Artificial Intelligence in the enterprise was a central theme at this year’s Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando. Based on this year’s presentations from Gartner analysts and conversations with IPsoft customers, here’s the bottom line: Broader use of AI and virtual agents is an enterprise customer priority; they see the value, they want to invest if they haven’t already, and they’re searching for guidance and advice on the best way forward.
What’s more, IPsoft’s Amelia was at the heart of many AI-related conversations during the event, whether in Gartner or IPsoft sessions and breakouts, or during interactions at IPsoft’s two demo booths where hundreds of customers heard about how Amelia can transform customer service and enhance the human workforce in various vertical industries.
It’s not surprising that AI was a major conversation-starter. Gartner analysts spent much of the event discussing the firm’s Top Technology Trends for 2018, and many of these areas are where IPsoft and Amelia have a market-leading voice, including:
• AI Foundation: The ability to use AI to enhance decision making, reinvent business models and ecosystems, and remake the customer experience will drive the payoff for digital initiatives through 2025.
• Intelligent Apps and Analytics: Intelligent apps create a new intelligent intermediary layer between people and systems and have the potential to transform the nature of work and the structure of the workplace.
• Intelligent Things: Physical things that go beyond the execution of rigid programming models to exploit AI to deliver advanced behaviors and interact more naturally with their surroundings and with people.
• Conversational Platforms: Driving the next big paradigm shift in how humans interact with the digital world. The burden of translating intent shifts from user to computer.
• Immersive Experience: While conversational interfaces are changing how people control the digital world, virtual, augmented and mixed reality are changing the way that people perceive and interact with the digital world.
With these AI themes as a backdrop, many Gartner analysts detailed the current and future impact of AI on a digital enterprise during sessions and presentations, while directly referencing Amelia’s capabilities. Peter Sondergaard, Executive Vice President at Gartner, in his keynote address spoke to how AI will increasingly augment people’s productivity in a modern workforce with virtual employee assistants. AI will play an important role in companies’ talent strategies, with Gartner predicting AI will become a net job creator starting in 2020, Sondergaard said.
Gartner Research Director Brian Manusama presented that 25% of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant (VCA) technology across engagement channels by 2020, and 40% of mobile customer service and support operations will happen through VCAs in the same time period. In addition, Manusama positioned Amelia as the leading generation of current VCA technology, as seen in the figure below.
In a separate session, Research Director Robert Hetu reviewed the rise of Algorithmic Retailing, a trend where retailers will use AI through intelligent process automation, in collaboration with their human workforce, to accelerate and improve decision-making, and ultimately deliver a better customer experience. As an example, Hetu cited Amelia’s capabilities serving a large European retail bank for mortgage processing, where within two weeks of deployment, Amelia could answer three-quarters of all mortgage questions with an 88% success rate (and refer questions to her human colleagues as well).
IPsoft customers provided additional proof-points and insight on using AI in the enterprise, and their experiences with Amelia, in several customer panels. IPsoft CEO Chetan Dube set the scene for panel attendees, reviewing how enterprise customers that have consolidated, standardized and virtualized their IT infrastructure and applications are now looking to add intelligent automation and cognitive capabilities. Dube said that customers looking to transform their customer experience need to invest in technologies like Amelia that can emulate intelligent behavior — bringing semantic, process, emotional and analytic memory capabilities to their operations and business processes.
Three customers joined IPsoft Chief Commercial Officer Jonathan Crane to discuss how Amelia is influencing their views of a Digital Workforce. Jennifer Hewit, head of the global service desk at Credit Suisse, said that as she continues to work with Amelia, she realizes that organizations often build up silos between various support levels. Hewit observed that the more she works with AI, “the more I recognize what we really need to do is break down the barriers,” and realize that AI and automation doesn’t solely belong in first- or second-line support. Rich Pierle, CIO of Becton Dickinson, said it’s critical to get internal staff “grounded in a vision of what’s possible” with a Digital Workforce, where cognitive and human agents collaborate, “and have [employees] see themselves in that model” with current and new skills. Scot Whigham, director of global IT service support at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), noted the importance of training digital employees like Amelia just as you would human employees. “You’re teaching that digital employee” to handle processes and services, and “as they learn they get better and better just like any employee,” Whigham said.
(L-R) Jennifer Hewit, Head of Global Service Desk at Credit Suisse; Rich Pierle, CIO of Becton Dickinson; Scot Whigham, Director Global IT Service Support, IHG, and Jonathan Crane, Chief Commercial Officer at IPsoft.
At another session, IPsoft Chief Cognitive Officer Edwin van Bommel, who presented on Amelia’s capabilities at IPsoft’s demo booths throughout the event, introduced Electronic Arts global director of innovation Matt Tomlinson for a discussion on how Amelia is impacting the online gaming service’s customer experience. “If [players] have a problem, we have a problem,” Tomlinson said in describing the company’s overall customer support strategy. “The player journey starts when something wrong happens. When something happens to our players, it happens to us.”
EA has utilized Amelia for more than a year. She has handled thousands of conversations with EA gamers for customer support, and in aggregate the company has recorded a positive rise in overall player experience. “Amelia is very responsive and attentive to [players’] needs… and helps them get where they need to go” in the support process, Tomlinson said. In addition, Amelia has been incredibly effective at weeding out phishers and fraudsters in the customer support process, with high rate of fraud detection accuracy. Like other Amelia customers, Tomlinson also emphasized the need to properly train Amelia in concert with human agents, so she can constantly learn and improve.
Matt Tomlinson, Global Director of Innovation, Customer Experience Labs at Electronic Arts, discusses his experience with IPsoft’s Amelia at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando.
Conversations around major AI themes will now shift to European customers at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Barcelona, where IPsoft will again have a substantial presence (read more at this link). We expect the AI discussions at that venue, and the interest in Amelia, to be no less passionate as customers continue to chart their AI journeys and the AI movement continues to take hold.