Africa: Virtual Assistants' Use in the Workplace Growing

Johannesburg — THE use of virtual assistants (VAs) in the workplace is projected to grow in the next two years, with 25 per cent of digital workers using them on a daily basis.

This will be up from less than 2 percent in the current year.

"We expect VAs to be used by an increasing number of organisations over the next three years," said Annette Jump, senior director at Gartner, the research and advisory company.

She said industries such as insurance and financial services were showing strong interest in piloting VAs internally.

"We've also witnessed VAs being used in IT, customer service and information queries."

Ultimately, VAs used in the workplace would increase employee productivity and foster constructive engagement, Jump said.

The market for conversational platforms -- VAs and chatbots -- includes more than 1 000 vendors worldwide.

However, over the next couple of years, a race to provide new capabilities will result in the vendor landscape changing drastically, as Gartner projects.

"IT leaders looking to implement a conversation platform should determine the capabilities they need from such a platform in the short term, and select a vendor on that basis," Jump said.

A VA is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office.

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