Remember that scene early on in The Incredibles when we get our first glimpse into Mr. Incredible’s life as an insurance claims adjuster? It’s a pretty routine office setup – cubicle, desk, computer, and paperwork. Ah, the paperwork. Between the thick binders on his shelf, the copy machine in the corner, and the documents scattered across his desk, it’s clear that paperwork is a big part of Mr. Incredible’s job.
We may not be able to relate to Mr. Incredible on many things (despite my best efforts, I still can’t bench press a freight train), but those of us in the business world can certainly understand the time-consuming nature of paperwork and documentation requirements.
Let’s make one thing clear: Paperwork is important. Police officers need to accurately document their incident and arrest reports to help keep dangerous people off of the streets. Lawyers need to take detailed notes and prepare documents for court as part of defending their clients. Social service workers need to keep track of the details of their cases – sometimes it can make a significant difference in the life of a child or a family in need.
But argh! Despite it mattering so much, paperwork can be incredibly time-consuming and tedious, ultimately limiting our efforts in other vital areas of our jobs. Consider this recent study, which revealed that administrative tasks like paperwork account for 35 percent of social service workers’ work weeks. I think it’s safe to say that these workers would like to have more than two-thirds of their time to dedicate to more meaningful case work, like interacting with actual people.
Our search for a more efficient means of dealing with documentation and paperwork should take us to a new source. Writing and typing have long carried the torch, but much like Mr. Incredible ditched Insuracare and found a better way to spend his days, speech recognition has emerged as the better way to deal with documentation.
Much like people began transitioning their mobile devices from consumer use to work-related tasks, speech recognition is shifting from the consumer market to the enterprise as a solution for simplifying documentation. The most sophisticated solutions boast both dictation and transcription capabilities. So, in addition to speaking your emails, court orders, incident reports, proposals, business letters, etc., you can capture your thoughts, findings, and analyses on a digital recorder and have your speech recognition software transcribe it for you. It’s a two-pronged attack, like Mr. Incredible and Frozone (and it doesn’t even require a super suit).
There are many benefits to simplifying and improving documentation processes: Saving time and money, better serving clients and customers, mitigating risks associated with industry compliance requirements, and generating new business, just to name a few.
Not coincidentally, there are many benefits to using speech recognition for documentation: It’s faster and more accurate (speaking is up to three times faster than typing); it improves the overall quality of reporting; it allows you to capture thoughts and ideas while they are fresh in your mind; it increases productivity in the office and in the field; and it alleviates pain and discomfort associated with using a mouse and keyboard for long hours – something that shouldn’t be underestimated, considering the annual collective cost of repetitive stress injury can reach $20 billion.
Speech as an enterprise solution is already being proven. The 2014 International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) revealed that 52 percent of law firms surveyed are using speech recognition – that’s a near 50 percent increase since 2011. That number should continue to rise as we see more sophisticated and feature-rich technology hit the market, along with new avenues for deploying speech. From an organizational standpoint, IT leaders would love to have the ability to more easily manage deployments of speech recognition across an entire company – simplifying their responsibilities and contributing to employee productivity gains. Specific use cases could also be developed for small business owners, financial advisors, lawyers, and countless other professionals.
Simplifying documentation and improving productivity for the enterprise just by using your voice. It may not be battling super villains, but I think it’s a concept that even Mr. Incredible could get behind.