With the proliferation of Amazon’s basic one-size-fits-all AI, millions of users have experienced Alexa playing music, summarizing the news, and providing information found on the internet. After the initial thrill is gone, many come to find out Alexa can’t really do much more without adding Alexa Skills to make her smarter. These “skills” are the bridge between your commands and actually getting something accomplished, like adjusting your thermostat or turning on a smart light bulb.

In the Enterprise world, IntraSee’s chatbot-automation bridges the gap between artificial intelligence and real-world business transactions, empowering AI platforms like Oracle Intelligent Bots to turn on the proverbial smart light bulb for your enterprise or institution.

When people ask us what we do at IntraSee, we explain that we are like Amazon Skills for the enterprise. These skills are what large organizations need to realize millions of dollars in savings. Instead of wasting time and money designing and maintaining websites that beat around the bush, IntraSee’s chatbot solution gets straight to the point and does the work users need to get done. There’s basically no web page, just a chat window. We’ve developed a means of automating chatbot implementations that makes configuring these solutions quick and simple, so the AI knows how to do the stuff that needs doing – right out of the box!

AI hand touching human hand

AI and Enterprise software finally collide

IntraSee’s suite of products empowers users to accomplish tasks like moving an employee to a different team, tracking a new hire’s to do list, aiding a nurse restocking medical supplies, or helping a student register for classes by phone. All the user has to do is ask straightforward questions, and the chatbot will do the rest. Without navigating through a website, a busy nurse can simply ask the chatbot to “Buy more bandages,” and the chatbot will guide them through the required steps: “What type of bandage? What size? How many? Would you like to add something else to your order?” College students can give the command, “Search for English classes,” and after choosing a class from a list the chatbot will ask, “Would you like to add English 101 to your cart?” Simplicity makes cents.

At IntraSee we have taken leadership in the Enterprise UX space, and transformed that into an automated means of generating a chatbot that is multi-talented from day one. It is so advanced that it can immediately solve problems that your development teams have spent decades, and masses of money, working on. And while automatically turning on a light bulb is a nice trick (and saves someone having to push a button). Our chatbot can perform things immediately that often take teams of people days to achieve. This is exponentially better than anything Alexa can do.

So, while programmers are churning out thousands of simple AI skills, none of these applications can handle complex business logic or the decision process required for multi-step transactions like tracking time in Kronos. Alexa can’t make intelligent decisions because she doesn’t know anything about the user. This is where IntraSee puts the “I” in business intelligence. We leverage all of the information we know about users without asking, utilizing known data such as reporting structure to logically streamline workflows. When the chatbot has all the information it needs it provides a summary of the transaction and executes the process securely and efficiently on the backend.

Many Alexa users worry about security and privacy because Alexa is “always listening,” and you would never want co-workers to hear you say something sensitive like, “Give Jimmy a big bonus.” Chatbots eliminate such security concerns by allowing users to type questions and commands. The entire suite of IntraSee products is designed to seamlessly work with highly secure data systems such as PeopleSoft, Oracle HCM Cloud, Oracle Student Cloud, Salesforce, Taleo, Kronos and many more. Each month we continue to add to the library of skills, so if it’s not there now, it will be soon.

In business it never makes sense to spend a dollar chasing a nickel. At IntraSee, our focus has always been to streamline business processes to save your organization money, increase productivity and reduce frustration. IntraSee has been helping organizations increase profitability by simplifying the user experience since our inception. To say that IntraSee is ahead in the AI skills game is an understatement. For nearly a decade IntraSee has been developing a suite of products that provide cost-saving self-service solutions straight out of the box. It turns out that our mature transactional architecture is the perfect fit for the next generation of AI, marrying complex transactional processes with the AI platforms of the future.

Artificial intelligence investment is intelligent business today, not something your organization should wait to do tomorrow. Building a library of AI assets is something that needs to start today. We encourage you to look at IntraSee chatbot solutions as you would Alexa Skills,  the necessary smarts needed to get meaningful work done. Being a business that is ahead of the curve in AI integration will make the difference between winning and losing.

Launching artificial intelligence for your organization’s users is simple and straightforward. The AI’s have matured, IntraSee’s got the skills covered, and our risk free pilot takes the guesswork out of adoption timing. Contact us to start your Chatbot Pilot today.

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It’s been said that nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, and in the world of technology there’s a lot to be nostalgic about! Times change so fast. Just over twenty years ago client-server was all the rage, and then the internet arrived and suddenly browser-based systems became the new way to do everything. Then in the mid-2000’s Apple coined the phrase, “there’s an app for that”, which then begat a mad rush to build phone-based apps for everything under the sun.

And now, in 2018, all of those things have been usurped by a new UI that will change the technology landscape yet again: chatbots. And, for generation Z or millennials, this is the way they expect to be able to interact with everything. Text and voice are their UI of choice.

Research has shown that students much prefer a conversational UI over all other channels of communication. They don’t use email, they don’t want to call the help desk, and more so than ever, they don’t want to use your mobile app. Of all the activities on a mobile phone, nothing has had the growth of messaging, which recently saw almost 400% in yearly growth.

The message (no pun intended!) is clear: students just want to chat.

Already, surveys show that only 8% of millennials have not heard of chatbots. They have quickly become pervasive in their messaging apps, and social networks like Facebook. If students aren’t already demanding chatbots to help with their academic careers, they will be very soon. The key is to get ahead of the curve and not put yourself in catch-up mode like many institutions found themselves during the mobile app boom.

Choosing the Right Kind of Chatbot

So, a chatbot seems like an obvious fit for students, but which chatbot is right for your university? Chatbots and voice assistants are everywhere, but let’s focus on the chatbot types that can help a student with their academic life. You will find the two most popular types are:

  • FAQ chatbot
  • Enterprise Assistant chatbot

So, what is the difference between the two? Our best analogy would be to step back in time to the mid 90’s and recall the advent of MapQuest. Anyone who was in the consulting business back then remembers the trials and tribulations of making a car journey in a strange city, armed only with a printed copy of your MapQuest directions.  Holding a piece of paper in one hand, while driving with the other was no fun at all –  especially at night. And all you had to do was miss one turn and you were lost.

Mapquest Directions

MapQuest circa 1998: You’d get lost too!

Then the 2000’s came along and now we had Google maps on our phones and what a huge difference that made. Now we had a device that would guide us every step of the way to where we needed to go, and could adjust on the fly no matter which turn we took. It even had a voice to ensure we kept our eyes on the road. Technology improved the quality, and safety, of our lives.

In this scenario, the FAQ chatbot is the printed copy of MapQuest directions. And the Enterprise Assistant chatbot is Google maps on your phone.

One is very clearly a lot better than the other. So, let us describe in detail why this is.

The FAQ Chatbot

The FAQ chatbot has a single focus: provide a chatbot that can answer the most popular questions your help desk receives. This chatbot is meant to reduce help desk calls. To set it up, you basically load in a series of questions and answers. For example:

How can I order a transcript?

Official transcripts can be ordered on our registrars site which you can visit at

https://registrar.university.com/transcripts

Essentially the FAQ chatbot is just a search engine that understands natural language. This is not a huge leap in innovation for most universities who have had a search page that is already serving this purpose. Some FAQ chatbots can crawl your public website (just as a search engine does – see a trend here?) and if your question matches one of the bot’s search results, it would answer as Siri does:

If your web pages were redundant or confusing, well, listing out search results isn’t really that helpful, even if it is in a chat bubble (as shown above).

While these FAQ chatbots do use artificial intelligence, it is a rather shallow use. As ultimately the student still needs to go to the actual web page to get the answers they are looking for, and then figure out what to do next.

FAQ chatbots are the digital equivalent of pointing someone in a general direction and wishing them good luck.

The Enterprise Assistant Chatbot

While Enterprise Assistant chatbots can do everything an FAQ chatbot can do, they can also do a whole lot more. Such as:

  • Integrating to your enterprise applications (on-premise & Cloud)
  • Performing transactions
  • Guiding the user through complex processes
  • Running reports and analytics
  • Approving/denying workflow
  • Integrate with your knowledge-base
  • And many more things…

The key differentiator being that it can guide the student through to the final outcome of what it is they need to do.  Just like Google maps does. It doesn’t stop helping until you get to your final destination, and ensures no wrong turns.

Let’s go back to our FAQ chatbot example and imagine how it would work with an Enterprise Assistant chatbot:

How can I order a transcript?

I can help you with that. I found the following Guides:

Or here are some things I can help you with now:

Order an official transcript

Great. I can order an official transcript for you.

What date would you like your transcript processed on:

Process Immediately

How many transcripts would you like?

1

What is the name of the person you would like the transcript sent to?

John Doe

Which country do they reside?

United States

What is their street address?

123 Main St

What city?

New York

What state?

NY

What zip?

10111

Thanks. Your transcript has been submitted for processing. After processing, it usually takes up to 5 business days to arrive.

Thanks!

That’s a totally different experience! Let’s take a deeper look at some of the key feature differences between the two options.

Content Repository

FAQ Chatbot: Usually the FAQ chatbot uses a proprietary content system for loading in questions and answers. This means that if you were ever to switch bots, your content may be locked inside a proprietary system. It also means that all your content would have to be manually loaded into the new chatbot. And it now means you have to maintain your content in two places: web site and chatbot.

Enterprise Assistant Chatbot: Enterprise Assistant chatbots can tap into an existing content repository via APIs. You likely already have a knowledge base inside Salesforce, ServiceNow, Drupal, Oracle Content and Experience Cloud, PeopleSoft Interaction Hub, or another platform. An Enterprise Assistant chatbot can read that content dynamically.  So it is always up to date, and there is one source of truth. Which means you will never have conflicting information between your web site and the chatbot.

Transactions

FAQBot: The FAQ chatbot cannot perform transactions. It is a content/search only chatbot.

Enterprise Assistant Chatbot: This is where the Enterprise Assistant chatbot shines. It can help the student actually get something done rather than pointing them to a web page. This doesn’t just save time, it also ensures accuracy in everything that is done, while continuing to work in a way that your students prefer. Text and voice.

Reports

FAQBot: The FAQ chatbot cannot dynamically run reports or query data in other systems.

Enterprise Assistant Chatbot: Enterprise Assistant chatbots can run reports from your PeopleSoft, Oracle Cloud and other cloud applications. They can even email you a full report! Reports for rosters, grades, advising and more.

Comparison

Feature FAQ Chatbot Enterprise Assistant Chatbot
Integrate with your existing content/knowledge base
Search web sites & FAQs
Integrate with your on-premise and Cloud systems
Perform transactions
Approve workflow
Run reports/queries

Conclusion

Chatbots will be a priority for many higher education institutions in 2018. As you begin your journey into chatbots, we hope this blog helps you understand your options better. Even with that clarity, it is always best to know what you are getting into. You have one chance to make a good first impression with students. If you roll out a chatbot poorly, you may never recover from that poor first impression. This is why we recommend our clients start with our Chatbot Pilot Program which will give you first-hand experience using an Enterprise Assistant chatbot. Contact us below to learn more about rolling out your enterprise chatbot pilot in just 12 weeks.

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Please enter your business email address to receive the IntraSee chatbot white paper. It includes the following information:

  • Full architecture diagram
  • Functions & features
  • Integrated SaaS and on-premise systems
  • Multi-lingual capabilities
  • Implementation Options

NOTE: We will never share your information with anyone outside of IntraSee.

On July 20th, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed the lunar module Eagle on the moon, via the space flight Apollo 11.  In epic fashion, they planted an American flag on the arid landscape and “claimed unchartered territory”.

In a similar vein, IntraSee is proud to announce that as of February 2018, we are now able to fully automate the creation of a chatbot for the Enterprise. It will self-assemble and deploy without the need for manual creation, and without the need for large consultant and client resource staffing models.

Practically, what this means is that we can deliver a “chatbot-in-a-box”, that with one push button will build and configure itself, and immediately be able to access your multiple on-premise and Cloud systems. Handling such things as self-service inquiries, transactional processes, workflow approvals, news and notifications, Enterprise search across multiple systems, interaction with content management systems, and Help Desk requests.

This doesn’t just mean that your Enterprise systems will now be easy to use for your employees and managers (and students and faculty). It also means it will be easy for your IT organization to deploy and maintain. Which is the critical component of a chatbot implementation strategy. It has to be simple to maintain. Such that your IT organization is not, yet again, bogged down in “maintenance mode”, when they should be in (as Gartner advises) “innovation mode”.

So, let us explain why this is such a breakthrough.

Currently there are two types of chatbot implementation styles:

  1. Fast implementations using pre-built Q&A’s that provide some superficial benefits, but are, for the most part, just navigational paths to knowledge that the client has to identify as part of the implementation. The chatbot equivalent of “quick links”.
  2. Massively long, expensive, and resource heavy implementations that require many months of analysis, and even more months creating spaghetti AI dialog flows that are pretty much unmaintainable. These implementations rarely work properly on day 1, and require that that client wait to see results while the chatbot learns. These kinds of projects are the favorites of large consulting companies, who see the advent of chatbots as a giant revenue stream, and a means to keeping their consultants off the bench. The best response any client should make when offered this kind of approach is, “no thanks”.
Complicated Dialogue Flow

Figure 1: Imagine having to create & maintain thousands of these? And this is just the front end.

IntraSee has an alternate way, a better way. We provide a “Chatbot Lego kit” that plugs into your enterprise system (both Cloud, on-premise, and even your data warehouse) that is a definitional tool, complete with a pre-built suite of self-service functionality, plus adapters to all the major Cloud systems, and even on-premise systems (like PeopleSoft). Within four weeks it can be plugged into your Enterprise, configured to your additional requirements, and adapted to the systems you use internally and in the Cloud. Then you, literally, press the easy button, and the Chatbot creates itself.

With one push button, the chatbot conversational UI is created and fully trained. Just like AlphaGo Zero – it does not need big data or a huge learning curve.

You immediately have a chatbot solution for your Enterprise that is simple to implement, simple to maintain, but capable of performing even the most complex of tasks.

  • You never need to manually create a chatbot dialog flow, intent definition, or entity definition.
  • You never need to figure out how to integrate the dialog flows with your many Enterprise systems.
  • You never need to figure out how your chatbot should behave when it encounters “errors” when chatting with someone in your organization.
  • You never need to figure out how to escalate to a “real person” or create a service ticket.
  • You never need to figure out how the chatbot can understand your unstructured content and digital assets.

These “low level” functions are managed at a high level that goes way beyond traditional process management tools.

So, what chatbot capability comes “out of the box”?

  • The ability to get data securely (and only data that the human has access to) from all your Enterprise systems (including your data warehouse).
  • The ability to perform complex self-service transactions.
  • The ability to review/approve/deny workflow from your various Enterprise systems.
  • The ability to find anything in your organization using a federated search capability. Plus recommend associated processes that match the search results.
  • The ability to fetch personalized organizational news that is pertinent to the person asking for it.
  • The ability to integrate with your current “Help Desk” solution (Cloud or on-premise).
  • The ability to integrate with your current knowledge base.

And the real beauty of all this, as the people in your organization will see, is that nobody needs to be trained. Nobody has to learn how to interact with this new solution. Nobody has to figure out where stuff is. Nobody has to deal with drop down menus and multiple clicks to perform the most simple tasks.

The chatbot will learn how to interact with your organization using a UI method popular for thousands of years. Language.

If this all sounds too good to be true, then we would advise that seeing is believing, and we would be happy to provide a demonstration.

Please contact us to learn more or even see a live demo.

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Footnote: Chatbot technology is relatively new, but our efforts in building this are not. Like the lunar landing, we have spent over ten years building packaged solutions, tools and adapters, in order to get us to where we are today. The final piece of the puzzle was to build the actual integration and automation with chatbot.ai’s. And for that we had to wait until chatbot.ai technology was ready for use in the real world. Today it is, and it continues to get better and better. This is now a viable technology solution if implemented correctly. And that’s what we do.