened by redundancy—and for others—a new set of
skills might be required.
For many, the initial reaction was one of anxiety. Doom and gloom.
There was real fear about the possibility of mass unemployment from the
inevitable extinction of common jobs.
In the months that have passed, however, a calmer response has emerged
around the potential for technology and employees to work together in
new ways for even better outcomes. Change is happening quite rapidly.
It’s even estimated that as many as 65% of children entering elementary school today will end up working completely new jobs that don’t even exist yet
What it means for the work
Work can now be done faster and with fewer errors when automated using
Robotic Process Automation. Processes can be executed in high
volumes—following organizational policies or industry
What it means for employees
As routine, repetitive work is offloaded to software robots, employees
can focus on work that requires human decision-making, creativity or
empathy and continue to build new skills as jobs evolve and
organizations transform. Robots can also make the work that employees
do easier. It can speed up portions of their tasks or provide guidance
within a process to help them learn how to do certain transactions—or
notify them of changes in how they need to be done without requiring
If positioned correctly, employees won’t see software robots or
automation as a threat, but simply another tool to help how work gets
What it means for managers
Managers will oversee a combined human and robotic workforce,
leveraging the strengths of each to get more done in a smarter way. As
automation software technology gets even better with machine learning
and artificial intelligence, managers will need to coach and train
their employees to perform higher-skilled functions in response.
What it means for organizations
When work is completed faster—and by automating the work you eliminate
the potential for manually introduced errors—the customer experience is
better. Improved customer satisfaction results in better retention
rates and future potential for upsell and cross-sell.
As employees offload more monotonous tasks and can continue to build
their skills to perform more valuable work, they are more engaged—and
attrition likely decreases.
Smart use of technology positions the organization for more growth and
the ability to adapt to future changes across industries and customer
expectations. This idea is backed by a new study that suggests that
robotic process automation and robotic labor is adding more value to
the economy and may even create more jobs
as a result.
This article was originally published on Verint’s blog at http://blog.verint.com/customer-engagement/are-your-employees-ready-for-robot-co-workers
 World Economic Forum: The Future of Jobs Report
, January 2016
 World Economic Forum: The Future of Jobs Report (Executive Summary)
, January 2016
 Dishman, Lydia, “Could Robots Actually Create More Jobs?” Fast Company
, March 16, 2017. Report referenced in article is “Will post-Brexit Britain hinder a robo-revolution?
” from the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) and Redwood Software.
The Loyalty Factor & The Avaya Bankruptcy Filing
Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC And Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research,
On January 19, 2017, Avaya Inc. of Santa Clara, CA, filed for Chapter
11 bankruptcy in order to attempt to reduce its debt load of about $6.3
billion. Avaya was facing a deadline of the end of January to
address debt agreements with creditors or possibly default.
Avaya’s debt burden originated with an $8.2 billion buyout in
2007 by private equity firms Silver Lake Partners and TPG Capital.
$600 million of debt was due for repayment in October 2017 and
Avaya had been burdened by interest expense of more than $400 million
per year. In addition, Avaya owes its retirees more than $1.7
One of the solutions considered to address Avaya’s debt was the sale of
their contact center business, which they attempted to do in 2016 but
could not reach a deal. Buyout firm Clayton, Dubilier and Rice
had offered to acquire the business for about $4 billion. It was
announced on March 17, 2017 that Avaya had sold its networking business
to Extreme Networks of Santa Clara, CA, for about $100 million.
Avaya has secured $725 million in debtor-in-possession financing from
Citibank to finance continuing business operations and the
administrative costs of bankruptcy.
Although this isn’t the first time a company in the contact center
industry has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, this is
certainly the highest profile company to file since Nortel filed for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. As a result, Saddletree Research
and the NACC wished to better understand how customer service
professionals in the U.S. contact center industry viewed not only
Avaya, but any contact center supplier that undertook Chapter 11
restructuring. In order to gain this understanding we conducted a
brief survey among NACC members.
The 81 survey participants represented contact centers of all sizes, as illustrated in the figure below.
The percentage of respondents who are currently Avaya customers is illustrated in the following graph.
We discovered that there is significant loyalty to Avaya as a vendor
with 58 percent of respondents indicating they would stay with Avaya
throughout the bankruptcy proceedings. On the other hand, the 42
percent of Avaya customers who indicated that they will now seek
another technology vendor cited two overwhelming factors that
influenced their decision.
54 percent of those looking for a replacement for Avaya stated concerns
regarding risking their own future operations on a vendor with proven
financial difficulties. 31 percent of respondents replacing their
Avaya contact center platforms believe that Avaya’s focus in the future
will likely be on their own business rather than ensuring that their
customers are happy with their Avaya Solutions.
For those customers staying with Avaya through their bankruptcy
reorganization, the overwhelming majority – 56 percent – indicated that
staying with Avaya was better than going through the headache of