“Solutions built from the ground up with AI and already serving over 650,000 sessions per week using AI.”
Digital transformation has been reshaping our world and artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the next phases of capability being unlocked by this transformation. It’s an incredible time to be working in the AI space and at Microsoft we are working to help developers build services that amplify human ingenuity. As part of this work, today at Ignite 2017 we made several announcements on how we are making the benefits of AI more accessible to organizations, developers and individuals.
The first was a set of announcements in support of our Microsoft AI Platform which provides an open and flexible platform that developers can use to infuse AI into their applications and services. The combination of cloud + AI + data, with the right tooling, makes it easier to adopt AI into applications through our AI services and infrastructure including; Cognitive Services, Bot Framework and Azure Machine Learning. Today more than 682k developers including Uber and Brainshark are currently using Cognitive Services while Rockwell Automation is adopting the Bot Framework and deep analytics to improve the efficiency of their operations. We also announced updates to our Azure Machine Learning services and tools, providing a single solution for developers and data scientists to create, deploy, manage and monitor models in the cloud, on-premise or on the edge.
Second, was a set of announcements around how we are continuing to infuse AI into existing solutions. This work builds on our continued investment in core AI research including major innovations in computer vision, natural language processing, speech recognition, and more. Examples of product and services features infused with AI include: Office with intelligent image analysis or smart subtitles, Windows with biometric authentication, Bing, Cortana, and Dynamics 365. You can see me demonstrating PowerPoint Presentation Translator recently in Stockholm. To make the workplace more productive today we introduced Bing for business private, which provides a unified view of personalized, contextual search results from inside and outside your organization. By integrating Bing for business into your workflow, as well as being able to use it through Cortana, you can be more productive with a unified and efficient way to get the information and documents you need, when you need it.
The third area, which I’m excited to talk about this week, was the introduction of new generation of Dynamics 365 AI solutions designed to tackle high value, complex enterprise scenarios. While AI is becoming more pervasive, creating new solutions that provide an intelligence layer between organizations systems of record and their engagement platforms can be a challenging task. That’s why these solutions bring together people with advanced AI research and data capabilities, development and LOB subject matter experts, and cutting edge technology to address these enterprise scenarios – end to end.
These new solutions leverage the Microsoft AI platform, tools and infrastructure. They are tailored to existing systems, processes and data and are built using modern AI approaches that can help organizations accelerate the digital transformation. We designed these solutions with three principles in mind:
- Leverage Microsoft’s AI platform, data & expertise. With world-class AI research, cloud, data and developer platform, we are building our solutions on more than 25 years of work. These technologies have been used in our own products, services, and now enterprise-ready solutions.
- Integrated with your core enterprise scenarios. Our solutions are built to focus on traditional, horizontal, business scenarios most large enterprises rely on to serve their customers. When we partner with customers, we tailor the solution to meet your requirements, customize it to your data, and connect it to your existing 1st and 3rd party line of business applications and IT systems.
- AI driven solutions to transform your business. These new AI solutions are used to meet large-scale enterprise needs and we use them ourselves at Microsoft. You can adopt them with the confidence knowing that they will be ready for your business needs.
The promise of AI has always been to make lives better and to enhance the things we are doing today in a much more efficient and more powerful way. The solution we announced today is focused on applying AI to transform the customer service function. We have seen that today’s customer care can be costly, painful and inefficient. Customers generally do not enjoy needing to engage with support, agents can have low job satisfaction working with frustrated customers, and support leaders are always under CFO scrutiny leaving few dollars for innovation. We envision an AI powered future where customers get immediate, accurate and 24/7 support. Customer interactions become a source of insight for innovation and drive upsell and loyalty. A future where support agents focus on richer, more valuable interactions. That’s the future we demonstrated at Ignite, today.
Our goal is to increase satisfaction across areas where we engage the customer and within internal support teams who can work more effectively and efficiently. This is accomplished by having virtual agents engage with customers to solve their issues, and seamlessly transfer to support agents only when necessary. The agents receive real-time suggestions when a customer is handed off and can provide real-time feedback to train the virtual agents to become even more effective over time. Everything comes together in a comprehensive conversation management portal that empowers service managers to monitor and refine the conversations the virtual agents have with customers. To achieve immediate, personalized, and consistent service for customers, at scale, we leveraged the latest in AI principles and technologies, including:
- AI Authoring to move beyond manually scripted dialogues;
- Specialized Knowledge Graph blending our insights from Bing data with your specific business ontology;
- Industry leading machine reading comprehension with our proprietary FusionNet engine; and
- Reinforcement Learning to create a continuously learning customer care solution.
We tested it by implementing it across Microsoft’s support offerings in the US, with an end-user virtual agent and human agent assist technologies. Today this solution is handling over 650,000 sessions per week, is increasing both customer and support agent satisfactions, is reducing the routing for inquiries, and is allowing our agents to focus on higher value engagements. This solution is also being used by Early Access Program customers such as HP Inc. and Macy’s to augment their customer care efforts. “HP is reinventing the support experience by empowering our customers to easily solve a broad range of issues on their own,” said Jon Flaxman, Chief Operating Officer, HP Inc. “Microsoft’s advanced Artificial Intelligence capabilities enables HP Customer Service to deliver and manage these self-service solutions efficiently and with more precision.”
We are excited to introduce Dynamics 365 AI solutions today at Ignite 2017 and to introduce our first solution. You can read more about all of the Dynamics 365 news we announced at Ignite here and our new Dynamics 365 AI solutions, here. If you are interested, contact us here to receive more information.