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Sage reaches AI milestone: 1 million user queries solved with AI powered smart assistant

Humans and machines working in partnership to enhance customer experiences, whilst smart assistant automates administration

Richmond, B.C. (December 13, 2018)Sage (FTSE:SGE), the market leader in cloud business management solutions, today announced that its AI platform, Pegg, has solved 1 million customer and employee queries since launch. This milestone marks significant productivity savings across Sage’s customer services, travel and expenses, and recruitment departments.

First launched in 2016 as a conversational interface to assist small businesses with accounting related administration, Pegg quickly graduated to a development platform that enables Sage to solve many of its own productivity challenges.

Today, Sage is embedding AI and Machine Learning into internal processes across the business to help solve the productivity puzzle. From reducing customer service wait times during busy periods to integrating AI into back office administrative functions such as travel, expenses and recruitment.

To date Pegg has supported Sage to efficiently answer 1 million customer and employee queries, freeing up staff to focus on enhancing customer experience while Pegg automates administration.

"Our vision is to bring humans and machines together in partnership to help us achieve our goals," said Sanjay Almeida, Chief Product Delivery Officer, Sage. "We have reached this important milestone using the platform services available as part of Sage Business Cloud to reduce the administrative burden for employees. We are pleased to see that our employees and customers alike have embraced automation – decreasing call wait times benefits everyone, allowing customers to get on with the important task of running their business."

Pegg for Customer Services – Streamlining customer support

Operating successfully for over eighteen months, Pegg for Customer Services helps customers in the US, UK, France, Spain, Canada and Australia get answers to product related queries with an ‘in-product’ smart assistant. Rather than calling the help desk, customers can simply click a button within the product to launch Pegg and begin to ask and find answers to product related queries.

 

First piloted in the UK during the 2017 Payroll Year End period, this service was designed to cut call volume, thus reducing wait times for customers and helping Sage colleagues manage call spikes during busy periods.

  • 22% overall reduction in total incoming call volume during this busy time1
  • Reduced spike in call volume over peak period from 40% in 2017 to 18% in 20182

The productivity gains in the UK drove further roll out of Pegg for Customer Services to other Sage regions including US, France and Spain. Although the service has greatest impact at times of high volume, the business as usual performance of Pegg in FY18 has been significant:

  • 12% reduction of call volume directly attributable to Pegg
  • Totaling the equivalent of 11 full time agents

Pegg for travel and expenses – Increasing employee productivity

Designed to help Sage colleagues ask and find answers to common questions, Pegg for Travel and Expenses speeds up the process of submitting expenses. Since launch in August 2018, Pegg has answered over 1,500 colleague questions such as ‘when will my expenses be paid’ and ‘where is the Sage recommended hotel in London Bridge’.

The automation of this task saves the T&E team 35 hours per week, freeing up colleagues to focus on more complex tasks, while Pegg takes care of the admin.

Pegg for Recruitment – Improving ‘time to hire’

The latest Sage function to benefit from AI assistance is the in-house talent team. Pegg was introduced to the recruitment process in October 2018 to support the Sage Talent Acquisition team globally, answering questions posed by potential candidates.

Pegg for Recruitment helps improve the ‘time to hire’ with Sage colleagues spending less time dealing with routine queries, allowing them to focus on hiring. It's estimated the Sage Talent team spends 66 hours a week addressing candidate questions. Over the course of a year, that totals 3,432 hours. It is predicted that Pegg will reduce time spent on potential candidate queries by 40% in its first year, and by 70% by its fourth year.

Pegg for a more ethical AI economy and workplace

With ethical AI implementation gaining new urgency, in July 2017 Sage released The Ethics of Code – sharing with the global tech community key learnings from developing the Pegg platform around ethical development and implementation of AI-powered technologies. Building on this work, in August 2018 Sage shared Building a competitive and Ethical AI economy – a new whitepaper which outlines key steps for businesses to put ethical AI principles into practice to benefit industry, government and society.

About Sage

Sage (FTSE: SGE) is the global market leader for technology that helps businesses of all sizes manage everything from money to people – whether they’re a start-up, scale-up or enterprise. We do this through Sage Business Cloud - the one and only business management solution that customers will ever need, comprising Accounting, Financials, Enterprise Management, People & Payroll and Payments & Banking.

Our mission is to free business builders from the burden of admin, so they can spend more time doing what they love – and we do that every day for three million customers across 23 countries, through our 13,000 colleagues and a network of accountants and partners. We are committed to doing business the right way and giving back to our communities through the Sage Foundation.

Find out more at https://www.sage.com/en-ca/.

Media contact:

Betty Tian
Sage
Office: 604-207-3611
Mobile: 604-376-7398
[email protected]

1. Estimate based on pilot

2. Estimate based on pilot