Oracle OpenWorld 2017: Oracle Fortifies its Cloud Offerings with AI

SAN FRANCISCO — At its OpenWorld user conference, Oracle announced it was enhancing its Customer Experience Cloud by adding artificial intelligence (AI) features to its Adaptive Intelligent Apps and Intelligent Bot solutions .

“You hear a lot of people talking about AI as being a separate application,” said Mark Hurd, Oracle’s CEO, during his morning keynote at the Moscone Center. “I’m not sure—I think in the end, what you’re really going to see is AI built directly into each [work case], into each user [case].” In the future, he predicted, companies can expect AI to be embedded “directly into [their] customer retention systems as opposed to exporting data from one of those applications into some AI solution.”

Oracle’s cloud-based Adaptive Intelligent Applications, announced at last year’s conference, have been infused with additional AI capabilities to help customer-facing professionals working in commerce, customer service, marketing, and sales make better decisions and act quicker.

Commerce professionals can now use the AI-powered applications to run operations that span across multiple websites and channels, combining commerce, marketing, and chatbot functions. Leveraging natural language understanding (NLU) and deep learning, Oracle has enabled features such as dynamic tags and category pages that can personalize search suggestions and results with real-time offers. Using machine learning, the technology can also help end users surface the most appropriate content, products, and promotions to show visitors.

Customer service professionals can leverage AI-powered applications to boost processes and improve the customer experience by, for instance, reducing the amount of time it takes to resolve a customer service query—the system can apply deep learning to thousands of potential questions and associated answers to surface relevant resolutions.

Marketers can use AI-powered insights to better understand their target audiences and give them the best offers using customer and business data. The solution can analyze different campaigns to determine response rates and content engagement by individual or group, allowing users to strengthen current and future campaigns.

And sales professionals can take advantage of business data to guide reps through the steps they should take to increase their chance of closing deals. Users can prepare for meetings with contacts by viewing short call points drawn from data from live news updates and event feeds. During the sales quoting process, reps can use AI-driven graphical price optimization to offer customers discretionary discounts if appropriate.  

The Adaptive Intelligent Apps are activated by information pulled from Oracle’s Data Cloud, a third-party data marketplace that collects more than 5 billion global consumer and business IDs, and more than 7.5 trillion data points monthly. By applying advanced data science and machine learning to Oracle’s web-scale data and an organization’s data, the apps can react, learn, and adapt according to customer data.

Oracle also has equipped its Intelligent Bots with additional AI to help companies engage customers and employees across popular messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, Skype, and Slack, as well as voice-activated devices such as the Amazon Echo or GoogleHome. An update to Oracle’s Mobile Cloud offering, and expanding on its Cloud Platform, the Intelligent Bot capabilities offer companies a multichannel platform and deep analytics to link customer conversations that occur across different bots, mobile and web apps, devices, and websites.

With the updated Oracle Mobile Cloud—which uses an AI layer consisting of machine learning, deep learning, cognitive and knowledge services, dialogue, and context—companies can build applications to better engage their customers at scale. Oracle’s Intelligent Bots can use NLU to figure out the end user’s intent and respond to them drawing on business application data.

Oracle’s low-code Bot Builder tool allows users to design and train NLU models, outline conversational dialogue flows, and enable channel and enterprise data integration. With the Bot Builder, developers can test and bots using an available life cycle management function. They can also access analytics to see how their bots are performing among customers.

“As user behavior has dramatically shifted to mobile and messaging platforms, it is critical enterprises evolve to support stakeholders’ preferred channels,” said Amit Zavery, senior vice president of product development for the Oracle Cloud Platform, in a statement. “By using Oracle Mobile Cloud, businesses will be able to continue strengthening these relationships, even as users might be moving away from engaging on websites and traditional mobile applications to messaging channels.” 

Oracle also teamed up with Chatbox to bring instant apps to AI-powered intelligent chatbots. With the new capability, the Oracle Mobile Cloud can offer a richer and more contextual user experience, enabling bots to toggle between an unstructured conversation and a tailored and structured exchange of data. For instance, if a person is trying to return an item to a retailer, the bot can use a Chatbot Instant App to guide that person through all the steps they need to make it happen.

“We believe that Oracle’s Intelligent Bots, coupled with Chatbox Instant Apps, will provide companies with a significant competitive advantage in the messaging space,” said Phil Gordon, founder and CEO of Chatbox, in a statement. “We are proud to work with a company like Oracle that continues to invest heavily in delivering exceptional, personalized customer experiences.”

Additionally, Oracle introduced the AI Platform Cloud Service, which aims to help developers quickly create and implement enterprise-level AI services. With the service, organizations can use deep learning to glean insights from enterprise data and improve business processes and user experiences.

“The number-one benefit of the cloud is speed—speed of innovation, not measured as how long it takes our individual developers to build something, but…how long it takes from when you have the opportunity until you get a software solution that supports that,” Steve Miranda, executive vice president of applications development at Oracle, told attendees during his general session. “Now, with the cloud-based model, and the frequency of updates, our best-in-class applications across the board, and the investment we have in many areas, that’s coming into play. Just a couple of years ago, we would have been sitting around at a conference like this and talking about blockchain, or IoT, machine learning, adaptive apps, or chatbots—it would have been niche areas at best. And now those are front-and-center focus for just about each and every one of you. Either to take that next business opportunity, or to prevent business disruption.”

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