UK IT Industry Awards 2021 Finalist, Content Guru, talks to ITNOW about how their innovation in cloud technology supported the NHS during the pandemic.

Highly Commended ‘Cloud Innovation Provider of the Year’ Finalist, Content Guru, supplies mission-critical cloud contact centre technology, which is used by hundreds of large organisations across the globe.

The company’s cloud platform, storm®, processes all forms of spoken, written and visual communications under a single software architecture and combines these with information from multiple customer data sources.

Increasingly, AI is an important element, especially in handling Natural Language Processing. Content Guru’s services are known for their large scale and high reliability.

Customers relying on storm for mission-critical services include Sodexo, NHS England, Serco and G4S.

Tell us about your product and how it helped your customers throughout COVID-19

When COVID-19 hit and government-mandated lockdowns were introduced worldwide, we needed to support our customers with the immediate move to a homeworking model.

Fortunately, as a cloud solution boasting virtually limitless scalability, storm has all the capabilities needed to enable homeworking and to cope with significant increases in traffic. Using a browser-based portal, agents can log into storm from any internet-enabled device, from anywhere in the world and have all the tools they need to provide a best-in-class customer experience.

HUC runs the NHS 111 telephone services for over 3.3 million people in the East of England. To address their need to manage urgent cases without clinicians having to see patients in person, our engineers developed the storm LINKTM Video Consultation Service, which can be launched instantly on a patient’s mobile device by any clinician mid-consultation.

What has the impact been on your customers; what results have they seen?

By empowering flexibility with remote working, we helped UK Power Networks - the UK’s largest electricity distribution network operator (DNO) - drive staff sickness levels mid-pandemic to the lowest on record at 2.75%, compared with an industry average of 5-5.5%. Thanks to storm, UK Power Networks’ customer satisfaction scores have risen from 92% in 2019 to 93% this year.

How has your product delivered value within the business?

2021 has been our most successful year to date, with revenue growth of some 30%, so financially, our investment into innovation has paid off. We also practise what we preach and our own colleagues use storm every day, for example, to set their status as available or on a break, make video calls, IM chat or join conferences. Our colleagues use storm to connect with one another as fluidly as possible.

How has your product benefited the wider society?

Being located at the epicentre of Britain’s initial coronavirus outbreak, NHS 111 London’s storm-powered service received record volumes of calls when the pandemic began.

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The storm solution scaled automatically to cope with a several hundred percent increase in demand from patients concerned they may have symptoms of coronavirus; storm enabled NHS 111 London service providers to set up an automated message for people calling in and looking for a COVID-19 test, so that wait times could be reduced for other service users.

Callers had the option to receive a link via SMS to a Public Health England web page containing more detailed information about COVID-19.

To help handle spikes in calls, our engineers also set up unique numbers for NHS 111 providers, so patients with symptoms of COVID-19 did not have to go through the normal call flow. Instead, they were routed to a dedicated group of healthcare advisers.

What motivated you to enter for an award? What do you feel are the benefits?

Having been winners multiple times over the years at the UK IT Industry Awards, colloquially known to us as ‘Britain’s IT Oscars’, we were keen to be recognised for the work done throughout COVID-19. Being celebrated with such an esteemed award does wonders for a company’s reputation, as well as colleague motivation and satisfaction.

Did you attend the awards? If so, how did you find it?

We enjoyed a lavish night of delicious food and drink, good comedy and even had a go on some dodgems! Coming home with a Highly Commended accolade meant we had something tangible to bring home from a wonderful evening celebrating the hard work of our colleagues.

What are you working on for next year - will your product evolve, or are you moving onto something new?

Each year, we invest more and more into the R&D of our technology and the coming year is no different. We’ll continue to make innovative updates to storm, with a particular focus on augmenting human service agent capabilities and customer experience through automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and leveraging data insights.

About the spokesperson

Martin Taylor is the Co-Founder and Deputy CEO of Content Guru, a leading global cloud communications and customer experience technology provider.
Twitter: @CGChirp

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