How to Make AI Smarter

Gary Miles
12/18/2017
100%
0%

Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) can provide the differentiating edge for sales and retention in the hyper-competitive communications market. In this landscape, the step-by-step gains that AI can bring in offering customers the right product, in the right channel, at the most appropriate time in their journey, will separate the winners from the losers. And, in this active M&A market, AI can help determine which companies will be left standing.

Early adopters are implementing machine learning to improve customer service through technologies that aid sales in the store, through the call center or by chatbots available 24/7 to address needs and opportunities. According to recent research conducted by Forrester Research Inc. (disclosure: Amdocs sponsored this research), just about half (49%) of communications service provider (CSP) decision makers say they intend to increase AI budgets by at least 6% in the next 12 months. Plus, a large majority of them (87%) plan to expand their already sizable AI teams.

But there is a spoiler: The decisions around what should be done with AI offerings are being made without involving marketing. This is a mistake because marketing and intelligence/data teams must be closely aligned in data analysis to help slow churn and drive new sales.

The Forrester research showed that the decision makers are largely on the IT side (39%), with customer service executives lagging behind (26%) and few marketing programs driving AI (only 6%). Given that the primary goal of service providers is to boost sales and reduce churn, I found this to be incredibly surprising.

At the end of the day, it's not about the data in a given system, but about the data and intelligence flowing between the different divisions that allow providers to most effectively upsell to customers. Marketing usually has a series of point solutions, such as products for campaign management, market segmentation or channel stimulation. These solutions generally don't have a holistic, integrated view of data from many systems or of data in action as customers go through their journeys. Only getting the data and AI strategy right across the broader landscape of a service provider's business lines will enable effective cross-selling.

Here's a key example. We know that customers are materially less likely to churn if they are on a multi-play bundle vs. a single service. Let's say a customer is calling to ask about a premium channel package to add to his or her pay-TV service. There is an opportunity for a chatbot to upsell an unlimited wireless plan so the customer can watch content on the go as well. Crafting such an offer for a customer in real time across multiple lines of business requires strong coordination from the IT and marketing organizations, based on a well-executed data and AI strategy.

While we see positive strides in AI, mostly in the care and customer service channels, there is a compelling case to bring in a broad AI strategy for all marketing projects.

AI and machine learning are where cloud technology was ten years ago. Enterprises that started early in the lifecycle are today far ahead of the competition. During this process of launching and fine-tuning AI solutions, marketing should be front and center as an integral part of any AI team, developing with IT the strategy and goals for the business. Such coordination between the CMO and CIO will drive the best top-line results and establish the leaders of tomorrow.

— Gary Miles, Chief Marketing Officer, Amdocs

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
iidamant
50%
50%
iidamant,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/21/2017 | 4:03:23 AM
Re: Promise
I'm not so sure about this statement "The problem is that we're really far from it being a consumer-grade technology.".

Google has already implemented an AI into their algorithm allowing them to display more user-friendly searchresults. They're also allowing companies to rank for various search queries that are related. Therefore, I my opinion, Google has already taken the first step and broken ground for consumers :-)
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/18/2017 | 2:00:39 PM
Promise
The promise of AI is immense. The problem is that we're really far from it being a consumer-grade technology. I know the likes of IBM, Google and Facebook are working on this problem. Apple too. They may be the first to really break ground for consumers if you ask me. 
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/18/2017 | 12:38:07 PM
AI only a Tool
You're right that the CIO shouldn't fo it alone. With too many technologies over too much time haveing all of the bells and whistles was more important than looking at "what does the solution do for me (or my company)."
More Blogs from Column
Coherent DSPs for 400Gbit/s and beyond could be the catalyst for a re-shaping of the optical vendor landscape, believes Serge Melle.
Using blockchain to speed the automation of one of the trickiest areas in telecom – inter-carrier settlements – seems to be showing promise as startups emerge to lead the way.
AI-driven solutions are being used in telecommunications to support various elements of the customer experience that most CRM systems just can't handle.
By 2021, telecom networks will see a turning point where AI-driven technologies will be necessary to deploy, run and manage 5G services and leverage comprehensive network automation solutions.
The US could start a steady climb back up the global rankings if more cities practice intensive spectrum management and make new LTE-Advanced upgrades.
Featured Video
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 6, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
March 12-14, 2019, Denver, Colorado
All Upcoming Live Events
Partner Perspectives - content from our sponsors
One Size Doesn't Fit All – Another Look at Automation for 5G
By Stawan Kadepurkar, Business Head & EVP, Hi-Tech, L&T Technology Services
Prepare Now for the 5G Monetization Opportunity
By Yathish Nagavalli, Chief Enterprise Architect, Huawei Software
Huawei Mobile Money: Improving Lives and Accelerating Economic Growth
By Ian Martin Ravenscroft, Vice President of BSS Solutions, Huawei
Dealer Agent Cloud – Empower Your Dealer & Agent to Excel
By Natalie Dorothy Scopelitis, Director of Digital Transformation, Huawei Software
All Partner Perspectives