Espressive Unveils New Barista Innovations to Lead Market in Conversational Chatbots
Barista Advanced NLP Optimized to Understand 750 Million Employee Language Phrases; Barista Case Management Extends Intelligent Automation to Enterprise Service Teams
Espressive, a pioneer in artificial intelligence (AI) for enterprise service management (ESM) and a 2019 Gartner Cool Vendor, announced new innovations to its flagship product, Espressive Barista, to further extend the accuracy of the advanced NLP engine, expand the power of conversational AI with over 750 million employee phrases, and eliminate the requirement for technical AI expertise to perform content updates. Barista, an AI-based virtual support agent, automates help desks by directly connecting employees to the information and services they need. In addition, the company announced Barista Case Management which cost-effectively extends service management efficiency to enterprise service teams. Together, these new product innovations empower enterprises to leverage intelligent automation to reduce service delivery costs while improving workforce productivity and satisfaction.
In a separate announcement today, Espressive announced $30 million in Series B funding led by global venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners with participation from Series A investors, General Catalyst, and Wing Venture Capital.
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“Successful adoption of intelligent automation tools like chatbots requires that employees be able to communicate in ways that come naturally to them,” said Conner Forrest, senior analyst at 451 Research. “That is why investments in NLP, like the one made by Espressive, are so important for intelligent automation because they offer employees a way to ask questions or make requests without first learning what syntax is acceptable to the bot or forcing their communication to fit into a limiting framework. This streamlines the adoption process and boosts the potential improvements to productivity the tools can bring.”
“The IT service management (ITSM) market is focused on building solutions to make IT more productive. That means when employees need help, they connect with someone in IT who leverages automation on an ITSM platform,” said Pat Calhoun, CEO and founder of Espressive. “Espressive Barista automates the service desk by connecting employees directly to the answers they need through AI. The new product advancements improve the self-help experience for both employees and help desk agents, resulting in a greater ROI to the enterprise.”
Advanced NLP Enables Barista to Understand the Language of Employees Across the Enterprise
The most important application of AI for a virtual support agent (VSA) is the ability to understand what an employee is requesting in the employee’s natural language on day one. Without this, an employee will abandon the VSA after two or three tries and never return again. Today, the Barista Employee Language Cloud enables Barista to understand over 750 million phrases, and this grows daily through a crowd-sourced architecture. Unlike other chatbot solutions, Barista’s NLP engine is built upon a unique architecture which maximizes Barista’s ability to understand employee language with a high degree of accuracy.
“Competitors leverage traditional machine learning classifiers for their NLP, but that requires too much data, time, and manpower to accurately interpret the broad language of employees,” said Fran Fernandez, Chief Product Officer of Espressive. “Espressive designed a unique NLP technology built upon an image recognition architecture, enabling Barista to understand the true meaning behind a phrase. As an example, if an employee says, ‘I have an issue with my laptop,’ Barista correctly routes that as an IT incident. And if the employee re-organizes those words to say, ‘issue me a new laptop,’ Barista knows that is an IT service request.”
Barista is also multi-lingual and now supports Spanish, Chinese, French, Japanese, German, Italian, and Czech, with a number of additional languages coming soon. Employees type in questions in their native language, Barista translates it to English to understand and process the request, and then Barista responds in the employee’s native language.
Unique FAQ Management Tool and Dynamic KB Import Enable Content Updates in Minutes
The new FAQ Management tool is an industry first technology that is intuitive and easy to use. Unlike competitive solutions that require knowledge base articles to be submitted to the vendor, Espressive customers can control their destiny by creating, updating, or retiring FAQs without vendor assistance. For customers with knowledge base articles, Barista can ingest and process thousands of articles in seconds, understand the content, and connect it to the Employee Language Cloud. As a result, content updates can be completed in minutes, saving organizations countless hours and significant cost from highly skilled developers, data scientists, and linguists. This is extremely important when responding to natural disasters and pandemics when policies and top employee issues are constantly changing.
Barista is the only solution on the market that democratizes content management to the subject matter experts across service departments (e.g., IT, HR, Finance) and service teams (e.g., Level 1 Support, Applications, Network). Barista’s FAQ Manager enables subject matter experts to control their own destiny by easily training Barista with answers to questions without needing any technical expertise.
Modern and Powerful Case Management Empowers Enterprise Service Teams
IT departments have sophisticated ITSM tools such as ServiceNow, Cherwell, and Ivanti that work for them but are too expensive and complex to deploy across the enterprise. Barista Case Management is a modern and powerful way for internal service providers such as HR, Payroll, Facilities, and Sales Operations to improve the experience and quality of support that they offer to employees.
Barista Case Management capabilities include:
- Intelligent routing: Barista leverages next generation AI to ensure that every case is routed to the correct service agent, in the right department, for any given issue with all appropriate fields fully prepopulated. Service agents are provided with an intuitive feed that automatically prioritizes employee requests. Every user interaction with Barista is displayed in the feed, so service agents are always fully informed about what actions the employee has taken. This enables the service agent to focus on the problem resolution, not data entry.
- Employee first focus: Unlike legacy ITSM systems, Barista Case Management has a focus on interacting with employees, not forms. Employees always know the status of their request and can get real-time updates on any device. If a faster response is needed, the employee can nudge a service agent and communicate directly with them through the chat functionality in Barista. Service agents stay engaged through an interface inspired by social media tools to quickly and easily maintain multiple conversations at the same time. The most important cases for the agent to focus on are always prioritized and Barista leverages AI to ensure SLAs are not missed.
- Mobile first: With Barista case management, service desk agents are no longer chained to their desktop and can manage their work from any mobile device.
- Integrated catalog: When an employee requests new equipment, a ticket is created, and an order is placed through the ITSM catalog. If an approval for the order is required, the appropriate individual is notified and, once approved, the order is placed.
Special Assistance for IT Help Desk Teams Overwhelmed by Work from Home Mandates
“We have spoken with many organizations who have told us that work from home mandates due to Coronavirus are causing their IT help desks to be flooded with calls,” said Pat Calhoun. “Many have reported a 150% increase or greater in IT ticket volume which has resulted in near two hour wait times. With so much unknown surrounding the pandemic, and with so much changing daily, it is critical for organizations to get their workforces to full productivity and keep them there.”
To address this situation, Espressive will be offering special assistance to enterprise organizations to enable them to quickly automate their help desks for 90 days, resulting in reduced ticket volume and employee wait times.