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Thought Leaders in Artificial Intelligence: Canice Lambe, CTO of TAS Group (Part 2)

Posted on Wednesday, Nov 4th 2015

Sramana Mitra: It sounds like you have some sort of a widget way of capturing the data and then you have a rules engine that is driving completeness and prompting to fill those gaps. Is there anything happening algorithmically that kicks in gear? To call something AI, basic rules engine is a good start. What I’m trying to understand is if there’s more to it here.

Canice Lambe: In terms of the spectrum of AI technology, we would have a basic rules engine approach. We have quite a complex data structure. A lot of the intelligence is actually built into the methodology framework itself. Knowing the key questions that need to be asked, and then knowing the fact that a particular question remains unanswered, what does that mean and what kind of risks would that introduce? We don’t for instance, use inference and chaining expert systems use today. That’s not actually necessary for what we’re doing.

Sramana Mitra: Essentially, the question that you are asking people are also built into the expert system rules engine. At different stages of the sales cycle, you are prompting the sales people to go ask those questions.

Canice Lambe: Correct.

Sramana Mitra: How many customers are using this technology today?

Canice Lambe: We have over 200. We’re particularly strong in high tech. We have customers in high tech such as HP, Lexmark, and Autodesk. We have new customers now in healthcare. I’m not sure if I can name them just yet. We’re quite strong in high tech whether it’s software or devices. The company has a bit of a heritage in that space. Just to give you a little bit of history, the underlying sales methodology aspects of TAS has been around for 25 years. We’re originally encapsulated in pure sales training. A sales organization would converge in Las Vegas for two to three days of classroom training. Then, they would return to their territories.

One of the challenges with that is 30 days later, most of the learning is gone. It’s hard to retain. A lot of the professionals would revert back to their own ad hoc practices. Our CEO had a vision about 10 years ago that these kinds of best practices should be embedded into the actual software itself that the sales professional uses every day. By doing that, it would reinforce that behaviour. It’s much easier to collaborate on information that’s in a system that you share access to versus something that’s just in someone’s head. Effectively, the company as you know it now is a software company that is embedding this rich methodology into software with the appropriate technology elements. We are pretty much exclusive on Salesforce.com. Anyone who is using our solution within Salesforce gets a seamless experience.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Thought Leaders in Artificial Intelligence: Canice Lambe, CTO of TAS Group
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