RealTime IT News

InQuira Doubles Deployments, Releases New Version

By Ron Miller

InQuira, developer of automated self-service applications for Web-based sales and service, announced this week the release of InQuira 6.5, the latest version of its software.

New features in the latest release include improved multi-lingual support, Siebel 7 Integration Adapter, a new "dictionary builder", and automated e-mail response functionality.

In addition, InQuira also announced that over the last 12 months they have more than doubled deployments of their software, adding a slew of new customers, including Honda Dealer Support Call Center at American Honda, Mentor Graphics, the County of Santa Clara, Sovereign Bank, SunTrust, Ask Moses and Honeywell.

InQuira software enables customers to get information via the Web, instant messaging or e-mail. Using semantics and an industry-specific dictionary, the software searches across a variety of enterprise information repositories to quickly find the best information based on a customer query. They also apply this same technology to the call center, so that customer service representatives can handle more calls and resolve more issues faster.

InQuira's CEO Mike Murphy explained that their software uses a kind of artificial intelligence to locate the perfect information.

"Basically, the product uses Natural Language recognition technology -- otherwise called Artificial Intelligence in the software -- that makes it more intuitive about understanding what the customer is trying to ask," Murphy said.

Murphy points to InQuira's dictionaries as the product's key differentiator. These dictionaries define the semantics and focus on specific industry verticals, such as automotive, manufacturing, retail, etc.

"We spent time building it out for complex industries and their layers. In the auto industry, for example, you have references to sedan or torque, with a lot of detail in each," Murphy said.

Ultimately, if customers can find information more quickly using the Web or Internet channels, InQuira customers benefit from far fewer calls, much lower customer service costs and faster ROI.

After the customer types an inquiry, InQuira's advanced search technology can search natively within a variety of enterprise applications, databases, knowledge repositories and Web sites to access content in its original format and display the information requested with (according to InQuira) 85 percent to 95 percent accuracy.

InQuira customer Mentor Graphics has been pleased with InQuira's ability to "pull sentence-level answers" from across the enterprise, and provide accurate responses based on what customers have purchased, said Tom Floodeen, vice president and general manager of worldwide customer support at Mentor Graphics.

According to Esteban Kolsky, research analyst at Gartner Group, software like InQuira can help companies find and retain customers in increasingly competitive markets.

"Web self-service solutions that leverage strong linguistic tools, such as natural-language processing, will help companies improve their customers' online experiences while empowering call center agents to respond more effectively to requests," Kolsky said.

InQuira claims using their software can result in dramatic savings of $4 million to $5 million a year from reduced call center volume. And when customers do call in, by reducing call times by as little as 15 seconds InQuira can result in annual savings of over $3.75 million.

InQuira is poised for continued success, according to Sue Feldman, IDC's vice president of technology. "InQuira leverages advanced technology that understands customer and employee needs for information," Feldman said. "With its latest product offering, InQuira is well-positioned to gain momentum in the self-service market."

Erin Joyce contributed to this report.