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Genesys Integrates PureCloud, Amazon Lex

With AWS re:Invent officially underway in Las Vegas, this week is sure to bring plenty of announcements from the cloud infrastructure giant and its partners. The news is already starting to trickle out; Genesys today announced an integration of its PureCloud contact center solution with Amazon Lex, a service for building conversation interfaces.

As many will recall, Interactive Intelligence (acquired by Genesys in August 2016) built what is now PureCloud on AWS. "Our partnership with Amazon has only been strengthening over the years," Dan Rood, VP of Product Marketing at Genesys, told me in a briefing on the news. In fact, Amazon approached Genesys about a Lex integration, and Genesys saw the benefit in not only being first to market but also in taking the opportunity to work on a joint initiative with its growing partner, Rood said.

This integration leverages artificial intelligence, namely natural language processing (NLP), and enables Genesys business customers to build and maintain conversational IVR flows with the aim of enhancing the customer experience.

Think about how everyday consumers interact with Amazon Echo, Rood said. They use Echo for things like ordering items, adjusting the temperature of the room, or -- in the case of Rood's children -- to get a laugh by asking it to tell them a joke. "We interact with these [virtual assistants] in a more natural way" than a traditional IVR. This is the style of interaction Genesys wants to carry over to the contact center realm, enabling businesses using PureCloud to insert natural language into the IVR through integration with Amazon Lex.

When a customer is able to speak naturally, the company is able to better understand the intent of a customer and route the call to a highly skilled agent more quickly, Rood said. It also removes some of the friction from the customer perspective because "they can talk more like a human," he added. Ultimately, when AI is leveraged with IVR in this way, it results in the customer being able to more easily get what they want, he said.

Striking the Native-Partner Balance

Besides using Lex to serve customers more intelligently, Genesys also is providing a customer service-specific AI implementation through Kate, as announced earlier this year. Kate and the Lex integration are complementary, Rood said.

While Kate provides native functionality around things like bots and predictive matching, it also must "play well" with other bots as well as platforms, he said. "There's so much going on with bots and NLP that we don't want it all to be native to us. We're going to have customers that are coming to us with their own bots and AI platforms. It's more beneficial to have this open."

Democratizing AI

The Lex integration will be available in the first quarter of 2018. Later in the year, Genesys plans to explore ways to delegate basic tasks to bots, allowing contact center agents to utilize their expertise more fully, Rood said. Additionally, while this integration is initially only for the voice channel, the company ultimately plans to expand to chat, SMS, and other channels.

This integration democratizes the technology, enabling businesses without developer resources to utilize AI through a simple drag-and-drop, point-and-click interface, Rood said.

This simplicity should serve the PureCloud base well. The majority of PureCloud customers today are mid-sized businesses ranging from 20 to 300 agents, with one-quarter of them at the enterprise level of 300 to 1,000 agents, Genesys reports.

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