If you have been following our recent communication on the topic of chatbots and virtual assistants, you will know that rapidMATION views this technology field as a key component of the intelligent automation landscape.

And we’re not alone. According to research and advisory firm ADAPT, smart agents and chatbots are ranked in 3rd place in the Top 10 Australian CIO Emerging Technology Priorities for 2020. This finding was revealed in a September 2019 survey of over 160 CIOs and technology leaders across Australia and the region’s largest enterprises.

And now, there’s been yet another development that supports our belief that chatbots have an important and growing role to play in the field of intelligent automation – namely, the introduction of the new Power Virtual Agents tool by Microsoft. This no-code tool for building AI-driven chatbots forms part of Microsoft’s Power Platform, which already includes Power BI, Power Apps and Power Automate.

Power Virtual Agents handle the full lifecycle of the bot-building experience, from the creation of the dialogue to making it available in chat systems that include Microsoft Teams, Slack, Facebook Messenger and others. One great feature of this platform is that it allows you to convert the chatbot to Azure resources if your setup outgrows the no-code/low-code stage and you need to get to the actual code to create a solution that’s fully customised to your needs. This is a seamless transition, as Azure is what is powering the chatbot anyway.

This is exactly the approach we take when we build our rapidMATION Intelligent Chatbot solutions, so we look forward to exploring this new tool and discovering what we will be able to create by combining our know-how with the Power Virtual Agents tool.

How chatbots fit into the intelligent automation mix  

At rapidMATION, we focus on leveraging a powerful combination of new technologies to help our clients save time and effort, control costs, improve customer experiences and gain value from employees in exciting new ways. These tools include digital process automation (DPA), robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence and chatbots – and together, they create the foundation for intelligent automation.

Interestingly, most of these were ranked in the Top 10 in the ADAPT survey, with AI and machine learning in 2nd place, RPA in 6th and smart robotics (a combination of AI and robotics) in 9th position. It’s really encouraging to see that so many technology leaders are going to be focusing on these technology areas in 2020 – and hopefully combining these tools strategically for maximum return on investment.

As part of the intelligent automation landscape, chatbots can empower customers and business users to find answers or access services they need without having to wait in a queue for a human support agent, or schedule time with a colleague. This creates scenarios where enterprises can be more responsive, efficient and productive without having to increase headcount or place undue pressure on the staff they already have.

rapidMATION builds intelligent chatbots that add tangible business value in a range of scenarios within the enterprise. The solutions we have implemented for our customers include:

  • Supplier self-service:
    We often build chatbots that allow suppliers to automatically identify where an invoice is in the processing cycle. Rather than tying up precious human employee’s time – who may need to respond to other, more complex supplier queries via email or phone – a chatbot is available to handle this type of routine and repeatable query 24x7x365. This virtual assistant can quickly and accurately look up where the invoice is and let the supplier know when they can expect to be paid, without the need for human input.
  • Employee self-service:
    In this scenario, we often develop chatbots that can answer a range of frequently asked questions, automatically drawing information from one or more of the company’s data sources. This allows employees to get the answers they need, when they need them without tying up any resources.

Other solutions we have built enable employees to chat with the company chatbot and get details of their time-off balance or even submit a new time-off request directly via the chatbot without needing to swivel chair across multiple disparate systems.

  • Customer self-service:
    In this area, we often deliver chatbot solutions that use AI to analyse customer sentiment and identify how the customer may be feeling when conversing with the chatbot. This then allows us to bring human agents into the conversation quicker, where necessary, to provide superior levels of customer service.

As chatbots become smarter, more reliable and more accessible thanks to tools like Power Virtual Agents and others – we expect to see more intelligent chatbots put to good use.

Are you looking to get started with chatbots?

Reach out to us today and find out how we may be able to assist with one of our 10-day Proof of Value (PoV) Packs.