PegaWorld 2017: Pegasystems Sharpens Personalization Focus with AI

LAS VEGAS — To build businesses that stand a chance of competing in an ever-cutthroat marketplace, customers must receive personalized interactions and have their preferences met during key moments of their journeys. This was a central message shared on day one of Pegasystems' PegaWorld conference here at the MGM Grand, as the CRM vendor unveiled several technologies designed to help companies toward their goals of automation, collaboration, and agile digital transformation.

And, perhaps unsurprisingly, considering recent industry chatter, Pegasystems pegged artificial intelligence (AI) as the driving force behind it all. "I believe that AI is going to become the standard part of every business application with the large sets of data, to make predictions and be able to provide intelligent guidance," said Kerim Akgonu, senior vice president of products at Pegasystems, during his keynote presentation on Monday.

Among the offerings introduced were updates to the Pega Platform, a Paid Media Manager, and a Mobile Retail Advisor app.

Updates to the Pega Platform—an application development platform designed to boost customer engagement and operations by combining business process management (BPM), robotic automation, and AI capabilities on a unified platform—span across Pegasystems' marketing, sales, and customer service applications and include the following:

  • The AI Studio, which grants business users the visibility and control necessary to create predictive models in one central location. Using the AI Studio, companies can hook their applications "directly to historic data, as well as real-time streaming data, and...optimize towards outcomes," Akgonu explained.

  • The Robotic Automation Console, a tool that aims to simplify the process of deploying and overseeing and managing the automation of processes from a single user interface.

  • Smart email processing tools that uses natural language processing capabilities to analyze the text of an incoming customer message to determine their intentions, classify their case to a matching category, and then automatically reroute them to the most suitable agents. "I think this will bring a tremendous amount of operational efficiency into the organiztaions that are receiving hundreds of thousands and millions of emails a month," Akgonu said.

  • The Real-time Notification Framework, which allows internal and external end users to collaborate on projects within the platform while staying abreast of any app updates and discussions among other team members.

  • Deployment support for third-party cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Pivotal Cloud Foundry. "We think it should be your choice, your decision where your applications run, where your data resides," Akgonu stressed.

  • Plug-ins that allow for improved integration with third-party DevOps tools, such as Jenkins, JFrog, GitHub, Docker, Gradle, Cucumber, and Selenium. This allows developers to make changes to their applications, as well as add intelligence and automation.

The release also features capabilities added to the Pega Platform earlier this year, including the Intelligent Virtual Assistant—a chatbot that can be leveraged across various channels such as SMS, Facebook Messenger, and Alexa, among others—as well as the Self-Service Advisor, which can read an online customer's browser history to understand their intentions and present them with follow-up options.

"My favorite thing about the Self-Service Advisor is the fact that you can incorporate this capability into your website just using a single line of JavaScript on your webpage, and don't have to make any changes to the layout or designs of the screens," Akgonu said.

Pegasystems also showcased the Pega Paid Media Manager, which uses AI to help marketers improve customer targeting with their digital advertisements. The offering, which operates as part of the Pega Marketing solution, uses Pegasystems' Customer Decision Hub to determine in real time the most relevant advertisements to show individual customers at their point of interaction. It analyzes customer behaviors across owned and paid channels to contextually and continually make adjustments. The capability allows marketers to heighten the effectiveness of their campaigns, improve conversion and retention rates, and increase returns on their ad investments.

Additionally, Pegasystems introduced the Retail Advisor application, which uses AI capabilities to enable store reps to use their tablets to ask customers questions and help them find products and product bundles that are likely to appeal to them.

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