AI should ‘augment, not replace’, says Avaya

Johannesburg, 17 Sep 2019
Read time 3min 00sec
Yaser Alzubaidi
Yaser Alzubaidi

Organisations in South Africa that use artificial intelligence (AI) to empower humans, rather than replace them, will see greater success with their AI projects, according to Yaser Alzubaidi, Digital Engagement Solutions Sales Leader, Avaya International.

Alzubaidi’s comments on AI, made at the 2019 Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Cape Town this week, follow the results of an Avaya study, conducted by Vanson Bourne, finding that just 9% of South African companies are getting the most out of AI. This is despite the fact that 97% of South African organisations identify AI as one of the most important technologies for 2019.

The route to success when it comes to AI, Alzubaidi said, is in taking a cautious approach through specific use cases that augment the abilities of humans to drive measurable results. During his speaking session, "Better Customer Experience Delivered in the Cloud", he said that improving CX is an area filled with use cases for AI. He said Avaya’s approach to AI involved augmenting the intelligence of machines, and enabling humans to choose their preferred journeys.

“According to our research, 56% of South African organisations view delivering a better customer experience as one of the top benefits of AI. Increased customer satisfaction comes in second, and the ability to leverage predictive analytics rounds out the top three,” Alzubaidi said.

“It’s little wonder, then, that 98% of South African organisations view AI as having a particular importance in the contact centre.”

Alzubaidi said a number of Avaya’s customers are already making headway on augmenting machine intelligence to drive better customer experiences. He said that, with Avaya’s latest solutions, organisations are able to leverage enormous amounts of data to make machines work more intelligently and drive dynamic decisions in real-time – whether it’s through chatbots, contextual IVR, or outbound.

He added that the most successful organisations are creating connected, automated touchpoints to agents, augmented virtual assistants, and self-service platforms with new levels of knowledge.

“One use case I love, for example, is deploying a chatbot capable of understanding the context of a customer interaction, with the ability to recommend a move to a more secure channel for a financial transaction,” Alzubaidi said.

“Another great use case sees the creation of a conversational IVR, capable of identifying customers coming into the contact centre through a mobile application and providing the option of continuing through mobile IVR. Put simply, these solutions pull knowledge from different sources to provide the right information at the right time.”

Indeed, Alzubaidi explained that, with the right solutions deployed intelligently, organisations could move from “IVR hell” to “effortless self-service”, and from first-in-first-out to smart routing with outcome-based pairing.

Later during his session, Alzubaidi explained that Avaya’s solutions are enabling “channel freedom” – enabling the same high levels of customer experience across every channel, from e-mail and chat, to voice and social media.

Alzubaidi added that Avaya has enabled its customers to consume its services through the cloud – but at their own pace through their own choice of cloud. This could be through a managed services and subscription-based agreement, or an Avaya OneCloud Private solution that delivers a 100% custom architecture. Or, he explained, customers can choose from Avaya’s multi-instance options of OneCloud ReadyNow or Public UCaaS and CCaaS solutions.

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