Chatham-based iEnterprises founded by John Carini, who is the company CEO as well as one of the organizers of the Morris Tech Meetup, has added a voice chat-box AI component to its iEnterprise CRM product (iCRM).
This customer relationship management (CRM) feature, aimed at Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies, uses voice interaction through Amazon’s Alexa platform.
Sales reps constantly go from meeting to meeting, said Carini, and having to interact with a CRM system to make notes or set up follow-ups is a pain for users.
With the voice-activated system, sales reps can leave a client’s site and just talk to Alexa, without having to open a laptop or Web browser. They can ask Alexa to open iCRM, and say, “I’d like to log meeting notes.” The dictated notes can then be securely stored on the CRM.
Or users can open the Alexa app on their phones and ask, “What can I do with iCRM?” The system will prompt them with a list of questions, such as “Would you like to log meeting notes?” If you answer “yes,” the Alexa iCRM app will ask, “Is it for the meeting you just finished” because it knows your schedule, Carini said.
The iEnterprises team has a strong background in CRM and mobile, Carini noted. It has a mobile platform that is white-labeled by Oracle and used by some of the larger companies in the pharma industry.
“Voice is attractive,” Carini said, “because it is really becoming the new mobile. It’s a better way to do mobility. Combining voice with other AI features makes life easier for our users.”
The company chose to leverage the Alexa platform for this project because it is the most open and ubiquitous platform out there, Carini said. “Both Google and Siri are on our road map, but they are only open to certain third-party applications at the moment, and Alexa is much more open,” he continued. “It also is very good at understanding what you said. For example, if you ask it to give you the latest top leads, it will just read them to you” with no interim steps. The company is also thinking about creating a feature that would work with Salesforce.com CRM systems.
Carini believes that the new voice interactive feature is a breakthrough for CRM, and especially for those systems aimed at small and medium-sized companies. “Our product is only about $30/month per user for unlimited usage. It’s free for two users and is specifically designed for SaaS companies,” he added. “We are leveraging artificial intelligence technology in actual situations for small to medium-sized businesses, and that’s very rare from what I’ve seen so far.” Details on both the free and paid versions can be found at http://ienterprises.com/products/amazon-alexa-voice-crm/.
There are very few B2B skills featured in the Alexa Skills marketplace; and, in general, there are very few voice-controlled business applications, he noted. AI has obviously been leveraged by large companies doing big data and data analytics, he said, but iCRM "brings this same capability to smaller businesses, allowing them to leverage AI without it costing them an arm and a leg.”
Carini concluded, “We are trying to become a bigger player in CRM by doing things that help our customers become more productive and creating CRM solutions that are more valuable to them. This is definitely a unique feature. No one is doing this in the CRM space. The idea is to bring AI into the mainstream and help companies serve their customers better.”
Apple iOS, Amazon mobile and Android apps make it possible to voice-control iCRM from almost anywhere. Also, iCRM is designed to operate with free third-party devices, and will soon be able to use Amazon Alexa in the newest Ford, BMW, Volkswagen and Hyundai automobiles in the U.S., providing CRM capabilities for road warriors, he noted.