A Conversation with Chandan Banerjee of Ciena

Chandan Banerjee, Ciena

Ciena, a global $3.6B networking company, partners with Neuron7.ai to deliver “one right answer”
to technical support agents, saving time and improving customer experience.

Chandan Banerjee, Director, Global Services Digital Innovation, discusses how to start your AI journey, the value of end-to-end AI-as-a-Service, deploying an “AI heart” for your team and data, and more.

Q: What was the driver for seeking an AI solution?

A. Some of the biggest challenges we were facing that made us say, “we need to find a better way of doing this” was to allow our customers to self-service first and foremost. We have search engines, we have a knowledge base, yet we were creating close to 7,000 cases that should have been deflected using the knowledge management terminologies.

I think we’ve squeezed the envelope as much as possible with what we had, and the question was what do we do next? How can we innovate and start the journey to the new paradigm using AI algorithms.”

Q: What were your priorities and process for finding an AI partner?

A. The requirements for saying, “hey, we found the right AI partner and platform” was a process of really understanding that this is not off-the-shelf products, static algorithms, which that much I understood. So we had to make sure that we had some kind of measurable starting point between vendor A and vendor B.

Next came, how does it fit into our organization? When I say “it”, it’s just not the platform but the team that’s going to work with us. What we really found was the differentiator was the team at Neuron7…who said, “Let’s work with you to make this happen for you.” And that continues to this day.

What we did to find Neuron7, to start this whole ball rolling, was we talked to both Gartner and the TSIA and we narrowed it down to two vendors, Neuron7 and another, and we did a controlled trial. We give both the same data for learning and the same data for “here solve these problems.”

Through that scoring came the next phase, which is truly, “Okay, can you do this? How do you fit into our workflow? How do you fit with the way we do things?” And that’s where Neuron7 just hit the NOS, if you will, and accelerated away from the other vendor.

Q: What are the results you’ve experienced so far?

A. The most important results are to improve the customer experience so that they can engage with us. And when I say us, it includes that intelligent AI layer.

Yeah, there’s use case one, use case two, use case three, but I’d like to be able to, in working with Neuron7, have that AI layer that has learned about our products, about our customers, and then be able to apply that AI layer to various points of interaction with the customer on our portal.

Q: What are you excited about next in your AI journey?

A. What I’m excited about in the AI journey we’re about to take are all the possibilities…to be able to work with Neuron7, to have a heart, AI heart that can leverage all this data. Introducing to us some of the new products that are coming out with generative that gives us more imagination of other use cases that we can work with Neuron7 on.  

Q: What advice would you give to service leaders starting an AI journey?

A. First and foremost, for anyone getting started with AI is look at your data. What is it that you’re going to feed the AI algorithm to do X, the outcome? And make sure you have as clean as possible as data, enough data.

Then engaged with a AI partner that truly will provide AI as a Service along with the team that’ll provide the work necessary for it to fit around what you need as an outcome.

"The team at Neuron7 said, ‘let’s work with you to make this happen’. And that continues to this day. This is not just off-the-shelf products or static algorithms. It truly is a collaborative effort."

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