Oracle adds chatbots, smarter recommendation engine to its Clouds

The tech giant is today announcing new tools for creating chatbots, plus a recommendation engine that it says is the first to draw on third-party data.

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Oracle is livening up its Clouds today with chatbots and other kinds of intelligent apps.

First, it is bringing chatbot creation, management and hosting for the first time to its Customer Experience Cloud Suite.

The Suite is the uber-brand for the constituent Clouds of Marketing, Sales, Commerce, Configure/Price/Quote, Service and Social. (Plus Oracle is today announcing a new Content and Experience Cloud, which centralizes the tools for content production, management and delivery.)

The chatbot introduction means that marketers now have Oracle tools for specifying responses in an Oracle-connected chatbot conversation on Facebook Messenger or Amazon Alexa.

An on-board conversational engine will help determine the human’s intent and context, or it will automatically hand off to a live agent if the back-and-forth becomes too complex. Chatbots include specialized ones for customer self-service and assistance with such sales tasks as account search.

Second, Oracle is introducing something called Adaptive Intelligent Agents, within the Commerce, Marketing, Sales and Service Clouds.

In this release, Marketing Cloud VP Steve Krause told me, they are acting as “a next-generation offers or product recommendation engine.”

Traditionally, he noted, rec engines make their suggestions from first-party data the marketer has, the way Amazon’s recommendations are based on your purchase history.

Oracle’s secret sauce

But now, he said, these Agents can also utilize anonymized third-party data from Oracle’s own Data Cloud, which the company describes as “the largest audience data marketplace in the world,” with over 5 billion customer and business IDs. Additionally, the Data Cloud can include data about weather, from Internet of Things devices, and other sources.

If you go to the Lord & Taylor website for the first time, Krause noted, a normal rec engine couldn’t recommend any products or offers to you because you have no customer history with the brand.

But, using Oracle’s Adaptive Intelligence Agents, the site could make recommendations for first-time visitors. That’s because the agent could say to the Data Cloud: Do you know this user’s cookie or mobile device ID?

If it does, it might have info on your web browsing history, possibly about purchases, where you live, what the weather is there now and so on.

Previously, he noted, Oracle offered recommendations through an on-premise solution that only used the traditional first-party data to make recs. Now, as a cloud-based service, these Intelligent Agents automatically tie in with external data living in Oracle’s Data Cloud.

“To my knowledge,” Krause said, “no other rec engines on the market have a native connection to third-party data.” Oracle’s secret sauce, he added, is its Data Cloud.

And chatbots and the Intelligent Adaptive Agents can work together.

A customer’s chatbot conversation can become part of the data determining the product or offer recommendation. But the offer would be made via email, rather than through the chatbot.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Barry Levine
Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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