Assessing the Global Market for Intelligent Virtual Assistants

By Beroe Inc.

January 23, 2017 at 5:29 AM

By Anand Kannan, Research Analyst, Software and IT Services  

In this competitive market, organizations are always on the lookout to transform their business units into more profitable ones. Artificial Intelligence solutions have transformed the way business units function. One such AI solution, Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA), has had a major positive impact with respect to customer experiences/customer interactions in contact centers. 

The global IVA market is expected to grow by approximately 37% during the period 2016-2024 and reach $12 billion by 2024. Telecommunications, retail, hospitality and consumer banking are sectors where organizations have implemented IVAs. The deployments in these sectors have resulted in significant business benefits such as cost optimization, operational efficiency, higher revenue and improved customer experience. 

The supplier market for IVA consists of both global and niche suppliers. Predictive Analytics is the key capability that determines the success of an IVA solution. The IVA should learn with each customer interaction which would further refine the interaction process and responses without any human intervention. 

Multi-lingual capabilities, integration with third-party systems such as SAP, Oracle and others and speech-to-text capabilities are not well established at present and provide the scope for further technological improvement of the IVA solution. 

What is an IVA? 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies have been continuously evolving and transforming the manner in which organizations conduct business. Intelligent Virtual Assistant is an AI technology that has capabilities to perform tasks like humans. IVA interacts with customers through websites or applications and responds to queries immediately without the need for human intervention. 

Intelligent Virtual Assistant uses Natural Language Processing (NLP), machine learning, data integration, speech recognition and other such technologies to provide an efficient customer engagement platform. Below is the architectural layout of an IVA. Third-party software and services (Salesforce, SAP, Oracle etc.), knowledge bank (product and service details, query resolution guidelines, etc.) and customer interaction database (data from previous customer interactions) are the critical backend tools with which the solution is integrated. 

Need for IVA: 

With businesses going digital, customers are increasingly preferring online interaction methods rather than telephonic conversations with a customer/sales representative. The real time conversational nature and accurate personalized responses of Intelligent Virtual Assistants has been critical in providing seamless and satisfying customer experiences. Customer experiences directly impact the overall revenue of a business. Hence, providing the ideal customer experience is what each organization is striving for. Forrester reports highlight the importance of time to respond and have quoted based on the researchers analysis that “71% of consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service.” 

Intelligent Virtual Assistants are proving to be the ideal solution to respond to customer queries in a timely, precise, actionable and, most important, human manner. IVA has been adopted in telecom, hospitality and retail sectors to reduce the total contact center operation cost:

Retail. Disney stores, a global retail giant, have always looked for innovative solutions to improve business. Disney wanted to reduce the number of informational calls made by customers to their contact centers for shipment, tracking and return purposes. Disney deployed an IVA solution to meet this objective. The deployment was a massive success. Approximately 45,000 questions per month with an accuracy of 97% was achieved. 

Telecommunications. Movistar, part of the Telefonica group, has an extensive presence in Latin America. Movistar wanted to deploy a solution through which it could decrease the total support center operating cost. The IVA solution was assessed and deployed and resulted in reduction of incoming support calls and emails by approximately 75%. 

Please click on images to enlarge for viewing. 

Business benefits of IVA.jpg 












how does an IVA work?.jpg













Supplier Market Landscape 

IVA is predicted to be the most influential customer AI technology by 2020. This estimation coupled with the increasing customer adoption has led to a heterogeneous market for IVA with the presence of global as well as niche suppliers. 

Global suppliers include: [24]7 Inc., Artificial Solutions,  IBM Watson, Interactions, Next IT, Nuance Communications. 

Niche suppliers include: Aivo, Creative Virtual, Inbenta, Kasisto, noHold, Verbio.

For an organization looking to deploy an Intelligent Virtual Assistant solution, the choice of IVA solution should be made based on a balanced assessment of the internal requirement as well as the solution capabilities. The following capabilities are critical to the efficient functioning of an IVA: 

  • Self-learning predictive analytics tool 
  • Conversational format and speech-to-text capability 
  • Data integration and third-party software integration 
  • Contextual tracking and ability to cross sell/up sell 


Intelligent Virtual Assistant Solutions have been deployed for customer-centric business units such as sales, marketing and support. Solutions for other business units such as human resources, procurement and finance are still in its nascent stages. Suppliers have expressed that IVA solutions for other business units can also be effective if the total volume of interactions is high (more than 1 million). 

Anand Kannan, Research Analyst, Software and IT Services at Beroe, Inc., is a sourcing professional who assists Fortune 500 clients with their Software and IT Services requirements. He holds an MBA in Marketing and Finance from SSN School of Management. 

Download Article - Intelligent Virtual Assistant.pdf 


Tags: purchasing Supplier relationship management Supply chain management Procurement Technology sourcing
Category: News Article

Beroe Inc.


Beroe is a global provider of customized procurement services specializing in sourcing, supply chain visibility, financial risk analysis and environmental impact to Fortune 500 organizations. With nearly 400 dedicated procurement specialists in 38 domains, across 9 industries, Beroe proactively invests in knowledge assets to build valuable, real-time procurement insight. For more information, visit  Beroe Inc. online.

Please add a comment

You must be logged in to leave a reply. Login »

Related Content

Data Quality and Accuracy Are Key Enablers of MRO Efficiency Gains

Dennis Bouley

Management of corporate maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) requires the tracking of thousands of SKUs and the generation of many transactions that are of low dollar value in nature. In most organizations, MRO spending amounts to less than Read More

Software Audits are Inevitable and Everyone is Responsible

Abinaya Govindarajan

No company is immune to software audits. Poor leverage with top software vendors, suppliers’ focus on audit income as a source of additional revenue, complex software contracts and licensing models, Read More


Marisa Brown

Millennials have an unwarranted reputation in the workforce as short-term employees always looking for a better opportunity, including in the supply chain management (SCM) work force. Read More

Supplier Profiles


Staples Advantage is the one supplier that offers all the business solutions you need, all with the expertise of a specialty vendor. Read More


It started in 1972 with an idea, a new concept in distribution. Today, Digi-Key Corporation is one of the fastest-growing electronic component distributors in the World. The stimulus for this growth is Digi-Key's customer-centered business philosophy… Read More

Lunney Advisory Group

Lunney Advisory Group was founded in 2007. Our firm is not your typical consulting company. Some members of our firm are highly qualified and experienced industry executives/practitioners while others are full time or adjunct university professors.… Read More


What CEOs Expect Of Purchasing

Guest Contributor

Procurement and supply management leaders have a seat at the table, and management’s expectations are high. But what do CEOs really want, and is purchasing delivering on these expectations? This webcast looks at how procurement and supply management … Read More

Growing Purchasing Influence On Indirect Spending

Guest Contributor

At world-class companies, purchasing’s influence touches just about every area of spending. But, how exactly do procurement teams get to the point where other departments approach them for help with sourcing such indirect categories as human resource… Read More

Procurement-Finance Collaboration

Guest Contributor

Procurement & finance are two business functions which are often at loggerheads with each other. One reason for this is the lack of perception alignment on an important metric of procurement and finance performance - 'savings'. Read More