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        Keith Dawson's Analyst Perspectives

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        Content Guru Builds Out Its Brain with AI

        The speed of innovation and transformation has picked up considerably in the 2020s, thanks to the confluence of artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing and the pandemic. Modern consumers have wildly different expectations than their predecessors when it comes to service delivery, whether that means a preference for digital channels and self-service or a willingness to do their own troubleshooting and research. As a result, buying an operating platform for a contact center is not a simple process. As contact centers take on more complex roles, they need more sophisticated software tools to operate efficiently. Indeed, Ventana Research asserts that by 2027, the voice channel in contact centers will be reserved for specialized customer interactions and high touch situations.  Consequently, centers will slowly shift focus away from the voice ACD when making purchasing decisions. 

        One by-product of this change is that it has opened a space for vendors to expand their footprint within enterprises. Contact center vendors, who once had to focus narrowly onVentana_Research_2024_Assertion_ContactCenter_Voice_Channels_Specialized_57_S transporting voice calls and managing agent efficiency, are now acting like broad-based enterprise software vendors, building applications that reach far more deeply into back- and middle-office business functions. In recent years, UK-based Content Guru has emerged as a major player in this renewed Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)  market. 

        Content Guru was founded as a cloud-native contact center provider in 2005, making it part of the first generation of companies competing with the traditional on-premises PBX/ACD. It has made considerable headway in serving large enterprises in financial services, utilities and public sector markets in the UK and Europe. It has expanded its footprint into Asia and the U.S., building a platform that can be extended to midsize businesses as well.  

        The heart of the company's product offering is the routing platform known as storm. Content Guru storm Contact, the version for large deployments, combines voice and digital contact channels for a streamlined operating environment. It centralizes agent information into one desktop application, storm DTA, that enables in-center and remote agents to access tools through a browser, including video tools.  

        Content Guru storm Contact is a robust, highly scalable inbound and outbound routing system that ranked highly in Ventana Research's 2023 Buyers Guides for Contact Centers and Contact Center Suites, and Contact Guru was designated as an Exemplary vendor in both. storm is built around a cloud-based ACD that Content Guru describes as "future proof" because it extends to all digital channels. It also features an element called Intelligent Routing in which contacts can be assigned to agents based on their channel, and agents can be allocated different channels based on their skill set.  

        But the marketplace is now demanding more from its routing vendors than just routing. Routing is the jumping off point for all the processes that drive better customer experiences — not just more efficient call handling, but better interactions based on richer knowledge about the customer, more process automation, and agents with a deeper grasp of how to solve problems and help customers. Content Guru's response has been to develop applications in several areas that provide the core storm system with tremendous extra value.  

        For example, the company has built its own customer data platform (CDP), called storm CKS. CKS gathers data from multiple internal systems of record (including CRM) into a single pane that agents can quickly navigate. It also functions as a knowledge management system that tracks articles and other content resources and uses AI to analyze them for context. CKS also has a journey mapping capability that aggregates a complete record of all past customer interactions. It works in tandem with the company's storm Flow, a drag-and-drop interface for designing complex omnichannel contact center services and interactive voice responses (IVRs) quickly, without getting tangled in code. 

        Content Guru recently enhanced its AI toolkit, called brain, to include new generative AI (GenAI) services and support for models from both OpenAI and Google. Recent development efforts have focused on several areas. First, there is an ongoing shift from voice-centricity to the widespread use of digital channels. To support its clients' efforts to diversify the channel landscape, Content Guru has developed a conversational AI tool called the storm Machine Agent, which automates simple and complex customer inquiries, analyzes text and speech using natural language processing, and routes interactions based on customer intent. Machine Agent also uses GenAI to transcribe and summarize interactions. Content Guru is leaning into AI use cases that are quick to show end user benefits — summarization for reducing after call work, automated identification of interactions for review, and self-service applications. It is making the argument for applying AI to solve specific business problems and introducing those features as part of the standard offering.  

        Additionally, the company has built out an innovative system for automatically responding to signals from remote digital devices (elements of the internet of things). This is an area in which Content Guru appears to be somewhat ahead of its competitors, no doubt due to its large footprint in the utility and healthcare industries.  

        And the company has continued to build out the features of its data tools, especially the customer data platform noted earlier. CDP (or some similar data management system) is an increasingly necessary tool that contact centers use as part of broader customer experience initiatives with other internal teams. Content Guru's CKS uses a low-code/no-code interface to enable fast ongoing adjustments by a wide spectrum of users. The company recently reworked the CDP's integration with its agent desktop application so that agents can retrieve relevant data more quickly. 

        Although Content Guru is less well known in the U.S. than some of its competitors, the fact is that the company has become one of the UK's biggest CCaaS providers, specializing in installations with a high degree of complexity and mission criticality. They are by no means a second-tier provider of contact center services, having worked with some of the world's largest companies and institutions. Over the last few years, the firm has expanded its technology portfolio and its geographic footprint across Europe and Asia. Large enterprises in North America, and certainly those with global reach or ambitions, should explore Content Guru's offerings, especially considering its excellent record in reliability, scalability, and its ability to operate in complex, multi-vendor environments.  

        Regards,

        Keith Dawson

        Authors:

        Keith Dawson
        Director of Research, Customer Experience

        Keith Dawson leads the software research and advisory in the Customer Experience (CX) expertise at Ventana Research, now part of ISG, covering applications that facilitate engagement to optimize customer-facing processes. His coverage areas include agent management, contact center, customer experience management, field service, intelligent self-service, voice of the customer and related software to support customer experiences.

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