Conversation is a part of daily life. Humans use conversation to answer questions, solve problems, and interact with other human beings. In today’s enterprises, people use conversation to find out how to fix their laptops, how to find out about the new job opening, or to find out why a package hasn’t been delivered. Conversation is a key component for the IT help desk, human resources, sales department, and the customer service department and has been an increasingly costly part of the enterprise. For years, organizations have wished for “virtual” or “digital” assistants that could carry some of this conversational load. The good news is that recent breakthroughs and improvements in speech recognition, natural language processing/natural language understanding (NLU), and conversational artificial intelligence are making that wish come true for an ever increasing number of organizations.
Over the past three to five years, due to advances in deep and machine learning, conversational artificial intelligence (AI) applications can understand and respond to conversation in all its various forms, including telephony, voice, text messaging, web messaging, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. The conversational AI software platforms that IDC has evaluated as part of this IDC MarketScape have shown that organizations can develop and deploy sophisticated AI-based conversational agents that can interact with employees, customers, consumers, and the public at large to answer their questions, help them conduct transactions, and provide a wide range of self-service that wasn’t possible only a few years ago.
As part of this evaluation, IDC spoke with dozens of organizations using these conversational AI software platforms to develop and deploy applications that are providing great customer and employee service and generating significant return on investment. Among the technology buyers IDC spoke with, we noted a range of maturity in implementations of conversational AI, from point solutions to enterprisewide deployments. If your organization is not using or evaluating conversational AI applications, it should be.
The technologies behind these conversational AI software platforms are good and getting better by the day, but that shouldn’t stop organizations from evaluating and implementing these solutions as soon as they can. Conversational AI tools and technologies are rapidly evolving, and new vendors, products, technical innovations, and acquisitions are a frequent occurrence. General-purpose conversational AI platforms can be used for a broad set of use cases, and these platforms can vary greatly in terms of prepackaged offerings and templates, low-code/no-code tools for business analysts and line-of-business (LOB) subject matter experts, and customizability/developer tools. For example, some organizations will benefit from vendors that offer low-code/no-code tools and other features that can eliminate the need for one or more of the initial three steps in the conversational AI-build process (see Figure 2). Other organizations will need the ability to work directly with one or more of these areas to customize aspects such as language, conversation flows, and workflows.
Source: IDC, 2021
IDC offers the following advice to technology buyers considering conversational AI:
After a thorough evaluation of Avaamo’s strategies and capabilities, IDC has positioned the company in the Leaders category in this 2021 IDC MarketScape for worldwide conversational artificial intelligence software platforms for general-purpose use cases.
Avaamo is a provider of conversational AI technologies and services for developing conversational AI applications. It offers out-of-the-box support for a wide variety of channels, including phone, email, and collaboration applications such as Microsoft Teams and Slack. It offers a full set of APIs, low-code tools, and developer capabilities for building conversational AI applications. Its product, the Avaamo Conversational AI platform, includes a visual drag-and-drop interface for building integrated workflows, and its Avaamo Conversational IVR can work with existing contact center technologies. Avaamo is headquartered in Los Altos, California, with three additional offices worldwide and is privately owned.
Consider Avaamo if you are looking for strong multilingual and omni-channel support, including replacing or upgrading your IVR.
The criteria used for the selection of IT suppliers that were evaluated are the following:
IDC MarketScape criteria selection, weightings, and vendor scores represent well-researched IDC judgment about the market and specific vendors. IDC analysts tailor the range of standard characteristics by which vendors are measured through structured discussions, surveys, and interviews with market leaders, participants, and end users. Market weightings are based on user interviews, buyer surveys, and the input of IDC experts in each market. IDC analysts base individual vendor scores, and ultimately vendor positions on the IDC MarketScape, on detailed surveys and interviews with the vendors, publicly available information, and end-user experiences in an effort to provide an accurate and consistent assessment of each vendor’s characteristics, behavior, and capability.