My Bot and I – Digital Learning, Working and Living

Bots and other digital assistants, which interact with people in natural language and support us in a multitude of ways, have been the subject of many companies at least since Microsoft’s Build Conference 2016. Certainly, bots are only one form of the digital transformation, but there is no doubt, they are one of the fastest growing.

Why?
Well, here are some of the key reasons:

1. Ease of use
Bots can be controlled by natural language. Everyone can use them. Users do not have to first learn where a particular menu item or function is hidden, which best practice must be adhered to, or which keyboard commands are valid.

2. Versatile valuable data collection
In addition to voice recognition (paradigm shift from graphical user interfaces to conversational user interfaces), bots are also able to recognize emotions and gestures (and much more) of the user if desired. They could, for instance, recognize if someone is falling down and call for help. In addition, the entire context of a user can be better captured, which can lead to completely novel data correlations; e.g. checking how much more satisfied and productive employees are after switching to S/4 HANA.

3. Artificial Intelligence learns at every minute
Bots can also use cognitive technologies to learn by themselves. The more questions they answer and the more data they collect, the more cunning cognitive bots become. They are similar to a child who brings a certain DNA and then learns through education, social interaction, further education, and so on.

4. Automation of processes
Bots can be provided in a variety of ways, with different skills, knowledge levels, personalities, and connections to other bots, as well as software applications, or hardware (e.g., smart homes, smart factories, or smart offices). They can be equipped and expanded with a wide variety of sensors and with very practical as well as versatile actuators.

It is therefore not surprising that bots have been used by companies worldwide for a long time, across all industries. CB Insights presented a great overview in September 2016 (https://www.cbinsights.com/blog/corporate-chatbots-innovation/), listing bots from companies like Taco Bell, Domino’s, Burger King, Yahoo, AT&T, CNN, KLM, Fox News and many more.

Bots are already part of a wide range of business processes worldwide. Often even without the user noticing it. And even in the private sphere, language-driven assistants such as Cortana, Siri or Echo already are a cross-generation paradigm; especially in Asia and North America.
Another “trend” of digitization is the reduction of business process outsourcing (BPO) projects worldwide. Alone between 2010 and 2014, the outsourcing industry in India, one of the most important BPO countries, has halved according to KPMG. (https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/pdf/2016/02/bots-in-the-back-office.pdf)
Shared services organizations and/or outsourcing customers increasingly rely on so-called Robotic Process Automation (RPA) rather than on human workers or traditional off- or near-shoring anymore, since RPA provides 20% to 30% higher savings than BPO engagements.

RPA solutions can, however, experience an analogous advancement here. Traditional RPA tools are based neither on bot technologies nor on artificial intelligence. They are also detached from single-source-based content creation. This means that, for example, process documentation, training documents and the automation projects must be created and maintained independently of one another with increasing overhead.
But what happens when you combine bot technologies, artificial intelligence, RPA and single-source-based authoring tools?

Got curious? Comment here or reach out to me if you want to discuss…

Cheers,
Sebastian

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