Businesses: Imagine if your call center knew all the details of a customer’s problem the moment they called. Consumers: imagine if a company could fix your problem before you knew you had one. That’s the promise of Amdocs,

a semantic CRM solution. Scraping myriad datasets for anomalies, Amdocs could make customer service a lot more proactive.

“We’re changing business from a reactive state to an active one, to a personalized approach,” said Bill Guinn, Amdocs CTO, at Semtech 2010 in San Francisco. “Building an ontology that knows and works for the customer.”

The key to Amdocs is its semantic real-time intelligent decision automation, while also ensuring that a business sensibility is built into the code.

“We’re creating concepts in our ontology that focus on business concepts like profitability, like customer retention," Guinn said. "We created a business level above the customer data in order to solve customers’ problems before they knew they were happening, and to proactively reach out and do something for them."

Some of the examples that Guinn used were a guy vacationing in New Zealand whose carrier notifies him that posting pictures to Facebook is incurring massive roaming fees, and a woman calling customer service and being greeted with, “Hello, Annabel. Are you calling about the third-party charges to your card?”

“We believe that this kind of technology can be applied to any sort of customer-oriented business," Guinn said. "Calling a customer center is very expensive for the customer. If I can predict why you’re calling and maybe stop the problem that's prompting the call, I can immediately service you.”

While semantic technologies are potentially very powerful, few are actionable at the moment. It’s a complex field that’s going to take a while for businesses to understand.

“It takes a PhD to build and understand this kind of architecture, but we need business analysts to do this kind of stuff,” Guinn said. “We need to insulate the architecture inside something business users can understand.”

By Mark Alvarez