With the release of PeopleSoft Picaso, our clients are asking a lot of questions. It is not surprising because in the world of AI there is a lot of murkiness caused by sales and marketing messages. This post will bring some clarity so you can be well informed.

Many years ago our digital assistant, Ida, shifted to using Oracle’s ODA PaaS service for its natural language processing (NLP) due to its flexibility and power. ODA is often unheralded, but its NLP uses 40 years’ worth of enterprise data from “The” data company, Oracle. It is a unique advantage not held by competing products.

ODA is a stand-alone platform running in the cloud and has no requirement to be used with Oracle Applications. An entirely different team at Oracle runs the ODA division. As with all technology products, and just like Oracle’s database, Oracle’s applications can provide value by leveraging the company’s technology. HCM Cloud, ERP Cloud and now PeopleSoft products are delivering functionality, called “skills”, for ODA customers.

PeopleSoft’s skills are deployed through the brand “Picaso” and this post is all about Picaso, what it is, who should use it and the value it provides.

What is Picaso?

Picaso is the name given to the Chat UI widget (the actual window you chat in within PeopleSoft) which consumes multiple PeopleSoft delivered skills (from HCM and FSCM currently). Just like Workday’s or Salesforce’s chatbots, they are meant to extend the application’s functionality. PeopleSoft Picaso, however, is built on a far more powerful platform than the aforementioned products.

The purpose of Picaso is to provide a conversational user interface (UI) to PeopleSoft which is represented in accessing PeopleSoft data and even conducting a few self-service transactions like registering a PTO day.

What do I get?

Currently, Picaso comes with a web-based channel inside Fluid pages. Classic is not supported. When a PeopleSoft user logs in, they will see a chat icon they can engage with. PeopleSoft then delivers skills via the ODA Skill Store. The current skills as of the Fall of 2021 are:

  • Absence Skill (HCM)
  • Benefits Skill (HCM)
  • Payroll for North America Skill (HCM)
  • Requisition Inquiry Skill (FSCM)
  • Expense Inquiry Skill (FSCM)
  • Employee Directory Skill (HCM)

More information about these skills can be found in the Picaso documentation. These skills are built to access data from these modules and, in some cases, process transactions as pictured below. There are minimum PeopleTools version and PUM image requirements, so be sure to check those out.

PeopleSoft PICASO HCM Absence Skill

How much does it cost?

In the PeopleSoft world, you pay for the application (HCM) and you get the technology included (PeopleTools). Digital Assistants work in the opposite manner. Picaso and its skills are free for PeopleSoft customers, but you need to purchase the PaaS cloud service for ODA. Implementing Picaso may come with additional consulting fees should you need assistance.

How do I implement Picaso?

Implementing PICASO involves a few key steps:

  1. License ODA
  2. Setup your OCI tenancy, ODA instance and provision access
  3. Install the PeopleSoft Skills and setup a channel
  4. Setup connectivity to your PeopleSoft (must be accessible on the internet)
  5. Configure PeopleSoft to allow integration of ODA
  6. Create a Digital Assistant, add the Picaso skills, and setup the channel integration
  7. Train and test the bot
  8. Deploy

In our experience, step 4 tends to be the biggest stumbling block for customers and requires a Cloud Architect to fully understand. Additionally, to get the most out of Picaso, having AI people on hand is invaluable. If you don’t have these roles available, you can enlist an Oracle Partner to help such as IntraSee.

What is the difference between Ida and Picaso?

Customers are coming to us and asking: should I implement Ida or Picaso? This notion is really a false comparison. Each product has a purpose and goes after different value propositions. They are more compliments to each other than they are an either/or choice.

Let’s start with what is not different between Ida and Picaso. Both use the ODA NLP engine as a basis for the machine’s understanding of human language. They are seeded with very different training data, but the engine is the same. Both require licensing of the ODA PaaS service (Ida embeds this license within its pricing). 

Picaso was built with a focus on PeopleSoft. It is present in the Fluid Web UI and helps PeopleSoft users get to data, pages and transactions. It is a great step into digital assistants if your needs are focused on PeopleSoft. With Picaso you will need to handle the AI Ops such as log/analytics monitoring, migrations, uptime, learning, etc. You do have the option of using a partner to manage these services and IntraSee is one such option.

Ida is meant to be a one-stop shop for users including policies, content, data, workflow, transactions, integrations and analytics. PeopleSoft is merely a sliver of Ida’s value proposition. Ida has customers whose use is approaching 1,000 skills so the audience is broader with the scale to match. Ida is often found on many web pages outside PeopleSoft, including SharePoint or CMS systems, and channels like Microsoft Teams. Ida is also available when the user is both authenticated or not.

Ida’s integrations are a key part of the one-stop philosophy. Ida has a catalog of integrations including Salesforce, ServiceNow, HCM Cloud, PeopleSoft, Google, Microsoft Teams and Office 365, Canvas, Taleo, Kronos and others including the ability to configure custom integrations.

Finally, AI Ops is a critical part to your project’s success. AI Ops teams are often made up of Data Scientists, AI Architects and Computational Linguists. Despite what some marketing teams may tell you, AI isn’t magic and it needs human cultivation for it to achieve superior accuracy performance. With Ida, we automate many of these human tasks and include managed services to fill these roles, so you don’t have to (illustrated below). The budget saved on these salaries or consulting fees alone makes an Ida project an ROI winner.

An illustration of Ida’s Value Added features as of 21.03

Can Picaso and Ida work together?

Because both Picaso and Ida run on ODA, Ida can consume skills from Picaso and include them in a one-stop-shop chat. You can get the best of both options and they can leverage the same ODA license, so the cost is only incremental.

The most efficient path is to roll out Picaso and Ida skills at the same time. This path allows you to tune the machine learning model with the broader scope in mind from the get-go. The alternative requires regression analysis and re-tuning you could have avoided. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a gap between implementing Picaso and Ida, but it is not the most cost/time efficient path.

Which one is the right choice for me?

If your objective is to start with a focused use-case, get some experience and add functionality to a PeopleSoft Fluid deployment, Picaso can be a great fit for you. If your mission is to drive ROI through automation at an enterprise level, then check out Ida. For most clients, we implement in 6 weeks and are in production after 12 weeks.

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The next release of Ida, our digital assistant, will be available for customers beginning at the end of September, 2021. This post contains the highlights of this release which focused on automation and improving the ROI of digital assistants.

21.03 in Summary

21.03 includes many fixes and enhancements with a focus on the Feedback Loop process and the new Oracle Digital Assistant (ODA) NLP module. We are making the process of giving the machine feedback easier, more streamlined and efficient so it takes you less time each cycle. Ida’s Feedback Loop is a differentiating feature which drives its high accuracy marks.

Ida also adds improved automation to accuracy tracking and will now warn you when accuracy starts to slip or there is a growing concern. This will save you time from having to analyze reports and instead just grab your attention when your attention is needed.

Improved user experience features are also part of this release such as the new ability to rate, trap and provide custom outcomes when users are expressing frustration. An example of this is getting them over to a live agent when you sense they are growing frustrated.

The Ida library was also updated and we now have hundreds of pre-built skills for employees, managers, students, faculty, advisors and guests. You can read more detailed release notes below.


Release Notes

  • Bulk Import/Export Utility for FAQ+
  • Streamlined CV Configuration Page
  • Streamlined bot build process
  • Updated Ida catalog & training data
  • Autotest support for negative testing
  • Improved Feedback Loop labeling/help
  • Ability to record who initiated a chat via handoff
  • Improvements to Lightbox UX in Feedback Loop pages
  • Adjust bot export process to allow “empty” NLP Segments
  • Automated topic-level training data management
  • Improved QA autotest output
  • Last Accuracy KPI Dashboard Tile
  • Accuracy Leak KPI Dashboard Tile
  • Streamlined UI and choices for Feedback Ratings
  • Feedback Loop: New unrated option for ‘too vague to rate’
  • Trap frustration utterances and direct accordingly
  • Fixed show utterances in FBL in some use cases
  • Improved thumbs rating UI
  • Metrics Report: Sort location data by conversation count
  • Add DE branching logic support for auto-suggest inputs
  • Friendly not authorized message when guest-to-auth handoff fails
  • MS Teams Authentication updates
  • Improved translation performance for HTML responses
  • Improved filtering and defaults for Feedback Loop
  • Allow small talk decoupling in a digital assistant setting
  • Support for custom disambiguation response pre-text
  • Updated Feedback Loop Metrics Report to accommodate data model changes
  • Scheduled archiving of old Feedback Loop and Autotest data
  • jQuery conflict resolution for chat ui

Contact us below to learn more and setup your own personal demo:

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Every industrial revolution has been defined by increased efficiency and reduced costs. The new digital revolution we are embarking upon is no different. Things that took days to do can now be done in seconds, and things that used to cost hundreds of dollars can now be accomplished by spending less than one dollar.

Conversational AI is cool, but that’s not why it will change the world. It will change the world because it will be better and cheaper than many of the things we pay humans to do today.

In this blog we will focus on the impact of digital assistants in the world of human resources (HR). And how it will change how organizations can service requests and questions from employees and managers in a way that reduces organizational costs and improves the level of service. We will therefore break down the two areas that should result in large reductions in operating costs: the HR help desk and HR staffing levels.

What you will see is that even the most conservative approach to saving costs with a digital assistant will realize between a 10%-30% reduction in help desk and HR costs in one year. And that can be doubled in two years. Plus, you’ll be providing better service to your employees and managers too!  

As Larry Ellison pointed out last year at Oracle OpenWorld. It’s not the software that is the most expensive item, it’s the cost of all the people who have to deal with all the ramifications of running the software. 

1.   HR Help Desk Costs

It has been said that help desks are the cost of (a lack of) quality. Scattered, and often misleading, information and complex processes inevitably force employees to reach out to live agents to help them solve their problems, answer their questions, or complete a task. Help desks are, often, the cost organizations pay for failures elsewhere in their internal systems. 

So, let’s break down the staffing costs of a help desk in order to drive to an expected cost saving:

The average number of service agents per 1,000 seats ranges from 5.4 in the healthcare industry to 21.9 in the financial services industry. This is the metric that defines the staffing levels of an organizations help desk. 10 per 1000 would be a conservative average number across all industries, and so we will use that for the model in this exercise. 

This means that for an organization with around 20,000 employees, the number of agents is around 20. In North America the average salary for a service desk analyst is $41,000. Multiple that by 20 and you get $820,000 per year. But that in itself is not the complete picture. 

The ratio of agents to total service desk headcount is a measure of managerial efficiency. The average for this metric worldwide is about 78%. What this means is that 78% of service desk personnel are in direct, customer facing service roles. The remaining 22% are supervisors, team leads, trainers, schedulers, QA/QC personnel, etc. And those people are even more expensive. This takes the headcount up to 25.

The average salary for a service desk supervisor is $61,000 and the average for a service desk manager is $75,000. Which means that those extra 5 people push the staffing costs up by at least $305,000. Driving the total cost of salaries staffing the service desk for an organization of 20,000 up to $1,125,000. And then when you factor in utilities, technology and facility expenses this raises the number to over $1,325,000. 

And one final statistic to keep in mind. While the average overall employee turnover for all industries is 15%, inbound customer service centers have a turnover rate on average of 30-45%. It should come as no surprise that service center turnover is at least double what you’d see in other businesses.

Based on age, the differences are stark: workers age 20-24 stay in the job usually just 1.1 years, while workers 25-34 stay 2.7 years on average. 

And the key metric here is that it costs on average around $12,000 to replace agents that leave. Why? The costs of turnover include the following:

  • Recruiting
  • Hiring time (HR time, interview time)
  • Training, including materials and time
  • Low-productivity time when employees first start out
  • Supervisory time
  • Overtime (remaining staff may have to cover extra shifts)

So, going back to our original metric of 20 service desk agents, if 40% leave each year, that equals 8 annual replacements at a total turnover cost of 8*$12,000=$96,000. 

So, as a grand total, an organization of 20,000 employees has to pay an annual cost of around $1,421,000 year to staff their service desk. 

In terms of how cost per ticket is calculated (a key metric), this also depends on the number of tickets closed per agent per year. Again, this varies a lot by industry.

Help desk tickets per agent, per month by industry

Figure 1: Tickets closed per agent per month

The average number of tickets closed per month per agent is around 120 cross-industry. So, per year it is 1,440. Which means that with 20 agents the expected number of cases closed (not always successfully) is 28,800. 

This means that the average cost per service ticket is around the $49 mark ($1,421,000 / 28,800) if you take into account a broader range of costs than just service agent salaries.  So, while generally published average costs per ticket are estimated to be around $19-$20 per ticket, the true cost is much higher, but with massive variance based on industry. 

The good news is that the actual logistics around achieving ROI are therefore pretty straight forward. Instead of hiring 40% new staff every year due to attrition, just have the digital assistant pick up the slack and do not hire any new staff. This immediately saves your organization $96,000 in turnover/onboarding costs. Plus allows you to drop the salary costs by around $450,000 (40% of a $1,125,000 payroll). 

It also allows you to reduce other costs associated with your help desk. Utilities, technology costs, and facility space (you can downsize based on the reduced headcount). 

For a digital assistant, the average cost per ticket is less than $1. Which means that if you replaced 40% of your help desk calls with digital assistant calls, this would result in digital assistant costs of less than $11,000.  Factor in a reduction in headcount and other expenses, plus a hiring freeze, and you would see an overall reduction in costs from $1,421,000 to $806,000 in just one year (see diagram below). And even greater savings after two years.  

Help desk cost infographic

Figure 2: HR Help Desk ROI using a Digital Assistant

Also, and just as importantly, the quality and accuracy of the digital assistant will continue to increase each subsequent year and will not plateau (as it does with humans). This is due to two factors:

  • Digital assistants don’t leave your organization. There is zero turnover. 
  • Digital assistants benefit from machine learning. The more they see and the better training they are given, the more accurate they get. As an investment, they are a win-win all round. You teach them something once, and they remember forever. And they’ll never leave you or call in sick. And they’ll work 24/7, 365 days of the year. And can even speak multiple languages. 

But this is not where the story of ROI ends, it’s really where it begins. Help desks are really designed to handle the easy, first level stuff. Once you get to the next level (where the agent can’t handle the ticket because it’s too complex for them), the costs are in the hundreds of dollars per ticket as you are now dealing with a more expensive level of staffing and more minutes required to solve the problem or meet the request. This is where HR staffing levels come into play. 

2.   HR Staffing Costs

In the world of HR, HR experts handle many of the day to day HR activities and employee/manager requests in an organization. In the same way that there are agent staffing levels per industry, there are also HR staff to employee ratios too. And this ratio does vary per industry. Typically, the more complex the organization the higher the staffing level. But size matters too. There are economies of scale that kick in once an organization gets really big. But being global, having a mix of full time and part time employees, union and non-union, blue collar and white collar, will dictate higher ratios than a company where most people fit a similar profile. 

But this does not mean that the ratio is stuck and cannot be changed. There is one key aspect of the staffing ratio that is in complete control of HR, and, therefore, has a huge capacity for change. And by change we mean reduced! 

The role of HR is a key variable factor that influences the HR staff to employee ratio. A highly operational HR department will do different work and require a larger HR workforce compared to a highly strategic HR department. So, what specifically does this mean? How can HR move from being mostly operational to being mostly strategic (a much more fun and productive role btw). 

The answer is to move traditional HR admin tasks from humans to a digital assistant.  HR admin work is probably the least popular thing that any highly educated and highly paid HR expert has to do, so removing this onerous work from their plate is a good thing! 

Running reports, answering requests for data, following up with managers to ensure key tasks were performed, entering data into the HCM system. These are all repetitive operational tasks that can be automated and handled by a digital worker. 

All this stuff is boring and repetitive to humans, and it takes a lot of time. But to a digital assistant it is fun and can be done extremely quickly. And the “right” digital assistant, with the proper skillset and training, can do almost all the HR administrative tasks that an HR expert can do. Often better, as they don’t forget obscure details and business rules, they don’t make mistakes, and they bring their “A” game every single second of the day. And, as stated before, they don’t leave your organization, turnover is zero, so wisdom is accumulated and not lost via natural attrition. 

So let’s get into the math of the ROI. Bloomberg Law’s 2018 HR Benchmarks Report states that HR departments have a median of 1.5 employees per 100 people in the workforce. At the time, this represented an all-time high as it had long been around 1.0 per 100. Both the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Bloomberg numbers were very similar, so this number is considered very accurate.

SHRM also noted a clear reduction in the ratio based on organization size (an economy of scale). However, as the size of the company rises, so does the average compensation to HR staff (which explains why published averages are very misleading). Working in HR for a large company can be twice as financially rewarding as for a very small company. The reason being complexity (on many levels). If you want HR people who understand complex organizations then you have to pay a premium. 

HR to Employee Ratio Graph

Figure 3: HR staff to employee ratio’s cross-industry

Using our example of an average organization with 20,000 employees and ratio of 0.4 HR staff for every 100 employees, the HR staffing level would be around 80. At this size of an organization the average level of HR compensation would be around $100,000. Making the total spend equal to $8,000,000 per year. Note: that’s a lot more than the $1,125,000 spent on the service desk salaries. 

In the world of HR staffing, turnover is more inline with other industries, around 15% per year. Though the cost of hiring HR staff is much higher than the $12,000 for service agents. For HR Staff it costs roughly $30,000 to replace the turnover (recruiting, interviewing, training, etc.).  So, in our example, 12 new staff are required every year at a turnover cost of $360,000. Making the total annual cost equal to $8,360,000.

The big question then is how much of this work can be taken over by a digital assistant? The answer isn’t quite as clear as with the service desk. It all depends on the skillset of the digital assistant, and HR taking a proactive approach to how it replaces natural attrition of HR staff. 

But the expectation, and based on the results of early projects, is that for the best digital assistants it is at least 10-30% of HR admin work that can be transferred from HR staff to the digital assistant. But that is just for 2020. This number should leap forward in bounds each year for the top digital assistant performers. 

Using a conservative approach, if a company decided to hire just 5% new HR staff each year instead of the usual 15%, and used the digital assistant to pick up the slack of the 10% of the positions left unfilled, the savings would still be considerable. Let’s examine the resulting cost savings and see how this looks in detail. 

In this scenario, HR costs would reduce in year one from $8,360,000 to $7,680,000 as the new staffing level would drop from 80 to 72 (12 people would leave and only 4 new people would be hired). While at the same time digital assistant operational costs would amount to roughly $360,000 to cover the slack. So, the total net saving in year one would be $680,000 (excluding implementation and configuration costs). But with a huge potential for much bigger savings in future years. 

Implementation and configuration costs for a digital assistant that could handle both help desk and HR admin tasks would likely cost in the realm of $100,000 to $250,000 to implement. But this would be a one-time fee and would result in a year one total saving of HR staffing costs between $800,000 to $900,000. 

Year two would see greater savings, as there would be no implementation costs, and the new hire rate would again be set at (a maximum) 5%. Taking the HR staffing level from 72 to 65. 

Year two HR staffing costs would therefore be $6,500,000. With a turnover cost of $90,000 (10 people would leave and only 3 new people would be hired), giving a grand total of $6,590,000. Because the digital assistant would be taking on more work in year 2, that cost would rise to $396,000. Which would result in a total cost in year 2 of $6,986,000 (see graph below for details). 

HR professional cost infographic

Figure 4: HR Staffing ROI using a Digital Assistant

In summary, correct implementation of a digital assistant solution that can handle both HR help desk AND HR admin requests is by far the best approach to achieve maximum ROI.  Done effectively it will also realize superior service levels by providing faster and more accurate turnarounds for your entire workforce in a way that is far more convenient for them. 

Welcome to the world of high ROI, and welcome to the next industrial revolution. It’s ready and available now. 

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We are at the dawn of an artificial intelligence (AI) revolution and there is a lot of confusion about how this technology should be used to provide support for students, faculty and advisors in higher education. Terms like chatbots and natural language processing are thrown around, but many projects are not really AI and are not much better than the old IVR phone systems we hated. Press 1 for a better experience! Worse yet is that if you choose the wrong platform, you will be fighting a bad reputation and adoption issues for a long time to come. So let’s examine the top 10 features an effective digital assistant (or as some mistakenly term chatbot) should be offering your users.

1. Personalized answers, not “one answer fits all”

Any chatbot can answer an easy question where everyone gets the same answer such as, “What is a FAFSA form?” or “How do I reset my password?” In higher education, however, rarely are answers so generic. Higher ed culture is built on autonomy such that there are very few of these one-answer questions. Each department and school tends to have their way of doing things. 

What if the user asks, “Do I need to sign up for a cap and gown for graduation?” The answer for a full-time student in the school of engineering will be different than the answer for a part-time student in liberal arts. If your chatbot can’t understand this difference, then it really is no better than pressing 1 on MovieFone.

2. True natural language processing, not just a crude search engine in disguise

A true AI-based digital assistant relies on AI modeling. Any chatbot that promises to crawl your existing web site and “just work” should be met with skepticism. 

Time and again our student focus groups have told us they don’t trust or use search engines found on university owned web sites. The results are often contradictory and lack relevance. So why would your chatbot crawl a web site just as these web search crawlers do? You really are just deploying another web search disguised as a chatbot and that will not produce the experience or results you are looking for. A true enterprise digital assistant works in a fundamentally different and better way.

3. Deeply integrated with the SIS and LMS, and not just serving up static content

Any digital assistant needs to be able to help the student, and in order to help them effectively it needs to be able to talk to the two biggest systems of record in higher ed: the student information system (SIS) and the learning management system (LMS). Not only should the digital assistant be able to look up and use data from these systems, but also assist the user in conducting transactions such as paying their bill. If your chatbot is only providing links, than there is a missed opportunity much like we saw in the age of printed mapquest directions.

The digital assistant should have a catalog of adapters for your SIS and LMS systems, and a configurable suite of predefined  intents like “Show me my grades” so you don’t have to build everything yourself. 

Configurability is important, so you can change the delivered functionality based on your organizations needs, because in higher ed, nobody fits into generic boxes. 

4. Understands the meaning of human language, not just a click through navigation tool

The promise of AI and natural language processing is that a user can type in anything and the bot will understand them just like a human would. Many people assume this is a given for all chatbots, but that is definitely not the case. 

Crude chatbot solutions resort to providing a series of buttons to push you along a pre-determined path. Does that sound a little bit like the old IVR phone trees? Press 1 if you agree!

We believe a user should be talking/typing and not clicking. And the better the bot can understand humans (in over 100 languages too!), the less back and forth and the less clicking needed. Which, ultimately, leads to a faster, more enjoyable experience.

A true digital assistant is a navgiationless solution where people just “say” what they want to do

5. Has the tools to allow you to grow its understanding, not a one-and-done solution

The whole point of artificial intelligence is that it gets better over time, right? How will your digital assistant get better unless it automates feedback and monitoring and allows you to model and test new training methods in multiple languages.

And the digital assistant provider should also deliver monitoring and training as a service. If your AI isn’t learning then it’s not AI.

6. Includes advisor and faculty “intents”, not focused only on students

There are a lot of student use cases that typically are catered for in early chatbot projects, but we find it a shame that faculty and advisors are often being ignored. After all, if you make the advisor experience more effective and comprehensive, the end result is that advisors can better service their students. Which, consequently, contributes to happier students who are graduating on time more often. 

The challenge, however, is that your technology has to be up to the task. Securely automating advising processes isn’t a simple task. Data protection, advanced language understanding and entity recognition have to be the basis of this kind of solution. And many projects, using crude chatbots, don’t meet this standard. 

Our digital assistants are being used by advisors to look up data on advisees based on PeopleSoft security settings, and even process tasks like advising notes, or approvals on course load. In one example, by using the digital assistant, a user can approve a course load in under 30 seconds, when previously it would require navigating and updating two web pages with about 10 fields and take multiple minutes (assuming they can remember to do it correctly). 

7. Speaks the language of your institution, not just canned responses that could apply to anyone

While it sounds like a good idea to purchase a basic chatbot with pre-delivered answers to common questions, you have to consider what that really means. Not only will none of the answers be personalized to the user, but it also means answers will not reflect the nuances of how your institution’s processes work. 

If one of your goals is to offer better service than human beings, 24×7 and in dozens of languages, than your digital assistant needs to provide better answers than a human would. Not canned responses that don’t fully answer the question.

When a vendor tells you, “You just plug it in and you are live in a week,” be skeptical. 

The key is to have a business-user tool to allow you to easily, and without coding, manage and extend a catalog of questions. Additionally, you need a platform that isn’t generic by design. One that allows for sophisticated questions and answers.

8. Highly secure and protects sensitive data, not an open invitation for data breaches

In the age of cloud applications and data breaches, security is more important than ever. We have seen institutions deploy a non-authenticated bot for a narrow use case and believe that data security is not a risk. Even if your chatbot can only answer basic questions about admissions, you can’t prevent the user from typing in a social security number, a test score or other sensitive data. If you are not using an enterprise digital assistant, where is that data stored? Is it secure? 

Further, the security of the bot channel is often overlooked. Channels like Facebook and SMS are used, but keep in mind, those channels are not secure, and there are no guarantees for how that data is stored or how it is protected

Using a secure channel like a web channel or MS Teams will protect your data and provide your institution the controls needed.

IntraSee uses the most secure cloud in the Enterprise: the Oracle Cloud. And for customers using Azure or Oracle Cloud for other enterprise data, there are even greater assurances

We have also built in features like abbreviated logging of conversations to protect sensitive data ensuring that we are never storing your sensitive data in the cloud. This type of data security is something that basic chatbot vendors almost never can deliver. 

9. Can handle an extremely broad range of questions, not a one-trick pony

Many chatbots live on their own islands. They are locked into narrow functionality specific to the service desk software they come with, or a particular vertical space like admissions or financial aid. As Amazon has taught us, people want a one-stop shop to serve all their needs. 

Imagine a student has a question, but first needs to figure out which of the 20 chatbots they need to go to. That is a recipe for failure and isn’t really achieving the promise of artificial intelligence.

High performing AI should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, just like a human! It is important to handle a wide variety of student questions, but it is also important you can leverage delivered skills from enterprise software partners. IntraSee’s digital assistant can combine our catalog of skills, delivered Oracle or PeopleSoft skills and custom client skills into that perfect one-stop digital assistant.

10. Helps drive student success, not a crude FAQ machine

It is one thing to be able to answer questions 24×7, but the goal ultimately is to help students. The best form of help is proactive, timely help. 

A digital assistant should be capable of reminding students about their to dos and holds, as well as initiating a chat with key reminders that an assignment is coming up or their enrollment window is opening soon. 

While reducing the cost of human-based service desks is the easy ROI case for digital assistants, their role in student success can be much more impactful.

If you haven’t seen a digital assistant or chatbot than can do all of these things, then just reach out to us below and we will setup a demo to show you live!

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