Taking Care of Basics, and Way Beyond, with Artificial Intelligence

“Basics” Training for AI Programs


To master AI, you need to begin with the basics

In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), the authors note that it is critical to have certain capabilities in place before “rushing into sophisticated artificial intelligence” (AI).

“They (companies) must invest time and money to be prepared with sufficiently automated and structured data analytics in order to take full advantage of the new technologies. Like it or not, you can’t afford to skip the basics.”

When referring to “automated analytics” – the authors, in effect, are referring to the capability of automatically accessing, collecting, and analyzing data relating to strategic organizational processes. That is, stakeholders must have access to reliable data in real-time. Otherwise, if relying on data that is out-of-date and irrelevant, it doesn’t matter how sophisticated the AI is – the insights and predictions that it delivers will most likely be wrong and may lead decision makers astray – in terms of conclusions, strategies, and tactics.

The Basics #1: Real-Time, Fresh Data

At Amdocs, we too believe in the critical role that real-time, fresh data plays in the effectiveness of any artificial intelligence program.

For service providers to deliver fresh and relevant data to key stakeholders in the organization, they will need in their arsenal a real-time data management platform with the following capabilities:

  • Seamlessly collecting, storing, and integrating 1st and 3rd party data
  • Real-time and batch data collection and processing
  • Applying an open data model that is preferably TM-Forum compliant, and which should be pre-mapped to the primary business areas for service providers

This real-time data management platform will serve as your “single source of truth.” As noted in the HBR article:

“With more centralized information architectures, all systems refer back to the primary “source of truth,” updates propagate to the entire system, and decisions reflect a single view of a customer or issue.” 

In fact, when you combine 1st and 3rd party data, including CRM, billing, engagement history, web visits, and real-time customer data, you can arrive at an accurate and complete understanding of customer needs, preferences, and intents. This makes it possible, as the article remarks to comprehensively predict, explain, and prescribe customer behavior.”

The Basics #2: Structured Analytics . . . or, rather Structured & Unstructured Data

Here we’d like to combine two more capabilities that are discussed as ‘basic’ in HBR. Namely, on the one hand it is critical to put in place “structured analytics . . . so that the way data is collected is standardized and can be entered only once.”

The idea here is more about structured data analytics vs. structured data analytics. That is, a formulized and standardized approach to analytics.

On the other hand:

“Artificial intelligence systems make a huge difference when unstructured data such as social media, call center notes, images, or open-ended surveys are also required to reach a judgment.”

We believe that a more impactful, and even mandatory capability is about coupling structured data with unstructured data – which then feeds the analytics and, ultimately, the artificial intelligence.

For, it is clear that the sum of our customers is not wrapped up in forms nor in CRM or other templated data sources. In fact, it’s the unstructured data that is contained in conversations (whether with contact center agents or chat bots), and on social posts, for example, that provide rich, multi-layered, and often hidden insights into the intent, needs, and wants of customers.

Only by being able to combine this kind of insight from unstructured data with the more ‘objective,’ structured data that is derived from standard SP systems (such as billing and CRM) – can the service provider come to a fuller, more reliable understanding of the customer – and even get to predictive capabilities with AI, which will elevate customer engagement and care to new and unprecedented levels.

From Basic Training to the Officer’s Club

At Amdocs, we have taken these principles, among others, and have wrapped them up into the service provider’s answer to the AI dilemma. Namely, aia, our Real-Time Digital Intelligence Platform will both take care of the basics and will take you beyond, to the officer’s club. It includes the following unique set of technologies and capabilities:

  • The Real-Time Data Management Platform, where we aggregate, filter, organize, and analyze real-time and batch data.
  • Amdocs Engage, for Intelligent Customer Engagement: combining 1st and 3rd party data, structured and unstructured data, and advanced machine learning to arrive at an accurate and complete understanding of customer needs, preferences, and intents so you can have personalized and contextual engagements with your customers on all channels.
  • Integrated Best of Breed AI Engines: from IBM and Microsoft, among others, to deliver cutting edge capabilities such as machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), and cognitive computing, and more.

This combination enables service providers to take care of the basics and then go beyond, by infusing intelligence into their core business processes – including marketing, customer engagements, care, and more.

To learn how you too can take care of the basics and go far beyond with AI, read the Ovum Chief Data officer’s guide to artificial intelligence, or contact us at intelligence@amdocs.com.

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