Journey into Tech
Hi Richard, tell us about your role and journey into Technology. What inspired you to take up the role at Red Box?
I’ve worked in the Software and Financial Services sectors for over twenty years now, focusing on transformation and innovation. I joined Red Box as CEO in 2016 and it was really the inherent richness of Voice data and its ability to convey sentiment, context and intent that I found compelling. With my background in Financial Services, I recognized the value huge value of the insight that can be uncovered on individual customers to help personalize the customer journey. It was also the fact that Voice data is largely being untapped by organizations that I found inspiring along with Red Box’s unique proposition that provides organizations access to and control over high-quality Voice data that is captured from across the enterprise.
My role at Red Box is leading a team that is laser-focused on empowering organizations to unlock the value of that voice data through our own technology and expertise in voice capture, and also through seamless integration with best of breed partner applications. Our partner ecosystem has grown significantly over the last 12 months and we were announced as the Preferred Telephony Partner for Conversation intelligence, part of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales Insights earlier this year.
What is Red Box and how you help businesses monetize data solutions for voice and unified communications?
Red Box is an open Voice platform that captures and supplies high-quality audio and metadata from virtually any source. With an open API philosophy, we integrate seamlessly with Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) tools, as well as an extensive partner ecosystem such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Business Intelligence (BI), compliance and CRM platforms, to empower organizations to extract value from those Voice data sets.
From a Voice perspective it’s about post-call and real-time access to quality customer interactions that will fuel-rich analysis and action. To do this, businesses need reliable access to cradle to grave audio transactions across front and back-office communications, as well as the structured text versions of these data sets to drive analytics and insights to deliver against business goals.
You have a long history of leading data-focused companies. When you look back into the past, which data management platforms and tools do you really miss having or working with?
I wouldn’t say I necessarily miss any of the platforms or tools I worked with in the past. Whilst Financial Services is often at the forefront with regards to the adoption of new technologies, the large, established brands are also often constrained by legacy systems that are costly to replace. The data they are capturing and analyzing is also often more operational so it does not enable them to get that true Voice of the Customer (VoC) that more agile startups may have access to and can leverage to differentiate.
Indeed, some of the biggest challenges I faced in the past have been dealing with data silos, inaccessible data, lack of data portability whilst still meeting regulatory requirements and keeping control of costs with increasingly slim margins. This isn’t unique to financial services though and I wasn’t surprised that our research showed that almost all (95%) C-level executives regard Voice data as “valuable” or “very valuable” to their organization and 84% of stated that an open API approach is pivotal to their Voice strategy.
What drives the current competition in the ‘Data Economy’?
As data center footprints grow, it is more important than ever that enterprises are fully utilizing the data they collect. Voice is inherently rich given its ability to convey sentiment, context, intent, emotions, and actions. Enterprises who collect Voice data but do not tap into these insights are missing out on information that can provide real organizational intelligence and drive valuable business outcomes.
Secure access to and sovereignty of data is critical in the ‘Data Economy’, as is investing in vendors with an open API approach that gives enterprises flexibility when accessing their data and the capability to leverage Voice data into the tools and applications of their choice without tying them to one provider. Indeed, our research suggests that only 8% of the voice data organizations capture is easily accessible for use in these tools which is a missed opportunity for those looking to derive insights to help them differentiate in an increasingly competitive market place.
Tell us something that fascinates you the most in building and working in an open work place at Red Box. What are your thoughts about embracing inclusion and diversity?
We are clear at Red Box that a strong team understands and accepts individuals’ unique characteristics, including gender, race, age, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and physical abilities. But the real value in this blend of individualism is the agility we can derive from diversity of thought.
We have worked with our teams over the past 12 months to define and articulate our organizational culture and the behaviors and values that are important to us. Openness is a key theme that will drive the values we are embedding at the heart of our culture and is also a key theme in our offering to the market as an open and connected platform for Voice.
How are such inclusive workplaces perceived by your customers and partners?
Our customers and partners look to us to recruit and retain the talent we need to provide the Voice expertise they require. They rely on us to remain at the forefront of the voice revolution in an ever-changing technological landscape, and inclusivity and openness are key to this.
We have taken steps, for example, to assess how our recruitment process can remove implicit bias that would serve as a barrier for the diverse pool of candidates we want to attract. It is also important we give adequate consideration to fit for our team and drive and attitude to delivering great service to our customers over and above technical skills and experience, which can be taught.
Our partner ecosystem and our global reseller channel are both core to Red Box’s proposition and growth. Inclusivity for us is as much about working with them as an extension of the Red Box team as it is with those employed by Red Box.
One epic moment from the decade (2011-2019) that changed your outlook into tech landscape
The game-changer for me has been the advances in Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning in recent years that have enabled automatic speech recognition services (transcription) to provide near-human accuracy. This provides organizations with access to rich Voice data sets that would have previously only been accessibly by listening and now makes them processable at scale.
What are your predictions for your industry and technology markets for 2020-2024?
With each passing year, AI is becoming more mature, and in turn, more viable. High-quality Voice data is an extremely rich data source for these tools to reason over and indeed Speech analytics engines are more accurate and sophisticated that ever. As such, I expect to see increasing adoption and use of voice in AI by organizations seeking to understand that true Voice of the Customer (VoC).
A central CRM platform is a key component of leveraging the insights derived from Voice analytics to ensure that 360 customer view for all lines of business (Sales, Product, Marketing, CX) and to ensure improvement action is taken from the insights collected from communications channels
Thank you, Richard! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
A senior leader and CEO who has built a strong track record of execution, having worked in the Software and Financial Services sectors for over twenty years. An effective communicator who is customer focused with proven leadership capabilities.
Richard has a track record of achieving significant revenue growth, both organically and via acquisition, with experience of organizational strategy and the development of fund raising plans.
He has worked with a variety of businesses, ranging from start-ups to a FTSE 100 company, in a number of markets including: South Africa, USA, Hong Kong and Germany.
Red Box is the world’s leading dedicated voice specialist and the only technology company capable of capturing all voice communications across global enterprises, SMEs and across new and legacy systems.
With the most open and connected platform, we enable the capture of all voice communications from anywhere, irrespective of source – without needing to change your existing telecoms infrastructure and backed by unrivaled resilience and service excellence.
Our customers retain complete voice data sovereignty and access always, and connect to the broadest partner ecosystem in the industry to maximize the value of captured voice data.
Extensive pre-integration means our solution is quick to deploy, enabling the capture of all conversations across your organisation as part of a voice and AI strategy.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.