C1 launches C1 Elly, the ‘one intelligent virtual assistant to rule them all’

This syndicated post originally appeared at Zeus Kerravala – SiliconANGLE.

Many organizations need help effectively employing artificial intelligence because of technical complexities, poor data quality and a lack of skills or resources.

To help organizations overcome these challenges, tech solutions provider C1, formerly ConvergeOne, today launched a new generative AI-powered tool called C1 Elly. The tool allows companies to make better use of their data, including previously inaccessible data locked in different business systems.

Mark Langanki, C1’s chief technology officer, explained in an interview with ZK Research that C1 Elly is an intelligent virtual assistant, or IVA, designed for enterprise-wide use, not limited to contact centers but extending to a wide range of applications. C1 Elly stands out for its ability to access and use data across an organization, even from systems that usually don’t share information. It also evaluates the quality of AI interactions to ensure they’re helpful and accurate, reducing errors and improving over time.

When using IVAs for tasks such as user authentication, the containment rate measures the number of interactions completed entirely through self-service without requiring human agent intervention. The team behind the offering discovered that traditional containment metrics overlooked the issue of customers abandoning the process due to frustration.

Therefore, C1’s quality index score is based on the human experience, which evaluates the IVA’s performance. The score assesses the effectiveness of the assistant in providing correct answers and whether the customer’s issues were fully resolved.

Over the years, virtual assistants like Elly have undergone a development journey. Initially, it relied on conversational AI for communication. However, since the human language is complex and virtual assistants need to understand and respond to various expressions, generative AI was integrated to enhance their abilities. This advancement made IVAs more effective and reliable tools for handling diverse requests.

“We didn’t just jump on the gen AI bandwagon,” Langanki said. “We took our conversational AI and merged it with gen AI. So when we come out of the gate, it’s not hallucinating. It’s not saying the wrong things. We deliver our bots using conversational and gen AI technologies, deploying and building those with our customers and tuning over time. It’s all of that put together that’s unique.”

C1 Elly’s key strength lies in its sophisticated data management. C1 developed a data lake that integrates various data types, including relational databases, flat files, and log files. The data lake supports unstructured and time-series information, enabling advanced AI, machine learning and data science techniques to derive valuable insights and predictions from the data. It also provides accurate and contextually relevant responses by analyzing every contact center call recording, enriching it with additional data such as geographical coordinates, and integrating this information into the data lake.

One example of C1 Elly’s successful implementation is with the insurance company Wellabe. Since deploying Elly, Wellabe has experienced significant improvements in operational tasks such as user authentication. Now, 80% of policyholders can verify their identities automatically through it. Wellabe also sees IVA containment rates for the payment app reaching 76% in 2024. This means that most interactions are settled without human intervention.

“It’s a substantial improvement from basically having no automation. It has to do with the process that we go through. We have our own center of excellence around AI at C1. So, when we go to the customer, we walk through a very detailed exploration session and devise a plan of what we think is best for them,” said Alain Mowad, senior director of product marketing. “It’s not just the technology. It’s the whole process of how we discover, develop, design, deploy, and evolve. So, it’s a fully managed solution.”

Beyond the Wellabe implementation, C1 Elly, which supports more than 127 languages, has other potential use cases across different industries. For instance, it can remind pilots to switch communication channels by identifying background noise in the aviation sector. In theme parks, the solution could function as a travel concierge, managing reservations and providing personalized suggestions for activities based on guests’ preferences and past visits.

In the enterprise, C1 Elly can serve as a valuable tool for human resources by answering common policy questions and providing customized advice on benefits. For credit card companies, it can ensure secure payment processing without revealing card information to human agents, increasing security and customer trust. Lastly, sales departments could use it as a sales assistant, offering real-time answers to product questions.

Leveraging AI and automation in different industries can present certain challenges, especially when integrating them into existing systems. C1 overcomes this hurdle by offering 200 prebuilt integrations with major customer relationship management platforms such as Salesforce, Zendesk, Oracle and Microsoft, as well as electronic health record systems. This provides seamless interaction across multiple customer touchpoints without requiring system changes.

“One of the issues with implementing any AI solution is access to data and access to the systems that you need for the bots to respond intelligently,” said Mowad. “Integration complexities are a challenge, and we’re very much up to that challenge. We have a solution for that, which is pretty much out of the box, making it a lot easier to implement and giving us access to the right amount of info the bot needs.”

C1’s approach is to monitor and analyze app performance, usage and adoption without accessing or storing raw data such as health records or bank account details. Instead, only transactional data is used, which records the actions taken without including the sensitive information. If specific details such as a bank account balance are required, an application programming interface is used to securely retrieve the data from the integrated systems. This limits the storage of potentially vulnerable information and focuses only on metadata that supports operational needs without compromising security.

In summary, C1 Elly significantly improves how organizations interact with customers and manage their data by removing the AI silos created with vendor-provided solutions. This should help boost confidence with automated interactions, something companies have struggled with in the past.

Author: Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.