An interview by Lauren Keyson
The Virtual Agent: A Mouse Problem & Other Support Queries
Today we interview Wai Wong, the CEO of Serviceaide, whose company is reinventing enterprise service management through the implementation of artificial intelligence and a virtual agent solution called “Luma”. He works 80-hour weeks changing the face of enterprise service management, driven by AI applications. And somehow, he still manages to play table tennis 20 hours per week on top of that. Probably one of the reasons he has survived the tenure of being a serial entrepreneur.
Wong is a former senior-level technology executive for leading IT companies like CA and BEA. His career has taken him full circle from a graduate student at Columbia University working on artificial intelligence in the early ‘80s to executive leadership roles in building CA’s Unicenter business, now part of Broadcom, and the BEA product line, now part of Oracle.
In 2013 he co-founded WGSigma with Bill Guinn, Serviceaide’s chief technology officer. At WGSigma, they developed a new AI platform and tool kit for developing AI and Big Data projects. Then in 2016, they founded Serviceaide, leveraging the AI technology they developed to reinvent IT and enterprise service management. Luma, their breakthrough virtual agent that leverages the power of AI, natural language processing, and machine learning, dramatically automates service and support interactions with end-users and customers. It also automates the execution of oft-requested services like locating a mouse! — more about that later…
Luma does this with key control dials that use AI assistance in five ways: Always available interface; Decision support in offering choices for routine administrative or informational tasks; Dynamic channeling/pooling of inbound requests; Structured learnings into knowledge; and Recording and Auditability of service transactions.
Lauren Keyson: How does Luma make service frictionless for employees?
Wai Wong: Anyone looking for help does not want to fill out forms. They want to have support in their personal workstream. They do not want to match schedules, change their calendar and build in time to think about how to fill the right web forms with what all that the forms ask.
LK: How does Luma make a difference in the way employees get help?
WW: Luma is on-demand, interactive, and fully scalable to how many employees who want help at the same time. It works with the employees whenever they are available; it doesn’t matter if one or 100 employees are interacting at the same time. Luma talks to the employee on the channel of choice and is more of a dynamic Q&A interactive conversation. This can include checking on the user’s responses. And it does this without bringing up the browser on a screen that can fit a form, and then filling in this form with text that might or might not be that piece of the form.
LK: Let’s talk about dealing with problems by revisiting your quirky “mouse not working” story, which basically was that someone used Luma to find out why their mouse wasn’t working, and it turned out that their mouse wasn’t on their table?!
WW: That was an example from many years ago — of how technology affected users as they tried to adapt. Luma can help make technology adoption by users be a more natural process, because imagine trying to present this “mouse” problem by filling in a form and having the support analyst understand what was really happening. Luma could have deflected this issue 100% by walking the user interactively through the problem.
LK: Why is Serviceaide a prime example of the new wave of AI-driven applications and services?
WW: AI encapsulates many technology advances in many use domains. Serviceaide is advancing the track specifically in business service and support use cases. Combining AI with this traditional set of use cases contributes to an evolutionary step forward.
LK: What advice does do you have for an entrepreneur that wants to overlay a product with AI?
WW: In B2B, find a set of focused use cases that are common where the various uses of AI technology can drive profit, revenue or eliminate major costs for the customer.
LK: Don’t forget to add: Find something outside of work that you absolutely love to do – just like your ping pong passion — which seems to keep your mental and physical energies flowing…