Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions like Amelia are quickly proving to be disruptive forces in the enterprise space. Amelia is reinventing business practices through the automation of transactional and cognitive tasks that, in a previous technological era, could only be handled by humans. In order to take advantage of all of Amelia’s potential as a digital colleague, companies rely on the insights and experience of dedicated (non-virtual) colleagues like IPsoft Cognitive Project Lead Sarah Feiock.
Based out of Austin, Texas, Sarah serves as a liaison between clients and internal cognitive team members, guiding implementations and addressing any day-to-day issues related to business processes and procedures. We spoke with Sarah as part of our ongoing series “The Real Women Behind Amelia” in which we shine a well-deserved spotlight on some of IPsoft’s outstanding women colleagues. Our conversation touched on numerous topics including addressing customer expectations, what she likes best about IPsoft’s culture, and explaining to non-tech friends and families what exactly we do around here.
How would you describe the role of the Austin team within IPsoft?
The roles and responsibilities for the pods in different cities are pretty comparable. As we continue to build out the cognitive team at IPsoft, the cities work collaboratively to help refine and streamline the processes and procedures that we use with our cognitive clients. Because Amelia is relatively new product within IPsoft, and AI is an emerging and rapidly advancing field, every day is a learning experience and we’re always looking for innovative ways to improve the product and the overall customer experience throughout and post implementation.
Are there any roles and abilities that clients seem most interested in for Amelia?
It really depends on the customer, what industry they are in, and what specific business issue they are trying to resolve. We have lot of customers in banking, insurance, and healthcare that use Amelia to help alleviate many of the repetitive tasks and high volume of calls that customer service and support agents handle on a daily basis.
As a comparatively new business solution, do you find customers have a clear idea of what success with Amelia looks like?
As I noted earlier, it really depends on the customer and how familiar they are with Amelia and how involved in the sales process and project kick-off the customer stakeholders have been. The functionally behind Amelia is amazing and the IPsoft development team is continually expanding her capabilities, but some clients are not fully aware of what Amelia is and isn’t capable of. Part of our role when working with clients is to help clear up those expectations and make sure all parties are aligned on the success criteria. At a very high level, success for many clients is defined by looking at the accuracy and resolution of Amelia interactions — was Amelia able to properly detect the end user’s intent and was she able to accurately handle or escalate a user’s interaction based on the business process that she has been trained on.
How do you talk to friends and family who don’t have a tech background about what you do?
I come from a small farm town in Montana where the tech industry isn’t nearly as prevalent as it in New York, Austin, San Fran, etc. With that said, I try to keep things as simple as possible when chatting with relatives and friends back home. I simply explain that I work at a software company and work with clients to help create the solutions and deliver the services they have purchased via IPsoft.
Why did you decide to come to work at IPsoft?
When looking for a new role I always look three main things: People, Product, and Position, and IPsoft had an ideal mix.
When it came to People, I could already tell it would be a good fit during my interview process. I really enjoyed meeting with the Austin team and enjoyed the team’s focus on collaboration and teamwork.
For Product, the opportunity to work with a cutting-edge product like Amelia was very compelling. Additionally, having worked with various software companies throughout my career, I was excited to explore the emerging field of AI.
Every day is a learning experience and we’re always looking for innovative ways to improve the product and the overall customer experience.
And the position was definitely what I was looking for. The Cognitive Project Lead role was a great fit for my past experience serving as both a Software Consultant and Project Manager for various software companies.
What do you like best about working at IPsoft?
Every day is a learning experience and I’m always amazed at the new features and capabilities our Cog team has created in Amelia.
How do you think the industry can get more women in STEM fields in general, and AI in particular?
Getting more women into STEM fields is going to be a gradual change. As schools start encouraging more young girls to get involved in STEM, we’ll start to see the ratio of male-to-females in STEM classes begin to shift. Additionally, many companies like IPsoft are taking action to diversify their workplace and working to create recruitment and hiring processes that eliminate biases. Companies and schools can also work to provide more internships, as well as mentoring and training programs for both new and seasoned female employees in the STEM field.
Five Fast Fun Facts
1. What is your favorite depiction of AI from science fiction?
I haven’t watched too many AI movies lately, but Pixar’s WALL-E was fun to watch.
2. Name a technology you’ve recently come in contact with that made you think, “Wow, I’m really living in the future.”
My phone! Ten years ago our phones were just used to call others. Today we use it to place orders, take pictures and videos, organize our life and finances, track our fitness, etc.
3. Name a notable real-life scientist/engineer/innovator whose contributions inspired you.
Jessica Jackley and Matt Flannery, the founders of Kiva, a non-profit that enables people to lend money via the Internet to low-income entrepreneurs and students in more than 80 countries. I truly love the mission of Kiva and I think it’s great to see how innovation and technology can be leveraged to help unite others, relieve problems and economic stress, and create better lives for individuals, families and communities.
4. A thing your co-workers would be surprised to learn about you.
Horseback riding is one of my favorite hobbies.
5. Your favorite food in the world?
Chicken pad Thai!