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:
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”.
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”.
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.
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.
The history of Enterprise software is rich with hype, but time and time again has failed to deliver the promise that accompanied all the fanfare. We are reminded of the Charlie Brown cartoon, where Lucy would hold the football for Charlie to kick, and then at the last second would pull it away. That’s how a failed promise feels to many organizations. Being told the next version of something is the answer to all their problems, then, yet again, discovering that it isn’t.
But now, in 2018, everything has finally changed. Now there’s a new word on everyone’s lips, “chatbots”. And this time it’s different. Because chatbots really will change the Enterprise software world forever. This is not a fad, it’s a revolution. And so, in IntraSee fashion, let us count the 10 reasons this revolution will happen.
1. Instead of humans having to learn how to communicate with machines, machines will learn how to communicate with humans.
Figure 1: No training required to interact with a chatbot.
From the dawn of computing time, the first thing humanity had to accept was that machines had to be interacted with in very specific ways. Otherwise they would not know what we wanted them to do. And even then, individual software applications had completely different UI’s. PeopleSoft had a different UI to Oracle, which had a different UI to Salesforce, etc. It all became so confusing to people.
Now we are finally getting closer to the top of the computing self-actualization pyramid, because machines now are capable of understanding humans using a natural conversational UI.
In all our years in the software industry we have never seen a UI create so much joy when we demonstrate its capabilities. Conversational UI via chatbot is what the world has been waiting for (even if the world didn’t know it until now).
2. Introducing: Zero navigation.
Figure 2: No navigational menus needed. The chatbot escorts you to where you need to be.
With chatbots, we are now entering a navigation-less world. The tyranny of drop down menus and multi-click access is now behind us. Now you no longer need to grapple with finding what you need; you just tell the chatbot what you want to do and it will escort you through the entire process.
3. One UI to rule them all, and in the chatbot bind them.
Figure 3: One UI for all your Cloud and on-premise systems.
Every single organization that we know of has a multitude of on-premise and Cloud systems that the people in their organization need to access daily. And, of course, each one of them has its own UI and is often built on different technology stacks.
The beauty of chatbots is that you will now be able to interact with your entire Enterprise via a single unified UI. A conversational UI. Now, everything will look the same and act the same, and will be easy to use because it won’t require any training. Just the ability to type a sentence. Or speak to it.
4. Guided human-like conversations.
Figure 4: Chatbot wil guide you through a process.
Do you remember the last time you had to do something complicated and important on a web site, and were transferred to a huge form packed with data fields that had to be completed perfectly… or else! Yes, it wasn’t a good feeling. Chances are that one of four things happened:
You gritted your teeth, and spent the next hour dutifully filling out every field, resenting every single moment of your wasted time.
You flew through the form, filling it out as fast as possible knowing you’d made a ton of mistakes. But, what the heck, that’s someone else’s problem. You shouldn’t have had to do this in the first place.
You called up the help desk and eventually got through to someone who helped answer your questions on what to do. But then had to call back an hour later because you got stuck again.
Wrote a nasty email to the CIO of your company telling them that they should be ashamed of themselves for letting such awful software be implemented (btw, we know someone who did this, so we aren’t making this up).
If you feel tense just reading this, then that means you’ve been there and we greatly sympathize with you. But, thank goodness, now there is a better way.
The chatbot will guide you through the entire form in a conversational fashion, not letting you make mistakes, and not ending the conversation until the task is successfully completed. If this isn’t Enterprise software heaven, we don’t know what is.
5. Always available.
Figure 5: Chatbot is always ready to help.
Chatbots don’t sleep, they don’t take vacation, and they don’t call in sick. And what’s more, one chatbot can handle thousands of requests all at once. They are always available, and always chipper and in a good mood. They are us on our best day. Every day.
6. Faster, more accurate, more consistent, more scalable.
Figure 6: Better in so many ways…
Actually, chatbots aren’t us on our best day. They are better than that. They can answer questions, look up data, and complete transactions faster than any human clicking through a myriad of web pages. They also bring a consistency to everything they do. Configured and taught properly, they are the ultimate subject matter experts who always apply best practice solutions on every occasion. And they never get tired or forget things. They are the Superman (or equally fantastic Superwoman) of the software world. Here to save us all from bad data entry, calls to the help desk, wasted time, and low morale.
7. Reduced help desk calls/operational costs.
Figure 7: Better and cheaper.
Talking of calls to the help desk. The chatbots main reason for being is to let people do what they need to do without making that dreaded call to a live agent. And why is that call such a bad thing?
Two main reasons:
Calling the help desk still means the issue takes a long time to be resolved. Chatbots will typically resolve most tier 1 requests in less than a few minutes. Whereas a typical help desk resolution can take many hours.
The cost to an organization of that call can be very expensive indeed. The average per-query cost of a human agent is somewhere between $15-$200. For a chatbot it is around $1.
8. Better routing to live agents.
Figure 8: Chatbots can transfer requests to the correct human agent, if they can’t fulfill themselves.
Have you ever spent 20 minutes on hold trying to get in contact with a support agent, then 5 minutes identifying who you are and what your issue is, only to be told that the agent can’t help you and you need to be transferred? It’s a horrible, soul-sucking feeling. Then you have to wait another 20 minutes and start all over again. And even then, there’s no guarantee the next person is the right person.
In the world of the chatbot there will be times that they won’t be able to help you resolve your issue. However, when that happens they will know exactly which department to transfer you to, and will pass on all your information to that person. That in itself is priceless. And if you agree with that statement: please press 1 (that’s supposed to be an IVR joke btw). And yes, people don’t like IVR either.
9. Improve Accessibility.
Figure 9: Accessible via voice or text in more languages than your Enterprise systems natively support.
A big problem with most Enterprise systems is that because they are built with different technologies by different vendors, and across different eras of time, they have huge accessibility issues. These could be ADA issues (such as the sight impaired), or just simple device issues (ex: they don’t work well on phones). Also, some vendors support some languages that are spoken in your organization, while others don’t. Rarely do they all support all the languages you’d like them to.
And this is the beauty of a conversational UI. It’s accessible via many channels of communication and in many languages. It won’t matter what your Enterprise system supports, so long as the chatbot.ai supports it. This alone will make a huge difference: from a usability perspective, and from a cost perspective (it’s not easy or cheap to add multi-lingual support to many Enterprise software systems).
10. Improve organizational satisfaction.
Figure 10: Chatbots are more often than not the preferred way to interact.
71% of consumers want the ability to solve most customer service issues on their own
65% of consumers feel good about themselves and the company when they can handle an issue without talking to a live person
HR departments today spend 60-70% of their time answering basic questions and fielding requests from employees
This is a win-win for everyone: your internal business organizations who will be freed to do more strategic things for you, and your workforce, who will be happier and more productive.
In summary, our advice to organizations (which echoes Gartner’s), is to start the process of implementing chatbots with a short (12 weeks will suffice) and inexpensive pilot. That way you will be able to see exactly what you would get in a full implementation, and come to an understanding of what it would take in terms of effort and cost.
As we are sure you can imagine, the art will be in the implementation. At IntraSee we believe, and can prove it, that implementing a sophisticated solution can be done in a short period of time with a small amount of people. We have spent ten years building the tools that allow us to plug an advanced chatbot into your organization, and in a way that is simple to maintain. We are the only company in the Enterprise software space that can do this.
It was a pleasure to attend a fantastic Gartner conference in Las Vegas last month (December 4-6, 2017). And while there was a chill in the desert air, the team at Gartner brought plenty of heat with terrific keynotes and sessions.
So, what we’d like to do is break down the key messaging that we got from the conference, based on the tracks that we followed, and then we’ll apply what we think is very sound advice to practical steps that can be applied today.
So here we go: Gartner’s key messaging from December 2017.
IT organizations need to learn a new word: “Yes”
Over many years, IT has become known for using the word “no” far more often than the business community would like to hear it. Gartner believes that in the new era of digital disruption, IT needs to transform itself from the party of “no”, to the party of “yes”. Much of what followed during the conference was clear advice on how to go about this transformation.
IT needs to stop building stuff that already exists
In the year 2018, it’s amazing how much has already been built, productized, and is fully supported by one vendor or another (including IntraSee). And most of it is now available for subscription in the Cloud. Gartner’s clear advice for IT is to stop building things that are already built. Ultimately, it’s not just a waste of time and money, it also contributes to IT being primarily focused on being in “maintenance mode”, instead of “innovation mode”. Which, in turn, leads to the word “no” being an automatic response to many requests that would be hugely beneficial to the organization. If IT is always busy reinventing the wheel, then there’s no time available for tasks that really do add value.
IT should embrace disruption and be a force multiplier
By utilizing products, tools, and knowledge that already exists, and not embarking on lengthy DIY projects, IT can accomplish a lot more with the same amount of effort and money. IT should become the catalyst for ensuring things get done the right way and for the right cost. And by doing so, can transform itself to becoming a group that enables differentiation and innovation in the enterprise. This, Gartner says, is a critical path in the evolution of IT.
Plan on multiple chatbot pilots in 2018, but don’t try and build solutions in-house
Gartner strongly advises that building chatbot solutions in-house is not the way to go, as they feel there is enough already built that can be re-used in the Cloud. However, they do feel that now is the right time for organizations to dip their toes into the chatbot pool, and that by the end of 2018 organizations should aim to move some of these pilots into production. You can read more about our own chatbot pilot program.
Stop customizing your Enterprise software
This is a very interesting one, and we totally agree. But one thing we’d add is that the vast majority of customizations are made for UX reasons. And if there’s one place you shouldn’t be making UX changes, it’s in an Enterprise system. We would suggest that a portal/PaaS technology is a better platform for UX changes, and hugely alleviates the need to customize your Enterprise system. This is a great example of spending money to save money. That’s called a win-win!
IT needs to use a different toolbox
For years, many organizations have been building solutions using a vast array of on-premise technologies. Gartner’s advice is to start using more advanced tools that exist in the Cloud. While this may sound easier said than done, 2018 is the year to start doing it. For example, many of our clients have been using PeopleTools as a development platform for a number of years. Well, today there are many options in the Cloud that provide better capabilities, and are also not entering deprecation-status (Note: PeopleSoft has a finite shelf-life).
To that end, we’ve created a simple guide that describes what you have now, and what we think is the equivalent in the Cloud that you should look at adopting instead. And the great news is that it’s not as daunting as you may think. And, also, is often something you can do prior to moving off PeopleSoft. In fact, we would strongly recommend that many of them are among the first things you should do, as they will better prepare you for life in the Cloud, and the new era of AI and digital disruption.
ON-PREMISE PEOPLETOOLS: Fluid Tiles & Navigation
CLOUD EQUIVALENT: Content & Experience Cloud
There’s a general principle that states that building a UX solution inside your HCM system is a bad idea. The reason being that it is now tied to one HCM solution, and if you change your base HCM solution, you then lose your entire UX investment. Better to create a UX solution that is “portable” across any Enterprise configuration, and can easily adapt to more complex requirements. This principle would include Campus solutions as well.
Also, Fluid Tiles is a PeopleTools technology solution that lacks the flexibility to integrate cleanly with all the other applications in your Enterprise, as well as having a very basic UI. Plus, as this is a legacy solution you’ll soon be moving away from, any investment in this technology will be lost.
Figure 1: Fluid Tiles ESS Landing Page
WHY IS THE CLOUD VERSION BETTER? It’s far more polished and user friendly, plus it’s a technology solution that’s state of the art, and much easier to maintain. It can also be used with your PeopleSoft solution today, and any Cloud provider too. You also get the advantage of now being on a stack that is getting a lot of investment by Oracle, and can be integrated with their entire Cloud stack, as well as your PeopleSoft stack.
Figure 2: Plug & Play Modern Tiles with Oracle’s Content & Experience Cloud
AWE is a PeopleTools solution that has been both complicated and limited in capability for many years. There are better solutions you can use now that can also be used in the Cloud and are not tied to one technology. Plus, like some other PeopleTools features, this one doesn’t migrate to the Cloud either.
Figure 3: PeopleTools AWE
WHY IS THE CLOUD VERSION BETTER? It’s more intuitive, has far more capability, and is used widely within the Oracle PaaS suite. Plus it can be used with your PeopleSoft system today. This means it’s a tool for both the present and the future. What’s also interesting is that not only can Process Cloud be used for transactional workflow (like MSS approvals), it can also be used within the Content & Experience Cloud for content management approvals.
Figure 4: A More Modern Way to Create Workflow
ON-PREMISE PEOPLESOFT: Interaction Hub Content Management System (CMS)
We know there’s a lot of organizations using the CMS that comes delivered with the Interaction Hub. It is used to house literally millions of digital assets worldwide. And while it has been very useful in many situations, it does still lack the slick UX that CMS’s come delivered with today. The great news is that moving from one CMS platform to another should be pretty straight forward given the suite of API’s to support this within the Interaction Hub. Plus if the receiving CMS also has a suite of API’s, then the entire process can be automated. As an FYI, at IntraSee we will be offering automated content migration from the Interaction Hub to the Oracle Content & Experience Cloud in 2018.
Figure 5: Interaction HUB CMS
WHY IS THE CLOUD VERSION BETTER? Content Management Systems (CMS) have changed a lot over the years. Not only have the UI’s become much better, but there are even more API’s available if you want to go the “headless CMS” route that is becoming more and more popular today (and with the advent of Chatbots, this is pretty much a requirement these days). This translates to a more flexible way for managing, and publishing, all your digital assets.
CLOUD EQUIVALENT: Visual Builder Cloud Service (VBCS)
While we believe that using delivered Fluid components is a great idea (and many of our clients do this), we wouldn’t recommend building your own Fluid Components. Other than the obvious reason of obsolescence when you retire your PeopleSoft system, there’s also the massive amount of retraining of your IT group that this would entail. Building Fluid components is not a simple process and will require a huge amount of skillset retooling. Why do that in 2018 when there are other options that don’t have such a short shelf-life? As Gartner says, time to use a different toolbox.
Figure 7: Fluid Component Development
WHY IS THE CLOUD VERSION BETTER? It’s more intuitive, and can be used in a collaborative fashion by teams of business experts and developers, and is used widely within the Oracle PaaS suite. Plus it can be used with your PeopleSoft system today. If you’re looking for a form creation tool that can work with Oracle HCM Cloud, PeopleSoft, and other REST based SaaS systems, then this is it.
Figure 8: A More Modern and Collaborative Component Builder
ON-PREMISE PEOPLETOOLS CHATBOTS: N/A
CLOUD ALTERNATIVE: Oracle Intelligent Bots, plus other chatbot.ai’s
There is no PeopleTools based chatbot framework – hence the N/A. Because of this you may end up waiting multiple years before you do anything with this technology, and that will be way too late. By the year 2020 Chatbot development will surpass mobile development, according to Gartner. Now is the time to put your toe in the water. Your business community undoubtedly wants to do this, so now is the time to say, “Yes”!
HOW TO PILOT/POC A CHATBOT SOLUTION: Thankfully this is something you can do today, regardless of whether you are using PeopleSoft or any other Cloud application. And what’s more, it can be done in twelve weeks. You’ll get to see how it works in your organization, and how logistically it is implemented and maintained. And you’ll be able to test it in key functional areas, while also getting feedback from multiple business groups. Implementing a chatbot solution can be done efficiently and within a reasonable budget, so try it in a pilot and see for yourself. Make 2018 the year you figure out what works best for you with your first step to AI and chatbot adoption.
We are now entering a new era of digital disruption. Getting your organization ready to thrive in this new reality will be the most important thing you can do today. To find out more, please contact us: