It’s all about meeting customer expectation; to be agile, to be able to respond with the right solution every time, to be competitive in the market. AI is being seen as the be-all solution for all the modern day complexities that businesses are facing on a day to day basis. Senseforth, made in India, AI platform, developed by Bangalore-based Senseforth AI Research has developed one of the most well-known chatbots EVA. The same is being currently used by HDFC Bank for interfacing with its customers. Other organisations like ICICI Bank, Club Mahindra and Manipal Hospitals have also deployed Senseforth’s AI-driven bots for improving their process efficiencies.
So we got Ritesh Radhakrishnan, CTO & Co-Founder, Senseforth talk about the latest AI driven business bots and how they are becoming relevant for organisations as business process complexities increase. Excerpts:
Dynamic CIO (DC): You are talking about business bots that will take over and manage business process, what impact will have it on enterprise?
Ritesh Radhakrishnan (RR): AI has become mainstream at a time when managing an enterprise has become extremely complex owing to the complex internal systems and business processes, which have evolved over many years through organic or inorganic growth. To make it worse, there is a constant need to manage expectations of ever increasing number of customers, employees and partners while remaining profitable in an extremely competitive environment.
AI bots can helps organizations achieve these goals by wrapping complex systems and processes using simple and intuitive chatbot interfaces. Bots can also help deliver the services in a 24X7 manner, bringing down customer service costs while improving customer experience. AI bots can also analyze data of massive scale and complexity and bring out insights which can help organizations make faster and more accurate business decisions. All of these advances will help enterprises achieve new scale and set new standards for services which were unthinkable some years ago with human intensive processes.
DC: How far or near in the future will we see business bots becoming a reality in a big way? Do share some use cases.
RR: Business bots are already a reality. AI has already touched every sphere of business in large enterprises. This is true for all industries, from Banking to travel and hospitality and even traditional industries like mining and manufacturing. AI’s usage is expanding quickly with many businesses adopting them for both their internal and external purposes. Ability to understand natural human language combined with the ability to access, process and generate large amounts of data in near realtime makes bots an indispensable part of any enterprise IT landscape.
Common applications are in customer service, sales, HR, IT support and knowledge management. Customer service bots are already handling customer interactions at scale, helping reduce customer service costs while delivering 24X7 service. HR bots are aiding employees get personalized and continuous care, information, career guidance and inclusion which was not possible before. IT support bots are ensuring faster resolution of issues and reduced downtime. Knowledge bots are aiding faster and more knowledge access from large Knowledge repositories, advancing research and improving process adherence. These are just some of the success stories of bots in the enterprise which is only going to accelerate in the days to come.
DC: While you say business bots will impact the business environment, some research and reports say that chatbots are still to mature in terms of improving CX. What is your take on that?
RR: Any new technology goes through an adoption lifecycle. We believe chatbots are quickly moving from being a novelty mainly used by early adopters to becoming an essential channel for delivering services for any enterprise. This rapid transition is mainly aided by the fact that users are already used to the customer experience offered by chatbots, given the high adoption of P2P and Group chat platforms. This essentially eliminates the learning curve which would have been associated with any new technology or interface.
While we can say that chatbots need to mature more to handle more complex tasks, they are already adept at handling most information retrieval and transactional tasks which compromise 60-70% of the nature of interactions between end users and enterprises. This combined with faster turn-around time and 24X7 availability already makes a ready business case for enterprises to adopt this technology.
DC: Can you elaborate on your AI-based solutions for various industry segments?
RR: Senseforth differentiates from large generic platform by providing highly domain and use case specific pre-built bots which make bot implementations faster and more economical. Senseforth has pre-built bots for various industries like Banking, Insurance, Retail, Travel and Hospitality, Real estate and healthcare. The bots are further specialized for different use cases like Customer services, sales, HR, IT support, Knowledge management and analytics. Enterprises can pick the pre-built bot closest to their scenario and quickly customize it to meet their needs. Senseforth also has a highly trained team of domain and conversational experts who can help train and manage the bots once they are launched.
DC: What is Senseforth’s A.ware? How is this empowering business’ here?
RR: A.ware is the neo-cortex of Senseforth. It emulates human cognitive abilities in reading, comprehending, interpreting, and conversing using cutting edge Machine learning and Natural language processing. This ability combined with deep enterprise integration and actionization creates a powerful platform to build intelligent action bots for business.
Senseforth’s patent-pending NLP engine carefully and optimally combines Machine learning techniques with Linguistic rules developed over many years, delivering speed and accuracy which cannot be matched by Generic ML only based platforms. Senseforth’s domain specific bots learn and evolve based on guided learning principles, making them a safe and predictable choice for enterprises. Being omni-channel, enterprises can easily deploy the bots wherever their end users are e.g. Web, Mobile, Social Channels, Messaging and collaboration platforms and even home devices. Our bots can scale up and down on demand absorbing future shocks and can dramatically bring down “Cost to Serve”. No extensive upfront investment is required; you can pay as you derive the benefits.
Six powerful engines that fire the neurons of A.ware platform are:
Intentology: Derives intent from a multitude of scenarios
Actionization: Takes the right action from a myriad of possibilities
Context: Nestles the intent into a meaningful context
Conversation: Asks relevant questions and engages in a dialog
Learning: Trains through user feedback and pattern recognition
Analytics: Formulates in-depth insights into user behaviour
DC: Can you talk about some of your popular use cases of A.ware deployment in India?
RR: Senseforth bots are employed by some of the largest brands in India and across the world. Some of the success stories are:
- a) Senseforth customer service Chatbots and Email bots are used by some of the largest BFSI brands in the world. For e.g. HDFC Bank employs a AI based customer service chatbot – EVA, on their website to interact with customers. Eva has handled more than 5 million queries since it became aware, and has been available 99.9%, providing responses in milliseconds from millions of data points.
- b) Senseforth HR bots are used by some of the leading insurance and insurance firms in Asia, delivering highly personalized information and career guidance to employees. This is lead to an increased employee satisfaction and retention, while freeing up HR teams to focus their energies on high level tasks.
- c) Senseforth insights bots are helping Hospitality and Health care customers understand user feedback and decide how to invest their time and money efficiently to achieve maximum customer satisfaction.
- d) Senseforth Knowledge Bots are helping large organizations discover and use information faster and more accurately, helping further research and ensure process adherence and reduce disputes and legal/compliance costs.
These are just some of the examples of how Senseforth bots are transforming enterprises.
DC: What are Senseforth’s business and marketing plans for the Indian market, and globally?
RR: As one of the largest and most matured platforms in this space, Senseforth has already established itself as a dominant player in the Indian AI bot market. While we continue to grow and expand into more domains and use cases in India, we are also looking to expand into other markets like the US, UK, Australia and the Middle East. We raised $2 million last year as seed round. We plan to raise another $8 to $10 million later this year to help with the market expansion and increase our focus on cutting edge R&D.
From the product perspective, we plan to launch our intuitive and powerful bot-builder for enterprises so they can build highly accurate and deeply integrated bots themselves in no time, without any IT involvement. We are also working on adding support for multiple Indian and global languages and supporting on-premise Voice recognition so that bots can be integrated into channels like IVR. There are many more exciting things cooking at Senseforth which will surely revolutionize the bot space. You will hear about them soon.