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AiThority Interview Series With Eran Liron, EVP, Marketing & Corporate Development, NICE

Eran-Liron

At NICE, we analyze billions of transactions in real-time for our customers and provide unique insights that help companies use data effectively for their daily operations.

Know My Company

Tell us about your journey with NICE.

I’ve been with NICE since 2006, overseeing global marketing, strategy, and business development activities across the company. Since 2006, I’ve been involved in dozens of acquisitions, partnerships and other non-organic activities, which has led to a significant expansion of NICE’s portfolio and business.

How did you zero onto Mattersight for acquisition? What was the roadmap to include them into your current technology platform?

Embedding analytics, AI and robotics into everything. They have been the strategic pillars at NICE for quite some time now. Our software helps power mission-critical tasks for our customers, which is why we prioritize AI and automation.

Mattersight is an area that was previously overlooked by service organizations –  the personality match between the customer and the person who serves them. So far, companies tend to focus on one dimension – simply matching a customer with an employee who has the knowledge to answer their questions. Mattersight uses machine learning to go one step further and determine the right personality match, which makes for a much better experience for the customer.

Mattersight was the perfect fit as part of our strategic plan at NICE. The integration of NICE analytics, powered by Nexidia and Predictive Behavioral Routing technology, together with our domain expertise allows organizations to enjoy the market’s most advanced analytics in the cloud. We can now drive personalization and smart connections in real-time to allow our customers to stay ahead of the curve and meet evolving customer preferences. This postures NICE at the forefront of the analytics market.

Tell us more about your other acquisitions and how they have amalgamated into your culture and business.

In 2016, we acquired two companies, one of which was Nexidia,  a company that enhances our ability to provide “analytics with no limits.” This means that companies can quickly understand what actions need to be taken to better serve their customers by analyzing huge volumes of customer data and leveraging AI-powered speech recognition technology.

Second, our acquisition of inContact, the largest acquisition in the company’s history, made us well positioned to enter the cloud space by delivering a cloud-native platform that allows organizations to rapidly and dynamically adapt their customer experience programs, providing personalized journeys across channels, and responding faster due to the agility of the platform’s cloud infrastructure.

Additionally, we recently announced the acquisition of Workflex, a market leader in workforce engagement. By combining Workflex with NICE’s Adaptive WFO solution, we are addressing some of the industry’s biggest challenges. Our combined offering will enable higher workforce engagement, lower attrition rates and allow enterprises to respond in real-time to changing customer needs.

How do you prepare for an AI-driven world in a tech-heavy marketing industry?

The strategy needs to take center stage in today’s marketing industry. Organizations need to create focused plans, set aggressive goals, and most importantly, execute quickly and with a high discipline, to keep up with technological advancements. By knowing what the ultimate end game is, and aligning other operations with this strategic direction, a company can reap the benefits of AI-based marketing tools and focus on targeting relevant customers.

How do Automation and Big Data come together at NICE?

At NICE, we believe that customer experience is the deciding factor when consumers make a choice to buy a new product or service or remain with an existing one. It’s what we call the ‘Experience Revolution’. So for us,  customer experience is about perfecting the interactions between people and organizations to drive engagement and retention.

NICE makes exceptional customer experience a reality by allowing organizations to truly understand their customers and ensure that every interaction is infused with this insight. AI provides multiple opportunities to improve the customer experience – by automating responses, finding and matching the best person to answer the customer’s question and assisting that person in providing the best possible response.

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However, for AI to work, it needs to be trained, and such training requires large amounts of data. The more data, the better the AI performs. Therefore, Big Data is an enabler for successful AI and is also valuable in and by itself to help organizations glean insights.

What are the foundational tenets of your customer journey personalization technologies?

Our customer journey personalization technologies revolve around the main tenants of efficiency, flexibility and ease-of-use. Our solutions enable organizations to drive value from the data they collect. By providing an operationally efficient experience, customers can focus on defining, tracking and analyzing customer interactions to ultimately improve the customer experience and augment the bottom line. While reducing the cost to serve, and creating opportunities for customers to self-serve, companies can enhance the overall customer experience and achieve greater customer satisfaction.

Elaborate on your playbook for company-customer interaction. What challenges do traditional communication platforms pose to modern CX teams?

With an influx of different data points from a variety of customer interactions, customer journeys are often omnichannel and unstructured experiences. Without a technology to analyze this data, modern CX teams lack the capabilities to drive value from data. It’s essential to have an infrastructure in place to paint a complete picture of customer interactions to predict and act on insights. Another challenge of traditional communication platforms is monitoring shifts in customer behavior.

Machine Learning (ML) capabilities can help optimize each step of the customer journey and enable customer engagements across multiple channels and accommodate shifting behaviors in real-time.

Where do you see Cloud Analytics market in the next five years? What role do you see playing in making cloud analytics a ready-made platform for all businesses?

It’s important that companies understand every interaction a customer has with their organization, through every channel –  whether it’s SMS, face to face, social media, chat, call centers etc. The amount of data coming in is going to increase, so it’s important that cloud analytics evolves into a ready-made platform incorporating state of the art technologies like analytics and AI that are embedded into our customers most mission-critical processes.

At NICE, we analyze billions of transactions in real-time for our customers and provide unique insights that help companies use data effectively for their daily operations. Moving forward, the role of cloud analytics will only become more important in driving the best match to a customer needs – whether it is self-service or human interaction.

Analytics will help organizations better understand the customer – their needs, preferences, and personality. Analytics will also help inform the best response and process that addresses both the customer needs and the organization’s priorities. AI will carry out the ‘last mile’ by automating and implementing those insights.

The Crystal Gaze

What AI start-ups and labs are you keenly following?

Our CXexchange marketplace, DEVone, features ready-to-use applications designed to integrate with our cloud customer experience platform, NICE inContact CXone™. DEVone includes some very talented partners, including start-ups and labs, which we follow and collaborate with.

What technologies within AI and computing are you interested in?

Some technologies that are of interest include voice analytics, natural language understanding and generation, chatbots, cognitive automation, anomaly detection, and AI-based profiling.

As an AI leader, what industries you think would be fastest to adopting AI/ML with smooth efficiency? What are the new emerging markets for AI technology markets?

AI will impact just about every industry, from automotive and banking to healthcare and medicine.

What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?

One efficiency shortcut we use when strategizing is thinking backward to focus on the goal first and then go through the steps to see if it’s a viable option.

Thank you, Eran! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.

Eran is Executive Vice President of Marketing & Corporate Development at NICE. Eran has been with NICE since 2006 and is responsible for global marketing, strategy and business development activities.

NICENICE (Nasdaq: NICE) is the worldwide leading provider of both cloud and on-premises enterprise software solutions that empower organizations to make smarter decisions based on advanced analytics of structured and unstructured data. NICE helps organizations of all sizes deliver better customer service, ensure compliance, combat fraud and safeguard citizens. Over 25,000 organizations in more than 150 countries, including over 85 of the Fortune 100 companies, are using NICE solutions. www.nice.com.

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