The Necessity of Communications Intelligence

November 30, 2020by Tim Estes

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“Man is Spirit” - Winston Churchill, 3rd of April 1955

In these times, I dwell on the parting words that Winston Churchill gave to his cabinet before he retired. There was no other leader in the 20th century that had to endure and persevere through more challenging circumstances than Mr. Churchill. His understanding of human nature is all the more relevant today. We live in challenging times where we must both persevere and strive to bring light in our own ways to get to the other side of all of this together.

Today, we are very much like spirits working through the medium of technology due to the physical distances and disrupted social fabric from our reaction to COVID. We must attend to this and support this new reality, versus living in the past. It is vital that we all do our part to make this world better under the circumstances.

For us, that means that our enterprises' new critical infrastructure is not the workplace, but the communication that binds us together. And while a wave of companies has met the challenge of keeping us connected, no company has met the need of understanding this communication to protect us better and to enable us. That is the challenge that Digital Reasoning and Smarsh are coming together to solve by delivering the world’s first Communications Intelligence solution for the enterprise.

What is Communications Intelligence?

Our world has more communications flowing through it digitally than at any time in its history. The digital has replaced the physical out of necessity, and with it, transformed the way many people work. In the corporate world, and more rigorously in the Financial Services industry, this communication must be monitored for misconduct. Content should be analyzed and understood to support better culture and better, more automated work.

We are talking about billions of messages a day across dozens of mainstream communications channels that have to be captured, normalized and aggregated. From Exchange and other email systems to Bloomberg and Symphony chat, voice channels like NICE and Verint-stored voice files, to IPC high-fidelity turrets, to Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex and even mobile-first applications like WhatsApp and WeChat. The variety of messages is a huge challenge.

Communications Intelligence starts with listening, and that means the capture of these sources. Smarsh is a market leader in the ability to process all of these sources and so many more. It can do so at a nearly unlimited scale and bring about effective aggregation for the enterprise through its Connected Capture solutions. Together with Smarsh, we can make the promise of hearing everything important a new standard in the enterprise.

Listening is the beginning of wisdom, but it is far from the end. Without memory, it’s literally “in one ear, and out of the other.” Too often, this is an alibi of corporate misconduct — “I didn’t know” or “nobody knew” — even after the smoking gun email or text shows not only the problem but its pervasiveness within an organization. How many "Me Too" stories were there just one level below — riddled with evidence from intimidated individuals whose careful and soft cries for help went unheard and unanswered? This is why memory is so important. Without an archive that can scale and retain everything from all of these sources, the evidence is lost or circumstantial.

Smarsh is the Gartner Magic Quadrant leader in Enterprise Information Archiving. It provides the best source of trusted memory for communications data today in the regulated enterprise. While other vendors haven’t moved to the cloud yet, or have tried to shift from legal or security legacy solutions into this role, Smarsh was the first to be multi-cloud ready and support next-generation infrastructure technology with single and multi-tenant capabilities. With Smarsh, an enterprise can remember everything essential and support universal content storage at any scale on the cloud.

Understanding is the next step from remembering, and this has never been more true with the volumes of data growing well beyond the capacity of humans to make sense of it. You can easily process and store data, and yet never know something ever happened in a company because there isn’t the human capacity to consume it and reason over it. That’s where Digital Reasoning is the market-leading answer. We process billions of messages a year, looking for all forms of key behaviors, from misconduct to missed revenue opportunities.

Together with Smarsh, we can bring understanding and reasoning to all communications types over the entire history of corporate memories. Millions of human cognitive labor hours can be performed by machine intelligence, taking the best judgments of many humans, running it 24/7, and never getting tired. In a world living in remote work fatigue, isn’t it time for AI to send in the cavalry? We think so, and together with Smarsh, we are bringing reinforcements to the weary workforce on the front lines.

From Understanding follows Action. Together with Smarsh, we bring together a full Suite of AI-powered applications from surveillance and supervision to e-discovery and critical business intelligence from communications data. We believe that Communications Intelligence is the solution that fits increasingly urgent needs from compliance to security to the front office to the back office.

Companies now have the opportunity to turn post-pandemic necessity into the future of competitiveness and improved culture in the workplace. We may not have chosen the circumstances in our world that led us here, but we can seize the moment to change the world for the better by thoughtfully delivering on these new essentials. We believe this is more than an opportunity. It is a moral mission to deliver this to the world and do so quickly to protect what matters in this time of uncertainty and opacity.

Why is Communications Intelligence a moral imperative?

When you realize something can be done, sometimes that drives you to understand that something must be done. It is possible to wait when the outcome is unknown. It is impossible to wait when you know something can be done to make things better, and that path is both predictable and proven in practice. That’s what makes the difference between an experiment and an imperative.

We want a workplace where the phrase “I didn’t know about that” will not come from responsible corporate leaders. Technology can and does make corporate amnesia a thing of the past. The world demands better and we feel called to help make that better world a reality.

Our best values and practices can be learned in new AI language models that listen and process in many ways like humans. We pioneered this at Digital Reasoning and put it into practice before many others in our space. Together with Smarsh, we are the trusted choice to see AI fulfill its full potential and improve work quality and culture.

Today these technologies are state of the art, and together Digital Reasoning and Smarsh will make it the state of real practice over the next few years. Long gone will be when something that happened bad in the past can repeat. Companies can and should learn, and our technology will partner with them to accelerate those learnings across data that used to be incomprehensible to machines.

This mission is vital. It’s about hearing each other through the social distance that separates us. It’s about seeing each other better through the darkness. In a world where grandparents can’t visit with their children, at least their savings and finances can be better protected. In a world where cancer screenings are historically delayed, at least AI can help overwhelmed healthcare workers respond more quickly to severe cases. In a world of more volatility and uncertainty than we’ve seen in decades, at least we can work with those protecting our markets to stop bad actors from exploiting the new normal  even when those actors are using the tools of remote work to hide their activities.

Today, our Reasoners are protecting what matters in a world that has changed and will remain changed even after these times have passed. Together with Smarsh, we will amplify the impact of that mission by a hundredfold. We are proud to join them and share this mission with them. We are united in an innovative spirit, a humble yet fierce culture, and a drive to deliver for our customers on problems that impact the world for good.

That is what makes us all Reasoners together.

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Tim Estes

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