Will Alexa be your next employee of the month?

Did you hear the news about Amazon’s Alexa? The company is targeting businesses to adopt the popular voice-activated assistant.

Frankly, I’m shocked that it’s taken this long – but I’m not surprised that Amazon was the first to come forward in this market. We have been discussing the business adoption of voice assistants like Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana for quite some time. (By the way, on the consumer side, these systems could pose a threat to small businesses, depending on how advertising is handled.)

The big news with Amazon’s Alexa is that the company is creating a Business Platform along with several third-party app providers. Further, companies will be able to develop their own custom apps…which in Alexa lingo are called “skills.” We might soon see an Alexa business skill like this:

“Alexa, start a conference call with the heads of marketing, finance, and operations.”

As I mentioned above, all the major tech companies have an entry in the voice assistant category, however, with Alexa’s small price tag – the Echo Dot sells for $30 – it has gained more market penetration than the others. Over the recent holiday shopping weekend, the Echo Dot was the #1 selling product on Amazon…around the entire globe!

We know that Amazon has done a great job enabling Alexa to do things like add items to a grocery list. It’s not a big jump from that skill to a skill like:

“Alexa, order enough boxes to get our shipping department through the holiday season.”

I’m sure that Amazon is dreaming of a world where Alexa has so many productivity-enhancing skills that there will be a device in every cubicle from sea to shining sea.

I’m thrilled that Amazon has fired the opening volley in this category. We need some killer apps in the voice-assistant world to boost productivity. As you know, over the last decade or so, we’ve struggled to make any significant productivity improvements.

Perhaps Alexa’s skills will lead the way.