ServiceNow integrates with Amazon Connect, eyes cloud call center market amid remote work's new normal

By combining ServiceNow's IT support platform with Amazon Connect's natural language processing and AI technologies, the companies aim to make call centers more nimble in work's new normal.

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ServiceNow and Amazon Web Services'  are teaming up on a cloud call center offering that is taking aim at Cisco, Genesys and Avaya and hoping to get to a ticketless experience.

The two companies are launching an artificial intelligence powered contact-center-as-a-service offering for IT support that combines ServiceNow's platform with Amazon Connect, which launched in 2017. With Amazon Connect Integration with Cloud Call Center, AWS and ServiceNow are looking to capitalize on the need for enterprises to be able to move call centers remotely if needed as well as quickly adapt to multiple support channels. 

According to the companies, the cloud call center will include Amazon Connect as well as AWS' natural language AI technology, LEX and Transcribe and Comprehend as well as ServiceNow's digital workflows. In addition, a cloud-based call center will be more easily moved than physical ones. 

ServiceNow's integration with Amazon Connect is free and easy to implement. Customers would then pay AWS separately. Matt Schvimmer, vice president and general manager for ServiceNow's ITSM business unit, says he started with Amazon Connect as a customer. "We switched over to Connect from a legacy system about a year ago," said Schvimmer. "You can configure Connect quickly across multiple channels and easily design workflows." 

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The game plan is to use AWS' AI and automation services with ServiceNow's service desk capabilities to automate support tasks and improve caller and agent experiences. By automating more of the IT help desk experience, ServiceNow and AWS are betting they can save costs for customers and make changes in minutes and days not months. 

IT support has been pushed to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic. As multiple industries have moved to remote work, calls to IT support about things like VPNs and connectivity have surged. These calls are expensive and the primary return on investment for the ServiceNow-AWS partnership revolves around "deflections." The general idea behind deflections is to solve issues using chat, virtual agents, natural language processing and channels before a phone call. Often the customer or employee experience is better in non-phone channels and enterprises save money (think $25 for a call vs. 25 cents to solve an issue via a virtual agent). 

Schvimmer said ServiceNow also found improvements in agility, satisfaction and a lower cost model in the cloud vs. licensing. Schvimmer said when ServiceNow and AWS were working on a joint offering, he thought the company would have to evangelize it more to customers. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed that scenario with remote work and the need to support employees in multiple channels. 

Indeed, CFOs increasingly see remote work as a permanent feature in the post-COVID-19 workplace, according to PwC. As a result, enterprises will need to revamp their remote work processes and shore up technology and support. "We've seen more customers switching to Amazon Connect," said Schvimmer. "And now we're seeing more public sector organizations switching. The dynamics have changed."

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For now, the ServiceNow and Amazon Connect integration is focused on IT service use cases, but will be modular and eventually target use cases for customer service as well as human resources and industry-specific uses for finance and health care. Schvimmer said the employee service delivery and experiences across multiple functions--IT, HR, facilities etc.--will need to be more consistent and save money via the cloud. "This is about saving money and reallocating funds to digital transformation as well as employee and user experiences," said Schvimmer,

ServiceNow Cloud Call Center features include:

  • Natural language experiences so virtual agents interact using conversational terms. 
  • Omnichannel support across browser, mobile chat, walk-up and voice. 
  • Call deflection for common IT support requests and integration with Amazon Connect security partners to authenticate users and escalate cases to human agents. 
  • Flexible IT processes and analytics to optimize service delivery. 
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