From more tech layoffs to a new Google CCaaS partner, here are some extracts from our most popular news stories over the last seven days.
A man from New Jersey has pleaded guilty to a role in the mass selling of bogus Avaya licenses.
Those licenses had an overall value of over $88MN, each allegedly produced and internationally shopped by Brad Pearce, a long-time systems administrator who worked for Avaya.
The news follows an announcement from the US Department of Justice, which identified Jason M. Hines as the operator of Direct Business Services International (DBSI) last week.
DBSI was an authorized Avaya partner, which allegedly purchased a surplus of Avaya Direct International (ADI) license keys from Pearce.
Describing Pearce in a press release, the Department of Justice noted:
[He is] a long-time customer service employee at Avaya [who] allegedly used his system administrator privileges to generate those keys without authorization, creating tens of thousands of them that he sold to Hines and other customers.
To do so, Pearce reportedly utilized his admin privileges to take control of accounts left by former employees of Avaya.
From there, Pearce would change details on the accounts to hide the generation of pirated licenses – in a scheme that went on “for many years”.
According to the Department of Justice, Hines purchased 55 percent of Pearce’s dodgy goods – meaning that they both made millions from the fraudulent arrangement.
Acting under the aliases Joe Brown, Chad Johnson, and Justin Albaum, Hines resold the licenses, which ranged from $100 to thousands of dollars in price. (Read on…).
Salesforce has laid off 50 more employees in Ireland, taking its total job cuts beyond the ten percent announced in January.
Bloomberg first broke the news, suggesting that the cuts will impact customer success and sales teams – trimming Salesforce’s employee base in Ireland by five percent.
A Salesforce spokesperson reaffirmed that the layoffs are separate from those announced in January, with staff notified on Wednesday.
However, like the January layoffs, Salesforce has attributed the cuts to its renewed profitability focus.
Indeed, the spokesperson told Bloomberg:
[The layoffs are] part of an ongoing effort to ensure we always have the right resources in place.
Salesforce has double-down on this motif since CEO Marc Benioff’s admission the company grew too fast during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indeed, during that time, Salesforce reportedly quadrupled its global staff – from 17,000 to 73,000 people worldwide.
ServiceNow Joins the Google-UJET CCaaS Party
In collaboration with UJET, Google has launched a native integration between its CCaaS platform and ServiceNow’s Customer Service Management (CSM) solutions suite.
That suite includes case management, agent workspace, and virtual agent technologies, already leveraged by the likes of Coca-Cola, the NBA, and Siemens.
In combination with the Google Contact Center AI platform, users can leverage these capabilities to add context to each conversation, predict intent, and improve routing intelligence.
As a result, Google and UJET hope to pave the way for streamlined agent experiences and unified customer journeys.
Sheila McGee-Smith, President & Principal Analyst at McGee-Smith Analytics, predicts the integration will do precisely that. She stated:
This native integration with ServiceNow not only delivers speed to value for their existing and future enterprise customers today, but it also offers the assurance of continued rapid innovation across Google Cloud’s infrastructure and Contact Center AI offerings.
Notably, the native integration also provides automated record updates, storing all customer data – including Personally Identifiable Information (PII) – in ServiceNow.
Such a feature reinforces Google’s goal to differentiate its CCaaS solution with security, reliability, and scale.
Moreover, an embedded agent adapter allows contact centers to develop new workflows, centralizing “all information” into a single tab.
As such, agents don’t have to switch between applications so frequently, with additional customization options enabling tailored employee experiences. (Read on…).
AWS has launched “Agents for Amazon Bedrock”, which helps developers create generative AI applications that provide answers and complete tasks.
While most generative AI applications leverage large language models (LLMs) to produce information of one form or another, Agents for Amazon Bedrock can perform actions.
A possible use case of this technology might be train an app to make a hotel or restaurant booking on a user’s behalf instead of simply suggesting options for you to reserve yourself.
Yet, while AWS uses “agent” in the name, Agents for Amazon Bedrock is not an end-customer-facing technology. It does not deliver self-service experiences for a customer service use case(s). Rather, Agents for Amazon Bedrock can enable generative AI apps to provide self-service experiences.
As such, Amazon Bedrock is not a technology that will be used by customer service agents to serve end-customers. Instead, developers can lift the solution to create various applications that improve customer experiences.
Using the reservations example, developers could create use Agents for Bedrock to support a machine customer application that schedules bookings for customers.
That application may support Gartner’s prediction that a fifth of all customer contacts will be handled by machine customers before 2026.
Alongside other solutions, like Google Duplex, such innovation may make this estimate a reality.
Yet, Swami Sivasubramanian, Vice President of Data and Machine Learning at AWS, pinpoints further use cases. He told The Verge:
I believe this will supercharge developers who wanted an easier way to build agents and at the same time customise the data the models read.
“Building agents took so much time even with how advanced generative AI is now, but we’re making it so developers can access exactly the models they need.” (Read on…).