Voice Business Systems for Beginners, Module 1

This is an introductory educational style series for beginners to learn about voice related business systems. The objective is to start at the most basic level and progress steadily into deeper, more complex aspects through further modules.

Whether you are interested in implementing a voice business system or just need to work with one, as long as you are a beginner, these modules are written for you.

Module 1:  What is a Business System?

Business systems can be complex but they don't have to be complicated

You’ve heard of business systems and you know that big organizations use them. They are very complex and only those I. T. people really understand them.

No so! In fact, if you are currently working or have ever worked, you’ve used or operated some kind of business system. If you have ever used a telephone or computer, you have used a business system.

Business systems can be complex but they don’t have to be complicated and when new modules are released, manufactures learn how to make them easier to use.

Automated or Autonomous Item

Essentially, a business system is any self-contained and self-controlled item that performs an ordered set of tasks inside or instead of a business process.

Tools cannot make decisions

Tools cannot make decisions

A simple example is a telephone and a more complex example is a PBX (private branch exchange) telephone system all the way to complex software system with augmented or artificial intelligence capabilities (AI).

A business system is a materially self-contained item but may interact with or depend on another business system such as software interacting and depending on a computer.

It is also self-controlled in an automated or even autonomous1 way depending on how complex it can make decisions. If it doesn’t meet this criteria, I’d say it’s a tool and not a system.

Workers increase and leverage these tacit functions

 

Leveraged by workers during business processes

But modern business systems are quite a bit more than that. We leverage our business systems in more ways than its capabilities. They become important to us in ways we don’t realize, beyond the features and benefits expressed by the creators of the business system itself.

They also provide basic grounding to our identified functions of expertise, routine and interaction with others involved with our processes. People become certified in some cases, in a particular business system which then forms a part of their professional identity.

Why do you want one?

The simplest and most practical answer to why people want to invest their time, money and energy into a business system is because they want to spend less time doing repetitive tasks, save money and expend less energy on arduous processes.

If you are thinking about investing in a business system or one has been thrust upon you by your organization, I recommend that you take a few minutes to brainstorm the answer to these questions;

  1. If I eliminate repetitive tasks, what is the positive impact on our new ability to focus on and deal with bigger and more complex issues?
  2. How can we make good use of the freed up time?
  3. What is the impact to our work life in removing or streamlining arduous processes?
  4. How can we exploit a successful business system into greater expertise and ability?

Automation

Engage creativity by reducing repetitive tasks

In order to save money, you need to do more with less and this is generally done through automation.

Take the basic boring, repetitive steps out of human hands and have a machine do it. Leave workers alone to think about building a better business not mindlessly repeating tasks.

The key is to release human creativity. The more creative your people are, the more ideas they can create and potentially be applied to the organization.

Automation also gives you speed, quality and quantity.

Speed

We know that computers can process millions of instructions per second. Which is so much faster than the week it takes for my son to process the one instruction of cleaning his room.

Speed is more than just processing instructions quickly, it is also a part of our instant everything culture. There is an expectation around speed that something is just instantly done.

What you want to think about is the impact of speed on the people who are removed from the processes but rely on or request the processes. Most often, the person making the request has is kept out of the detail that goes into the process and a change can be impactful. How will speed change the relationship between removed user and expectations?

Quality

Every instruction is performed exactly the same way, in the same order, every single time. Quality experts2 know that routines are the cornerstone of quality. If we remove all defects from a process, it all goes to cost savings no matter how small.

Quantity

We could say that because of speed and quality we end up with more quantity. That’s definitely true but it’s also true that a business system can handle many simultaneous instances of a process all at once through parallel processing3. Parallel processing is essentially when a system (or system user) can create multiple instances of itself to simultaneously perform separate non-related tasks.

Quantity is also achieved through the system’s non-tiring, non-interrupted use.

Basic Characteristics

Automation creates speed, quality and quantity

A business system with have 4 high level basic characteristics that form the automation we require. These are;

  1. Predetermined instructions
  2. Ordered action
  3. Repeatable processing
  4. Predictable Result

We need to remain mindful that every business system at its core will function by these 4 characteristics. They are the essence of how automation creates speed, quality and quantity.

Predetermined Instructions

The instruction set to achieve the end result is always predetermined. More specifically, it contains a programmed set of instructions which can make decisions on what steps it will take to arrive at the result it was called upon to deliver.

Exercise your brain: How can you take advantage of predetermined instructions in the context of improving quality within your business ecosystem?

Ordered Action

The system follows an ordered set of actions. Often we can influence the order through user options or feature sets.

What is important to understand is the “walk-through” of the order (before the system is implemented) and compare it to what would happen with a business system.

The comparison needs to make sense even if only at a high level to protect the investment from non-use or low adoption. If the comparison doesn’t make sense, the investment may not make sense.

Repeatable Processing

Being repeatable has several meanings here;

  1. It must be able to repeat its intended functions for a reasonable lifetime before failure
  2. In must be able to repeat what it does for different people
  3. It repeatedly delivers the same outcome every time

Predictable Result

You buy an electric drill because you need holes

Before you push the button to engage the system, you know basically what result you’re going to get. For example, if you use a transcription system, you’re going to get a document.

This is important to keep in mind when you’re buying a system and getting buy-in from stakeholders. Stakeholders are notorious for wanting to know what ‘they’ are going to get out of ‘it’.

Remember, you don’t go to the hardware store to buy an electric drill because you need an electric drill, you buy one because you need holes. In the same sense, a transcription system for example, doesn’t give you a document, it gives your boss that report they want pronto, pronto! I hope you appreciate the difference in narrative.

More

This is the end of Module 1 of the Voice Business Systems for Beginners

Keep building your knowledge in the next modules;

Module 2: Dictation Business Systems for Beginners

Module 3: Transcription Business Systems for Beginners

Module 4: Workflow Business Systems for Beginners

Module 5: Application of Voice Business Systems for Beginners

Learning is asking! Please leave your questions and comments below.

Need to go way deeper or need to get connected to an industry professional? We can help, please use the contact us form and tell us what you need.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomy#Robotics
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_processing_(DSP_implementation)
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Edwards_Deming#The_Deming_System_of_Profound_Knowledge

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