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  • December 20, 2018
  • By Marydee Ojala Marydee Ojala, Conference Program Director, Information Today, Inc
  • Article

Pairing Artificial Intelligence With Knowledge Management

Ever noticed how some words just naturally go together? Think pins and needles or touch and go. Sometimes it’s because they’re related, like hammer and nail, soap and water, or shoes and socks. Other word collocations portray opposites, like war and peace or open and shut. It’s a scientific fact that oil and water don’t mix, so using those words together becomes a metaphor for incompatible. Oil and gas are similar enough, however, that they describe an entire industry. Immigration and emigration are two sides of the same coin, since moving from country A to country B is immigration to country B but emigration from country A.

Some words used together are oxymorons. I’m still wondering about the product I saw advertised as an “authentic reproduction.” How, exactly, can it be both? What about “mandatory options”? If something is an option, doesn’t that mean it’s up to you to choose, rather than being required or mandatory? If you’ve ever been asked about a “scheduled emergency,” you might share my feeling of befuddlement. Emergencies happen unexpectedly, not on a fixed schedule. Language works in odd ways, not just as common word pairings or oxymorons. Supermarkets may have a shelf for jams and jellies, but no one ends up in a traffic jelly. No, it’s a traffic jam. Yeah, words can be sticky, um, I mean tricky.

Pairs and Acronyms

Word collocations are very prevalent when it comes to food. Just think of ham and eggs, peanut butter and jelly, peaches and cream, sweet and sour, or salt and pepper. All of which brings me to the bread and butter of artificial intelligence and knowledge management. The word pairing of artificial and intelligence strikes skeptics as an oxymoron. Those on the fence might point out that artificial intelligence is superior to natural ignorance. But as AI technologies become increasingly embedded in our everyday lives and used as important business tools, the phrase is now accepted as commonplace, one where the two words go naturally together. The same can be said of knowledge management.

For some word pairings, common practice is to shorten the words to acronyms, using the initial letters of the words. Hence, artificial intelligence becomes AI and knowledge management becomes KM. Similarly, the varieties of consumer experiences have taken the word “experience” and, using the initial sound rather than the initial letter, used the letter X to represent it. User experience is known as UX, customer experience as CX, digital experience as DX, the experience customers have with agents as AX, and the various business audiences as BX.

Theory of Experiences Formula

As explained by Anand Subramaniam, SVP of Global Marketing for eGain Corporation, these abbreviations can be combined, arithmetically, to provide its “Theory of Experiences.” The formula goes like this: AX + BX + CX = DX. The cumulation of the agent experience, business experience, and customer experience results in digital experience transformation. Easy as ABC, right?

At the heart of digital experience transformation is the recognition that customers themselves are becoming more digital. They like the idea of digital self-service. They want answers to their questions to display on their digital devices and they want those answers to be correct. They need consistent, reliable responses, without any improvisation on the part of the agent with whom they are speaking. And, they want to avoid speaking with an agent at all, preferring digital channels. They want a seamless—and fast—encounter with a product or service provider when they have questions or concerns. For this to happen, a company’s knowledge base must be infused with what eGain terms “AI knowledge.”

Without a good knowledge base, agents are frustrated. Like their digital customers, agents live in a digital world where information is assumed to flow to them without much need for training on their part. This leads to inaccurate answers to customer questions, something that AI knowledge can forestall. Not only does AI knowledge improve accuracy, it also speeds up the process, lowers employee turnover, lessens the number of hostile customer interactions, and results in a vastly better experience for both customers and agents.

The BX in eGain’s formula encompasses a wide range of audiences. It could be executives, managers, document authors, systems administrators, or someone else in the business. BX can also include those outside the business, such as stakeholders, customers, and suppliers. Almost anyone associated with a business these days comes into contact with its technology. Thus, it’s important to consider the BX element in creating DX. Combined with AX and CX, the BX piece is crucial to AI knowledge.

Advantages to AI knowledge extend beyond call centers. Companies want happy customers, but they also want to minimize unwarranted returns of merchandise and avoid contract infringements. Again, eGain’s AI knowledge comes into play. Guiding agents to productively engage with users and capitalizing on the three type of experiences that add up to a digital transformation experience goes well beyond simple word pairings.

Although X might “mark the spot” and algebra problems ask us to “solve for X,” not all acronyms with X at the end designate experience. BMX is bicycle motocross. Racing a BMX bike could certainly be considered an experience, but not in the sense of a digital transformation experience. However, I’m positive that an AI-powered knowledge base will easily tell the difference between the bike and the race, as well as knowing that BX, business experience, is not synonymous with BMX. Knowledge is indeed the bread and butter of DX. 

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