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February 08, 2012

Microsoft News - 24/7 Inc. and Microsoft Combine Forces for Intuitive Interface to 'Big' Customer Data

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

As consumers find more and more data at their disposal – a mix of news, research, communications, opinion, entertainment and social media – many are finding it increasingly difficult to interact with all that data. We are literally getting buried under the sheer weight of stuff that – while technically is available to us – is unmanageable, unwieldy and just hard to find.

As the amount of data increases, therefore, so too does our need for a convenient, intuitive and effective interface through which we can control the flow of data. To this end, customer experience management company 24/7 Inc. has joined forces with Microsoft (News - Alert) to combine natural user interfaces (NUIs) and data analytics at the cloud scale, to enable customer-facing companies to be able to easily manage and manipulate large amounts of data to the benefit of the customer experience, said the two companies in a press release.

Microsoft's prowess with natural user interfaces will complement 24/7 Inc.'s skill is harnessing “big data” for customer service. Together with advanced analytics, the two companies’ solutions can help businesses predict customer preferences, helping them deliver more proactive, efficient and intuitive consumer experiences. The combined solutions are expected to enable interactive self-service across mobile, Web and voice channels, “big data” analytics, and speech and conversational interfaces to create a next-generation cloud platform for customer service.

“The ability to exceed customer service expectations through Big Data analytics across all service channels offers unique value for businesses,” said PV Kannan, CEO of 24/7 Inc. “By bringing Microsoft’s interactive self-service technology together with 24/7 Inc.’s predictive consumer experience technology into one unified cloud platform, we will deliver solutions and services that truly enable businesses to differentiate through customer service.”

Going forward, the partnership will entail joint research and development between the two companies; the integration of 24/7 Inc. solutions into Windows Phone (News - Alert), Bing and Microsoft Dynamics CRM; a shared technology road map and a long-term IP licensing agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for speech-related technologies; and a merge of Microsoft's interactive self-service assets (clients, people and technologies) into 24/7 Inc.’s PX solutions. Microsoft will also take an equity stake in 24/7 Inc.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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