Bolt-on AI: Is this the AI shortcut we’ve been looking for? by@ritacwaite

Bolt-on AI: Is this the AI shortcut we’ve been looking for?

March 9th 2018 2,567 reads
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Rita Waite

A look at 3rd-party AI tools and services, uncovering easy wins, and where to invest in an automated world


Artificial Intelligence has become a bit of a divisive topic. While some industries have oriented their entire business around the technology, others are struggling to develop a strategy.

The good news is that adopting AI doesn’t need to be this dramatic.

An entire ecosystem of applications and services have cropped up to bridge the gap between the business processes of today and the intelligent ones of tomorrow.

Adopting AI-enabled solutions can help companies streamline operations and eliminate repetitive tasks. From growing sales with intelligent customer engagement to reducing opex with automated IT operations, there are new tools available to support every department within a business.

Here are some tools you can integrate today, at whatever stage or opinion you have on AI.


Cross-Functional Solutions


Where there is data, there is an opportunity for intelligent systems (AI) — to do something. A number of companies have built cross-functional solutions to meet the data opportunity across the board.

The drawback is that these solutions do require collaboration (not plug and play) to develop models that are best suited for your use case, but the impact can be dramatic.

Apres: API for human automation.

CognitiveScale: Builds augmented intelligence software for healthcare, commerce and financial markets.

Captricity: Cloud software that transforms handwritten paper forms into digital data.

Machinify: Simplifies and accelerates your ability to use AI to unlock the value in your data.

Insight Engines: Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology for Splunk enables you to ask “plain English” queries of your machine data.

Narrative Science: Maximizing the impact of data through advanced natural language generation (Advanced NLG) for the enterprise.


Human Resources


HR is operationally intensive, rigidly structured and often slow to adopt new technologies. Recruiters alone spend over 60% of their time reading through resumes — time better spent with candidates. HR presents a clear opportunity for AI to improve the efficiency of the role:

  • Optimized Recruiting: Actively pursue all credible candidates in the market at any given time, all the time — matched against fit criteria tailored toward your business.
  • Personalized Career Development: The opportunity to deal with employees as people, rather than functions and creating tailored milestones and objectives.
  • Employee Sentiment Analysis: The ability to analyze messaging, both in the market and internally, and adjusting accordingly.
  • Tailored Benefits: Packages tailored to the implicit needs of your employees, such as fitness trackers and programs for health insurance.

FAMA: Uses machine learning to help organizations hire smarter by analyzing a person’s publicly available online presence.

Mya: Your team’s A.I. recruiter.

Gloat: AI-based anonymous career development platform allowing users to both know their worth and get concrete offers in real time (previously Workey).

UnderstandBetter: AI powered employee retention tool.

Rocketrip: Reduce corporate travel spend by rewarding employees for saving.

Peoplise: Cloud HR service that provides an integrated and video enabled digital platform for all recruitment needs.

Phenom People: Talent Relationship Marketing (TRM) cloud platform connecting people to their ideal job.

Koru: Predictive hiring platform that informs you who to hire before you meet them

Humanyze: Helps businesses better understand their employees.


Customer Service


Advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP) have created new opportunities for companies to engage with customers. From chatbots to voice assistants, AI can now simulate human interaction, triage the required service and route the solution accordingly. This has streamlined customer service centers to personalize customer service and enable more efficient interactions between vendors and consumers.

  • Differentiated customer experience: Service personalized to the tune of all available data on the client and intelligent virtual assistants as an interface layer.
  • Smarter operations: Streamline inquiry capture and resolution process, proactive support, and account/client management.
  • Intelligent insights: Data analysis on a continuous basis — uncovering new revenue streams and decrease churn.

Digital Genius: Brings practical applications of deep learning & artificial intelligence to customer service operations of large companies.

Eloquent Labs: Supplies artificial intelligence to augment and replace live chat customer support agents at eCommerce companies. Automates customer care conversations.

Interactions: Virtual assistant solutions.

AlphaBlues: Offers artificial intelligence powered customer service.

True AI: Automated customer support.

Hello Vera: Advanced AI customer service across multiple channels including chat, email, SMS, Facebook Messenger and Twitter.

HelpScout: AI for customer service.

Sparkcentral: Social media customer service.

Snips: AI voice platform for connected devices.


Sales & Marketing


SAAS has entrenched the value of sales and marketing data over the last decade, making historic records commonplace and an ideal for applying AI. Conversion-focused tools promise to make a significant impact on the top and bottom line:

  • Optimized account development: Automated outbound strategy targeting highest value leads, and delivering qualified prospects at the right time.
  • Improved salesforce productivity: AI systems to support the salesforce with relevant insights, market movement and continuous training/coaching.
  • Intelligent customer engagement: Personalized customer engagement, predictive marketing and messaging.
  • Automated marketing: AI generated content and distribution, predictive marketing to increase retention, real-time competitive intelligence.

Node: People-based intelligence through reorganizing the information on the web based on the people who use it.

Nudge: AI powered sales intelligence to build relationships with your buyers and grow your sales.

Conversica: AI software for marketing and sales enablement.

Chorus: Records, transcribes, and analyzes sales conversations in real-time, highlighting important moments and revealing why you win and lose deals.

FunnelBeam: Provides users with a platform to maximize sales leads with analytics programs and innovative organization tools.

Nitrio: Helps inside sales reps win more with an AI that learns from how your best reps communicate effectively with their customers.

Aiden: AI-powered analyst for marketers. Automatically capture all sales activity to drive intelligent sales management and marketing accountability.

Mintigo: Predictive Marketing Platform for enterprise enables insight-driven customer engagement to win and retain customers.

Crystal: shows you the best way to communicate with any prospect, customer, or coworker based on their unique personality.

Clara: Virtual assistant that schedules your meetings.

Retention Science: Marketing automation AI that delivers a personalized experience to each customer.

Persado: AI generated language that resonates the most with any audience, segment or individual.

Unmetric: AI powered marketing insights to create compelling content.

Converseon: Social strategy and analytics firm that provides Convey.AI semantic machine learning technology and Conversus App.




Legal departments commit the majority of their resources to operational overhead — document parsing, research and discovery. Various AI tools have been developed to support these time-consuming tasks, often more effectively than their human counterparts. Augmenting existing legal teams with AI can provide an enormous benefit/ boost to productivity.

  • Legal research: AI assistant that provides rapid analysis and summarization of legal briefs.
  • Contract diligence: AI able to identify relevant briefs and automatically generate next steps and other research tasks.
  • Discovery: Documentation review and prioritization, automated story builder, instant translation.

ROSS: Artificially intelligent attorney to help power through legal research.

Casetext: Casetext’s CARA, automates key legal research tasks to analyze litigation documents, and uses that information to algorithmically query the law.

Ravel: Platform for legal search, analytics and visualization.

Everlaw: Legal legal document review and discovery platform.

Judicata: Legal technology company providing research and analytics tools to turn unstructured case law into structured data.

LawGeex: Makes in-depth contract reviews accessible to everyone.


IT Operations


Increasingly complex IT operations are changing infrastructure attack surface area, continuously exposing organizations to new threat vectors. There is a real need for tools that offer the necessary intelligence and speed to keep up with the growing security threats companies face today.

Beyond being able to take over manual tasks prone to human error, AI will be enable real-time threat detection and most importantly, prevent threats before they cause damage.

  • Security: Anomaly detection and prevention, real-time monitoring, autonomous remediation.
  • Cognitive Insights: AI system that mimics how a user investigates, monitors, and troubleshoots events.
  • Streamlined Operations: RPA tools to replace manual tasks and provide a real-time view of process workflows, and self-learning topology analysis.
  • Improved Customer Experience: Enable NLP bots that talk to a system to identify and resolve performance issues, monitor digital performance of IT infrastructure.

Rocana: Root cause analysis software company acquired by Splunk.

SignalFx: Advanced monitoring platform for modern applications.

Moogsoft: Human-centered technology that helps people and machines work together to find clarity in chaos, and accelerate innovation.

LoomSystems: AI-powered log analysis solution that monitors all your IT stack in real-time to predict issues before they affect the business and help you solve them faster.

Maluuba: Teaching machines to think, reason and communicate, acquired by Microsoft.

Kitt.AI: Multi-turn, easy-to-use, and easy-to-author chatbot.

Mistnet: AI-driven security threat detection and prevention solution.

DarkTrace: Enterprise immune system technology for cyber security.

PatternEx: Combines humans and machines into an AI system that detects cyber threats at scale and in real time.



Building an AI muscle in-house is not the right strategy for every company (more here). That said, taking advantage of AI is necessary for all companies to keep up in any market. If the competition is running more efficiently, you are already a step behind.

AI will affect every industry, everywhere. Whether or not you see this change happening today, it is important to start planning for it. Being ahead of the curve here is worth it.

Disclosure: Juniper Networks is an investor in one of these companies.

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