Amazon Alexa speaker products.
PHOTO: BestAI Assistant

The workplace chatbots are coming! The workplace chatbots are coming!

OK, well, they’re already here. And in a few years, there will be even more. According to Gartner, by 2021 the daily use of virtual assistants in the workplace will climb to 25 percent. That will be up from less than 2 percent this year. Gartner also identified a workplace chatbot landscape of more than 1,000 vendors, so choosing a workplace chatbot won’t be easy. IT leaders need to determine the capabilities they need from such a platform in the short term and select a vendor on that basis, according to Gartner.

It's not all rosy for chatbots in the workplace. Simon Dance warns in his CMSWire article that "flawed learning models can inadvertently produce search results that are bogged down by content that doesn’t hold much business value." 

He added that enterprises must take note, for example, search engines tend to highlight content that is engaging and holds “viral” value, such as a shared photo of the holiday party. 

Here are some examples of how chatbots are serving enterprises in the digital workplace. Knowledge Database Powers Resolutions's chatbots can be used to answer both technical support and end-user questions. They integrate with a company's knowledge base that includes FAQs, websites and wikis. It leverages bot and user analytics in an attempt to prevent future incidents and automate help desk requests.

Related Article: Chatbot or Chatbaby? Why Chat Technology Needs Time to Mature

Montage: Automating the Recruiting Process 

Montage has produced a virtual recruiting assistant called Mira to give job candidates more control during the hiring process. Mira leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to automate repetitive, administrative tasks company officials say take too much of recruiters' time. These includes tasks such as scheduling interviews and screening candidates for specific qualifications. “This allows recruiters to focus on becoming more strategic and efficient in their roles by focusing on building relationships with quality candidates, while also engaging, prioritizing and advancing qualified candidates through an accelerated process,” company officials said.

West Monroe Partners: Finance and HR Bots Avoid ‘Menial’ Tasks

West Monroe Partners, a business and technology consulting firm, created two bots for its finance and human resources departments: Rosie the Robot and Hal 9000. Company officials say these bots free workers from some menial tasks. Rosie, named after the famous animated robot from “The Jetsons,” helps West Monroe HR officials with things like onboarding new workers and entering data. Hal 9000, named after the computer from the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey," is programmed to generate invoices.

Related Article: 7 Ways Chatbots Help Digital Workplace Workers

AvePoint: Helping With Office 365 Content

AvePoint Virtual Assistant (AVA) is a bot developed to locate and restore Office 365 content for end users. AVA helps protect users from lost or deleted files and helps users with secure workplace collaboration via Microsoft Teams.

Ulster University, Inspire Workplaces: Chatbot for Mental Health

Academics from Ulster University and company partner Inspire Workplaces teamed up to create a mental health chatbot. Inspire Workplaces is a social enterprise that delivers mental health and wellbeing support. They created the Inspire Support Hub, and a chatbot called iHelpr, which guides people through questionnaires on stress, anxiety, depression, self-esteem and sleep. Users then get a score and from there, are directed to the most appropriate care, whether that’s self-help resources or actual formalized appointments with people inside the network of Inspire Workplaces. 

Related Article: Want to Use Chatbots and Smart Speakers in Your Workplace? Think Big

Amazon: Alexa for Business Deployed Throughout Enterprise

Amazon has taken the success of its Alexa technology in the consumer world and transferred it into the enterprise realm. Employees and organizations use Alexa as their intelligent assistant in uses cases such as meeting rooms and planning conferences. “Alexa, start the meeting,” for instance, triggers Alexa to use the location of the device, the calendar information for the room, and the type of videoconferencing equipment available via an Alexa for Business account in order to start a meeting.

Nokia: MIKA Aiding Engineers

Nokia's MIKA is a digital assistant that company officials promised in a press release will improve telecom operators' efficiency by providing engineers faster access to critical information. They need information performing complex tasks or diagnosing problems. It is powered by the Nokia AVA cognitive services platform and underpinned by Nokia's services expertise. MIKA combines augmented intelligence with automated learning to provide access to an extensive range of tools, documents and data sources.