Amdocs Gets Semantically Intelligent

Bill Guinn, the chief technology officer of the Amdocs Product Enabler Group, had a busy week at Semtech 2010. When he wasn't soaking up the latest trends and developments regarding the semantic Web, he was sharing news regarding his company's plans to incorporate a semantic database and to harness that intelligence for its customer service applications. 

Amdocs, a vendor that provides customer care, billing and order management systems mostly for telecommunications and Internet services providers, has announced what it calls Amdocs Intelligent Decision Automation (AIDA), an engine that is powered by Franz AllegroGraph 4.0 real-time semantic technology.  The first piece of semantics under the AIDA umbrella that Amdocs plans to bring forward is Amdocs Guided Interaction Advisor. The application, which runs within the contact center, can anticipate a customer interaction and use semantics to create business rules and provide a service agent with real-time information regarding that customer. The application was recently announced at the Amdocs user conference in Budapest.

"We spent a lot of time looking at what we could do in call centers," Guinn says. "We looked at types of calls coming in and how we could gain more intelligence and drive first-call resolution." Organizations, particularly cable and internet companies, struggle to keep up with the barrage of phone calls that come into contact centers. What's more is that phone calls are often misguided and leave customers on the line for longer than necessary.

Amdocs plans to combat that challenge with Guided Interaction Advisor, which by tapping into semantic technology, anticipates why customers are calling before they speak to an agent. Not only are customer service reps (CSRs) presented with more accurate information about a customer on the line, but they are able to resolve issues more quickly, Guinn says. "They can build more context when they first talk to you," he adds, "And more context will improve customer satisfaction." The semantic framework pulls data from things like financials, call interactions, and activation history to help an agent decide why that customer is calling and what information they can present to solve that caller's problem.

"This is not your father's CRM," Guinn states. He provides an example of a cell phone customer having trouble with her payment plan. With Guided Interaction Advisor, an Amdocs user could actually reach out proactively, thanks to a predictive model, to that customer and help with a billing question before it is brought to the call center.

In a blogpost, Babworth Consulting analyst Teresa Cottam, explains the power of semantics within a solution such as Amdocs.  "The idea is to be able to use the wealth of data being generated both inside and outside the [contact center] to create actionable insight," she states. Cottam goes on: "The challenge is to deliver a solution that can be rapidly implemented across complex legacy environments and show fast ROI."

Guinn is hopeful that the solution will prove powerful. He says in a statement: "When used to power a decision engine in the transactional flow of  business, cost reductions in customer care, leaps forward in customer satisfaction, and significant improvements in product uptake can result."

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine.

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