At IntraSee, for over a decade, we have been providing award-winning user experiences for both our higher education and commercial clients. This has included “one-stop shop” web sites, guided self-service, and mobile/responsive everything. By greatly improving the UX of our client’s Enterprise/Campus systems they have seen: lower calls to the help desk, better data quality, improved productivity, and a more satisfied user base.
Meanwhile, information and data has kept growing at a frantic pace. According to studies by IDC, this growth is exponential, and by 2020 the amount of data we have in our enterprise systems will double what we have today!
Even if all this data and information is on one well-organized web site, it is becoming overwhelming for the user, and every day it gets harder for them to find what they need.
In 1989, Moviefone debuted and changed the way we expected to find real-time information about movies playing in a theater near us. You could call a phone number and use your keypad to interact with an automated computer voice to find movies near you. Up until this point, people had to find a current newspaper, locate the entertainment section by flicking through page after page, then scan the entire page looking for the theater and movie listings. Can you even imagine that today? I will tell you, today’s undergrads certainly can’t.
Figure 1: The UX may have been bad but the movies were great!
That newspaper pre-1989 is where we are today with campus systems (which, according to studies, are on average 13 years old).
There is a lot of great information in your campus systems, but if students can’t find it then it may as well not exist.
Moviefone’s success was merely a sign of things to come. A sign that having a conversation was more appealing than scanning a newspaper. And students today prefer one medium for having a conversation above all else: texting!
Your Chatbot experience will be nothing like KramerBot!
Students today are Digital Natives. They have been immersed in a hi-tech world their whole lives and expect to be able to use these technologies on campus. Just as they can’t conceive of those newspaper days, they won’t understand why they can’t just interact with your student system via conversational messaging, just like they do on the internet and with their friends. And on the internet, right now, they are using Chatbots to interact with many sites.
Conversational UI is replacing Web UI as the new standard
Chatbots are the technology allowing students to have a conversation with your student systems. The chat interaction is certainly natural and appealing, but that is only half the story. A well-implemented Chatbot can be your super application. It is a master aggregator without the feeling of information overload. As Kramer would say, “why don’t you just tell me what movie you want to see?” Imagine some of the things students would ask your Chatbot.
When is the deadline to drop a class?
What were my grades last semester?
What is the balance on my meal card?
How much do I owe on my student account?
Who can I contact about studying abroad?
I have moved off campus, can you update my address to 123 E Chalmers St?
A Chatbot also allows device independence. You can start a conversation on your phone, but then finish it on your laptop or even in a computer lab. That is something a student expects today.
While Chatbots can be good news for the students and faculty, they also present an opportunity for the institution. What are the ROI possibilities? As we discussed in our post, There’s gold in them thar hills, the savings a good user experience brings can be significant.
The common consensus on AI is that if you were spending money on it three years ago you were wasting your money. But if you are now waiting three years before you plan to spend money on it then you will be woefully behind everyone else and will never be able to catch up. Now is the time to spend on AI. And, let’s face it, your current student body will almost all be gone in three years and they want this now.
The great news is that being on PeopleSoft doesn’t prevent you from implementing a Chatbot solution now. So don’t fall into the trap of using that as an excuse for doing nothing.
The interface of tomorrow won’t be a web page. So be prepared, and get a jump start on your own Chatbot implementation with our Chatbot Pilot program, by contacting us below to learn more.
Let’s just say this up front. We at IntraSee could not be more excited about the new era we are all about to enter in the UX world. It seems like yesterday (actually, circa 1997) that it became apparent that web-based systems would be the UI of the future. Now, just 20 years later, AI is the new UI. We are officially entering the Conversational era!
85% of executives surveyed report they will be investing extensively in AI-related technologies over the next 3 years
And to explain why this is such a big deal, let us describe it this way: your current Enterprise system is a mass of sub systems that have grown and morphed over many years into a kind of neural network that is almost incomprehensible to the average user. Expecting them to navigate and understand this complex labyrinth is not a reasonable expectation. To them (and even your IT staff) your system looks like this:
Figure 1: How navigating your Enterprise system looks to your users
Whereas, this is how they would like it to be:
Figure 2: A better UX
But, as anyone who has seen any sci-fi movie knows, all robots/chatbots are not created equal. It’ll be just as easy to purchase a lemon in the new era as it was in the old era. And, of course, because this is software we are talking about, how you implement your Chatbot solution will be the key to its success.
To that end we have decided to rollout a new program starting August 2017: the IntraSee Chatbot Pilot. The premise is simple: demonstrations by skilled sales people can make almost anything look good. So, for your own peace of mind wouldn’t it be much better to see the solution working with your data and applications? When you buy a car don’t you like to take it for a spin, kick the tires, and put it through some real-life scenarios? You don’t rely on the sales person to tell you how much you’ll love it without trying it out for yourself. Well, unless your name is Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Vacation.
Figure 3: “You think you hate it now, but wait till you drive it”
At IntraSee we believe that UX is the key component of the employee/student experience with your Enterprise & Campus systems. A bad UX will cost your organization in many ways (see: There’s gold in them thar hills): lost productivity, bad data entry, too many calls to the help desk and a frustrated organization. By implementing a Chatbot POC/Pilot you will be able to get immediate feedback on the benefits of an AI-based solution, and also get to understand the logistics behind a successful implementation. Put simply, you don’t have to roll the dice on this. We can take away the risk and associated stress by providing a solution you can show to your colleagues, and, just as importantly, the executives in your organization.
If your senior leadership team haven’t already asked you what you will be doing with Chatbots, then they will soon. This is your opportunity to shine.
The program will work this way:
We will connect a dedicated environment in the Oracle Cloud (IaaS) to an HCM or Campus environment of your choice (it can be on-premise or Cloud, and it can be either PeopleSoft or Oracle).
We will configure our environment to match your brand, and turn on the desired chatbot features that you’d like to test out
We provide access to a limited number of your employees/students
You get to kick the tires for one month!
Note: Our initial POC/Pilots will focus on Employee/Manager Self-Service and Student/Campus Self-Service.
As we have talked about in our blog, All Aboard the Cloud Train, the enterprise software industry is moving swiftly to a cloud-based future. Every institution needs to consider this reality when setting their own long-term strategy. For Oracle’s Student Cloud, the train hasn’t pulled into the station yet, but we can smell the smoke.
If you are on Campus 9.0 you have been faced with a difficult decision. Do you spend a lot of money upgrading to Campus 9.2 or do you take that budget and invest it in your long-term future, the Cloud?
For Oracle, this question was especially problematic because ending support for Campus 9.0 was causing customers to weigh a 9.2 upgrade vs. other options. The issue is Oracle’s other option, the Student Cloud, is not ready yet. If customers wanted to remain supported, they would need to invest in a 9.2 upgrade and then implement the Student Cloud. That’s two implementations and is not a good fit for everyone, so Oracle is adjusting to customer feedback.
“Oracle is investigating the possibility of providing one or more additional years of support for CS 9.0. This extension would enable customers to move to the new Cloud components rather than upgrading to CS 9.2.”
Oracle is now saying it is ok to stay on 9.0 while you wait for the Student Cloud. That’s a great option for many, but can you afford to stand still and do nothing with PeopleSoft in the meantime? We talk about standing still waiting on Student Cloud in our blog, Just finished your Campus 9.2 upgrade? Now what??
Believe it or not, but your students aren’t sat on campus eagerly awaiting your next PeopleSoft upgrade. Or wondering when you’ll be moving to a cloud-based solution. The reality is they really don’t care about platforms and vendors. What they care about is how they can interact with your systems. How easy do you make it, or how difficult and behind the times is it? They are also comparing you, often unfavorably, with consumer solutions that they use on an everyday basis. And they wonder, out loud, why your technology solutions are nothing like what they are used to seeing on their phone or tablet.
In the consumer world Chatbots are the new way people are accessing systems. So your students are looking to you to provide that level of service to them today, not in four years’ time. By then they’ll have graduated and moved on. So it’s critical that your campus is fully accessible on their phone in ways that consumer systems are today. That means fully responsive web access, conversational messaging, and even voice.
You can improve the user experience today and your efforts are a down payment on your next-generation student system, if you do it right. An added bonus is that your team can learn the technology of the future through this process and be fully ready for the Student Cloud.
Contact us below and we can chat about how you can improve your Campus 9.0 UX and be ready for the Student Cloud.
Why does all the cool stuff happen with consumer technology? It’s a question, or complaint, that is familiar to many people living in the ERP world. Everyone remembers when the iPhone first came out, but nobody can remember the day any ERP application was first announced. Today we live in a world where we can talk to devices in our home (even an oven!), and they do what we want them to do. Then we go to work and struggle daily with ERP systems that seem designed to never understand what we want to do. It’s frustrating, it’s time-wasting, and it costs organizations billions of dollars each year in lost productivity, bad data entry, and too many calls to the Help Desk (which we wrote about in our blog, “There’s gold in them thar hills“).
Today, IntraSee is announcing that the cool stuff is finally happening in your world. Better still, it’s available July 2017. After many years of development, we are now providing Chatbot capability with your entire ERP system. Cloud, on-premise, or both.
So, imagine this world (where a manager wants to initiate an employee transfer):
Manager: “I’d like to transfer Jane to a different department”
Chatbot: “Which Jane would that be, Jane Rogers or Jane Smith?”
Chatbot: “Which department would you like to transfer Jane Rogers to?”
Manager: “I don’t know the name, but I believe David Chen works in it.”
Chatbot: “That would be the Finance department in New York, I would be happy to transfer Jane there. Will Jane still report to you?”
Manager: “Yes, she will”.
Chatbot: “Is there a salary change or promotion involved?”
Manager: “No, but I would like to add a performance note to say that I think she’ll do a terrific job”.
Chatbot: “Yes, I will add that to the Oracle Talent Management system for you. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
Manager: “No thanks, that was so easy!”
Chatbot: “It was my pleasure”.
So, let’s explain what just happened. The manager initiated a PeopleSoft HCM transaction to add a new JOB row that now puts one of her direct reports into a new department in New York. The manager also created a new performance note in the Oracle Talent Management Cloud system. All of this was done via a phone, and the manager either typed in the conversation on her phone, or she spoke into the phone. Can you imagine how complex and time consuming it would have been if the manager had to login to multiple systems, navigate to the correct place, and fill in complex forms? Or imagine if the manager didn’t want to have her time wasted and instead called up the Help Desk and asked them to make the changes for her?
There’s a reason chatbots are so popular. People value their time, and people want things to be easy. In the ERP world people are surrounded by complexity, and things are rarely easy. This is your opportunity to improve the experience and productivity of every person in your organization.
At IntraSee, we have focused all our efforts on improving the UX of ERP systems. Whether they are on-premise or in the Cloud. We are also helping our clients slowly transition from a PeopleSoft on-premise solution to an Oracle Cloud solution. Plus, helping them with the UX integration of all the other Cloud and on-premise applications they have.
The world of ERP is not simple, so we have taken it upon ourselves to make it simple for you. Chatbot integration with your ERP system is, without doubt, a means to that end.
If you are interested in finding out more, visit our AI page or contact us below.