Empolis Brings Context to eService with Information Logistics
I’m happy to say that the SSPA is gaining more reach and visibility in Europe, including plans for our first European conference in 2008 (stay tuned for more details!). When it comes to service and support technology, North America certainly doesn’t have a lock on innovation, and yesterday I had a great briefing with German-based Empolis, a provider of knowledgebase, intelligent search and problem diagnostic tools.
Empolis has a unique brand identity, “The Information Logistics Company,” and they see helping support organizations navigate the complex web of structured and unstructured enterprise content as a logistics problem: manufacturing, storing, tracking and consuming valuable corporate resources–your knowledge.
Here are some of the core components of the Empolis solution, along with my take on how they are differentiated from other solutions:
- NLS. Yes, I know there are several very strong NLS (natural language search) engines out there, but as you’ll see in the next bullet, Empolis puts a creative spin on how they use the NLS. The solution includes the normal bells and whistles you would expect in a slick NLS (real time retrieval of structured and unstructured content, searching in multiple languages), and also include packaged filters for searching common systems including Remedy, SAP, Lotus Notes, and MS Exchange.
- Decisioning engine. With a drag and drop interface for building decision trees, Empolis helps guide agents through problem diagnostics. But here’s the really cool part: leveraging the search engine to pull in customer data from across the enterprise, any question in the decision tree that can be answered with data from any enterprise system is automatically populated, cutting the number of questions the agent has to ask. For example, if the decisioning engine wants to know the product version and OS, and this data is listed in a CRM system, those questions are authomatically populated and skipped. For companies who have invested in creating a full 360 view of the customer, agent talk time can be dramatically reduced.
- CMS approach to knowledge. With the recognition that most companies already have libraries of knowledge and useful unstructured data, Empolis is not centered on their own knowledgebase. For companies that do want an authoring environment, content can be created within the ontology, though the tools for knowledge authoring are more like a Web based CMS (content management system) than traditional knowledge article creation, generating HTML documents. Anyone who writes a blog knows the productivity advantages of authoring this way, and Empolis still includes traditional routing rules to enforce a formal publishing process.
Empolis has an impressive customer list, including multiple divisions of Siemens, Bosch, O2 and Vodafone.
There’s one more very interesting thing going on with Empolis, which sounds a bit like our own Services Research and Innovation Initiative. Empolis is participating in the THESEUS consortium, a European project uniting government, industry and research groups to focus on developing user-oriented Web 2.0 technology applications and defining technical standards for a new internet-based search and knowledge-sharing infrastructure. The European Union Commission has approved 90 million Euros of public money from the Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology for the project (hear that National Science Foundation?). Other THESEUS participants include Siemens, SAP, Lycos Europe, the German Mechanical Engineering Federation and the Institute for Broadcasting Technology. For more information, here is a link to the full press release.
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