Amdocs Tosses Hat into Smartbot Ring, but Adoption Hurdles Loom

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Amdocs introduced its Smartbot offering at Mobile World Congress Americas and followed with demos at the Amdocs Digital Summit, pre-integrating Amdocs’ aia intelligence platform and Microsoft Cognitive Analytics capabilities in delivering innovative, personalized, self-service interactions to digital operator customers.
  • Amdocs confronts adoption barriers, as operators must first adapt and automate their operations and business processes to deliver real-time, interactive Smartbot capabilities to their digital customers.

At the Mobile World Congress Americas show and follow-up demos during the Amdocs Digital Summit, Amdocs rolled out its new artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-based Smartbot solution. The pre-integrated solution uses Amdocs aia intelligence platform with Microsoft Cognitive Services, specifically Microsoft Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS) and Text Analytics API, to enable personalized, self-service interactions with operator customers. The Amdocs Smartbot targets enabling operators to streamline and improve the customer experience, such as predictive care and smart promotional campaigns, using the Cognitive Services-enhanced understanding of natural language and human emotion.

So, what does the Amdocs Smartbot solution require to succeed long term? A few things quickly come to mind:

  • Operators confront organizational barriers in executing their digital transformation strategies, including the automation of a wide array of operational and business processes. Organizational delays and complexity risk slowing down adoption of Amdocs Smartbot in delivering the real-time interactive digital experiences needed to take full advantage of AI smartbot technology.
  • Amdocs must rely on Microsoft to deliver the natural language innovation and updates required to maintain the intelligence and emotional awareness of Amdocs Smartbot. Amdocs should explore pre-integrating its smartbot offering with alternative cognitive computing platforms, such as IBM Watson, to avoid overreliance on Microsoft development agendas and hedge against the potential disruption of the alliance over the long term.
  • Since the Microsoft partnership is non-exclusive, Amdocs is undercut in differentiating Amdocs Smartbot’s capabilities. Amdocs must produce operator use cases which validate its marketing claims of unique benefits from using Microsoft Cognitive Services against other Microsoft-based solutions, as well as alternative platforms using Nokia Bell Labs and IBM Watson cognitive/natural language platforms.
  • The Amdocs Smartbot launch comes three months after the Nokia Autonomous Customer Care solution debut, allowing Nokia to claim a time-to-market advantage in addressing the emerging telco smartbot market. Even with claims of improving on rules-based bots with AI smartbot innovations, Amdocs needs to temper its marketing claims of developing the first bot for the communication and media market.
  • To bolster its digital care ecosystem influence, enlisting support for troubleshooting third-party devices, such as smartphones and tablets, in a non-disruptive manner is critical. Often, device problems are difficult to separate from digital care and services issues, obliging Amdocs to ensure the solution addresses the common device support needs of customers, thus further boosting the operator digital experience.
  • The launch focused on delivering personalized, self-service interactions and promotions to mobile customers. Amdocs needs to broaden the solution’s applicability in solving residential fixed access service issues to avoid undercutting operator fulfillment of omnichannel digital care requirements.
  • Amdocs needs to ensure that its smartbot product development and marketing strategy includes a 5G-specific vision to alleviate operator uncertainties related to adopting an evolving technology.

The Amdocs Smartbot solution offers innovation in enhancing operator digital care, sales and marketing engagements within automated operator digital environments. By embedding Microsoft Cognitive Services at the core of the offering, Amdocs is making a clear bet Microsoft Cognitive Services can reliably deliver the natural language, sentiment and user recognition augmentation required to spur operator adoption. Now Amdocs needs to generate use cases, particularly emerging 5G cases, which confirm the ability to deliver breakthroughs in digital customer care and monetization.

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