Viva Las Verint!
“The Art of Innovation” was the theme at Verint’s Engage customer event held in Las Vegas, with over 1,000 customers, partners, and analysts in attendance. While the theme was innovation, the Verint presentations and sessions were all about using AI to deliver CX automation. The buzzword of the event was “open” – open CCaaS, open data, open platform – you get the idea.
Verint CEO Dan Bodner introduced the new Open CCaaS, which he claims maximizes CX automation and future proofs an organization’s technology investment. Noting that the first-generation cloud solutions were telephony-first and closed, Bodner explained that Verint’s Open CCaaS Platform offers freedom and flexibility, while ensuring the solution is future proof, putting AI at the fingertips of agents. Open CCaaS is not about technology, but rather about business outcomes.
The Open CCaaS approach is a bit confusing, and Verint will need to refine its messaging a bit, but the main idea is that an organization’s contact center and CX technology decision should not be around the telephony decision, but rather around where and how organizations can deliver CX automation to the customer journey. To this end, Verint offers a “bring your own telephony” approach to enable its open platform to work with whatever telephony solution the organization is using. Verint’s goal isn’t to compete with CCaaS vendors, including some of its technology partners, but to alter the discussion and the role of the voice infrastructure.
I spoke with Dave Singer who explained what Verint means by Open CCaaS and the role of openness. Rather than taking a telephony-first approach, Verint sees telephony as just another application, enabling customers to pick best-of-breed applications and use the telephony application that works for them. Verint does not provide call delivery, but can queue and route calls to be delivered on the customer’s communication platform of choice. Singer also discusses the role of openness and “radical openness.”
Open is a State of Mind
As noted, openness was a key theme throughout the event. In his keynote and in a discussion with industry analysts, Bodner noted that “Open is an approach and state of mind,” and it’s not just about having APIs and a marketplace. There are five key dimensions to Verint’s open approach:
- Open Engagement Data Hub – at the core of Verint’s platform, this new data hub “unifies siloed engagement data from all parts of the contact center including the data generated through interactions from every channel, employee workforce performances, and customer experiences.” This hub provides the ability to ingest data from various sources and make it accessible to everyone who needs it
- Open Verint Da Vinci AI – Verint Da Vinci AI now includes any commercially available AI model, rather than just proprietary Verint models
- Open best-of-breed applications
- Open ecosystem
- Open enterprise – Verint built data bridges between the contact center, branch office, company websites, etc. to share and provide context for interactions
In this video, Jamie Meritt, chief product officer, discusses the Engagement Data Hub, as well as Engagement Data Insights. Engagement Data Insights uses AI-driven insights and natural language queries to let business users access all of their engagement data using Verint Da Vinci AI in a no code, no training way. Meritt discusses how Verint uses generative AI to produce results and unlock key insights into what is happening in their business, along with actions they need to take based on this information.
There’s a Bot for That
A key element of Verint’s AI story is specialized bots that do specific tasks to enable CX automation. These bots are infused with AI directly from the Verint platform. They can be embedded in Verint applications or in some cases can be purchased and deployed separately. During the event Verint demonstrated several of these bots, but actually has dozens of the specialized bots, many of which are add-ons to Verint applications.
Going beyond interaction summarization (which several vendors now offer), Verint’s specialized bots include an interaction transfer bot, knowledge suggestion bot, knowledge author bot, forecasting bot, data insight bot, and many more. AI is infused throughout the Verint platform, with specialized bots for specific workflows and processes.
I spoke with Heather Richards, vice president, go-to-market strategy, about Verint’s bots and bot strategy, some use case examples, how organizations will consume and deploy these bots, and more.
Another focus area is Experience Management (XM) to “deliver experience insights at scale across a brand’s customer touchpoints.” According to Daniel Ziv, vice president, go-to-market, Experience Management and Analytics, Experience Management is about understanding your customers and leveraging the data and insights you have in order to infer customer preferences and sentiment, and anticipate their needs.
In this video interview, Ziv describes XM, the role of analytics, how XM differs from voice of the customer, and how it helps companies be more predictive.
Partners are Key
Verint Engage brought together not just customers, but Verint technology partners and channel partners as well. I spoke with John Bourne, senior VP global channels & alliances, who discussed the role of partners and how Verint helps partners transition to survive and get the skills needed to thrive in today’s cloud and AI-enabled world. Bourne notes that Verint suggests that partners engage with Verint, noting “If you’re not talking to your customers about cloud, someone else is.”
Verint is taking an interesting approach with its Open CCaaS, intended not to replace existing CCaaS solutions, but to integrate with them while providing a “bring your own telephony” approach to help organizations use Verint’s CX automation to close the engagement capacity gap between customer expectations and business resources. This provides a best-of-breed approach to help organizations increase automation to elevate CX across channels. This strategy and approach makes perfect sense for Verint, which has traditionally integrated with a variety of CCaaS vendors who are important partners, while trying to shift the conversation away from CCaaS and telephony to CX automation. It will take some time to work out the messaging and start changing the mindset of CX organizations.
Taking an open approach is not new to Verint, but its new solutions reinforce the company’s dedication to openness, while taking advantage of third-party AI products in addition to Verint’s own Da Vinci AI capabilities.