At its Modern Customer Experience event in Las Vegas today, Oracle announced new products focused on chatbots and AI, as well as enhanced messaging functionality within the CX cloud suite.
Notably, Oracle's chatbot innovation is already reaching beyond text-based bots (for example, on Facebook Messenger) to incorporate intelligent responsiveness on voice-driven systems like Amazon Alexa. Previewing the announcement for me, Steve Krause, Group VP Product Management at the marketing cloud, explained that this was another way of reaching customers "wherever they want to interact with you." Oracle's chatbot platform will allow users to develop and deploy their own chatbot apps for Facebook Messenger and Alexa. Krause also confirmed that, so far, the solution is based on Oracle's proprietary natural language processing technology.
Adaptive Intelligence Apps for the CX cloud bring AI to commerce, marketing, sales, and service. The apps will bring machine learning capabilities to surfacing better decision-making from first- and third-party customer data.
Where Amazon bases product recommendations essentially on its own data, Krause explained, the Adaptive Intelligence Apps will be able to draw on the vast quantities of anonymized data hosted in the Oracle Data Cloud. First time visitors to brand websites or apps will need no longer be unknown, if they have profiles in the cloud. What's more, the profiles can be modified with each new behavioral signal.
Krause distinguished these capabilities from other vendors' data co-ops, where brands agree to pool data to improve customer targeting. "Other vendors don't have a data cloud," he said. With contractual agreements about how data will be maintained and shared, Adaptive Intelligence Apps can draw on the full Oracle Data Cloud. "The more, and better, the signal in; the better the recommendations out," he said.
"Consumers today are multi-channel people," he said. "Marketers have to adapt to that." The bridge between smarter chatbots and Adaptive Intelligence, he explained, was that they both draw on the marketing cloud's orchestration capability—for B2C, based in Responsys. Orchestration means a chatbot conversation can trigger a follow-up email; the outcome being fed back into Responsys to improve future engagement. The channels "no longer exist in isolation," he said.
This doesn't mean, he emphasized, swarming customers with text messages, emails and web ads. Properly applied orchestration follows a cadence set by the customer. The customer initiates a search for a product; asks a question of the chatbot; and receives an email. "The best marketing," Krause said, "is seen (by customers) as helpful.
Oracle also announced enhanced mobile, video and social messaging capabilities, new video and social messaging capabilities for service professionals, enabling them to interact with customers across WeChat, Facebook Messenger and video channels, new mobile capabilities for sales professionals, and—for B2B—an integration between Oracle Eloqua and LinkedIn Campaign Manager to nurture leads using LinkedIn Matched Audiences.