AI Chatbot, Digital Workplace, Intranets

6 benefits of introducing a smart assistant to your workplace

We're very passionate about creating a digital workplace that delights users. Unsurprisingly for a software company, our websites are laden with features and technical specifics; such as APIs, AI chatbots or Adaptive Cards.

But, at a more fundamental level, what are these features adding up to? What benefits can your organization expect in the long run?

In this post I want to elaborate on the benefits that make your time – evaluating and investing into an intelligent workplace – worthwhile.

1. Cut down on tab hopping

Did you know the average worker regularly uses 36 applications, sometimes jumping between a dozen different ones per day?

Imagine all the time collectively wasted juggling tabs, remembering logins and navigating around to get tasks done or look up data.

Many people are surprised to learn that there are however two types of applications that you could easily be unified into one interface, thus avoiding having to visit them separately:

  1. Infrequent applications
    Such as self-service portals that are only rarely visited by employees (say when they replace a laptop or change their pension scheme).

    Handling these sites can feel cumbersome to users, purely because users aren't as familiar with them. But by integrating these apps into a smart, AI-powered chatbot users can retrieve data or take action in the most natural way they know – by asking a natural question.

  2. Frequent applications
    Everybody usually has 2-3 apps that are "always open" (like Outlook or a specific app for our job role). It's literally impossible to replace these under one umbrella.

    But there are also many tools we merely use "frequently". Frequently means that we check in on them daily, want to monitor their data and occasionally do some work inside of them. Usually there will be between 5 and 15 of such apps which would make them perfect candidates to be added as simple Cards to your Board.

    Once the Card is on your Board you can just keep easy tabs on these apps and, basically, spot with one look, whether intervention will be needed and a direct visit by you is required.

By implementing a two-pronged approach that incorporates both frequent and infrequent apps into your AI-powered, intelligent workplace assistant, you can reduce the number of applications you need to visit daily by up to 80%.

2. Reduce time to complete tasks

Users spend about 36% of their time looking for information and data. This seems insanely inefficient if you think about it. Nobody would accept a car that wastes a third of its gas when its just parked?

Time wastes at work are unfortunately plentiful:

  • Waiting for pages to load
  • Not having permission to view something and asking for help
  • Remembering which application and where within it your data is
  • Physically clicking different buttons, submenus and dropdowns
  • Jumping in-between tasks and needing a few moments for our concentration to follow
  • Forgetting a login and needing to reset the password
  • Getting distracted by emails, Slack chimes or online meetings
  • Having to manually process data like email addresses or names through copy-and-paste or exporting/importing CSV files
  • Waiting for a frozen window to recover
  • System update notifications that prompt you to update your computer in the middle of the workday

The list goes on, but it's clear that there are no easy fixes to generally cut your wasted time in half.

But there are two areas that could be quick wins to at least reduce the number of apps you have to jump in-between, by uniting them into a single pane of glass:

  1. Monitoring lots of sources simultaneously
    Instead of you having to visit 12 different applications one-by-one and check for new tasks, updated analytics or metrics; have the 12 applications visit you. Most applications nowadays have APIs that are a standardized way to project their data into Adaptive Cards you can pin to your Board, e.g. in the shape of lists, charts or notifications.

    Editor's tip:
    As an example you could look at everything a marketing department could monitor from one pane of glass with a smart business assistant.

  2. Power user workflows not well supported by the core app
    This will vary widely between applications, but sometimes their UI isn't the most straightforward at letting a power user "wizz through their items in a jiffy". To illustrate this, I'm going to show you a problem we used to experience ourselves. Basically this is crossing the bridge into making a "micro app", except it's a lot easier and superficial.

3. Improve employee engagement

80% of employees found that the global pandemic had materially affected their work lives. Not only do we have all the usual office distractions to deal with; on top of it everything has now shifted to Zoom calls and many of us have family and chores vying for our attention, also.

Except for the super disciplined among us, we could all benefit from intelligent workplace tools that loop in many of the applications we have to visit in an effort to reduce distractions – less email notifications, less jumping in-between tabs, etc.

Pinning Cards to your Board is a convenient way to create a personal space where you can keep easy tabs on all the apps you care about the most. For others Cards, offering an AI chatbot allows users to rapidly bring up live data from any application. It sounds like a simple solution, but it's precisely the reason why our customers have seen a 17% increase in employee satisfaction.

Related: Common challenges HR teams can overcome with a smart assistant

4. Become a more attractive employer

An internal study at Cisco has found that the use of Digital Assistant, as part of their digital workplace initiative, was responsible for becoming a more attractive employer.

Since its introduction, there has been an increase to 72% of new hires that say they felt positive about their decision to join Cisco. In part this is due to the employee-centric nature of Cisco's digital workplace, that treats employees like "internal customers" that are deserving of the most fluid and inspiring experience.

Treating employees like customers is an all-around win, and there are many corporations seeing dividends from investing into AI chatbots and mobile apps.

5. Fight off innovation fatigue

It's a well documented phenomenon that innovative companies are rotating new applications quickly to see which ones stick. This may even fly in the face of efficiency - at least in the short-term.

But it could also lead to innovation fatigue where employees come to adopt new tools less and less, for the fear that it may soon be replaced with yet a different platform.

Often the old applications never fully get migrated anyways, leading to dwindling numbers of production applications. (They may be as high as 508 😱)

One way organizations try to address this is by creating the place that never changes. Like a hub or intranet, something that acts as a familiar gateway even if the tools within it change over time. Even though this is a popular way to combat innovation fatigue, it may be useless as this just creates a disjointed mess of bookmarks and half-baked digital signage.

However with embeddable Cards it doesn't have to be this way. These can be embedded into any website or intranet – just like a YouTube video – or can enrich Enterprise Search engine results. Since Cards easily project live data from 3rd party applications, IT can create a lively and integrated Intranet with real-time data, rather than just hosting a bunch of static bookmarks that link out to other tools.

Related: How IT departments can make the dream of a digital workplace hub a reality

6. Reduce cost and drive up productivity

We've covered that a smart assistant can reduce the amount of time employees waste "looking for stuff" by up to 36%. And we've covered that organizations that have introduced a holistic intelligent workplace have great results to report.

With Digital Assistant the result has been so great in fact, that the industry recognized it for being the best Digital Workplace app.

It can be tricky to measure and quantify how much a company's bottomline is improved by reducing clicks and making employees feel more engaged.
But we have created an ROI estimator that gives you an idea about what your organization's digital workplace potential could be. Try it (or don't, we're not the boss of you 😉).

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Hey, you read this far. You clearly must be interested in improving your team's digital workplace experience. If you've not already tried it, just get your own Assistant for free. Is there anything I missed? Would you say there are pain points we've not addressed yet? Let me know in the comments below.

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Article by Henry Amm

I’m the Senior Director for the Digital Assistant Platform. Prevously gained 6 years of experience as an Intranet consultant. Fluent in German.

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Author portrait

Article by: Henry Amm

I’m the Senior Director for the Digital Assistant Platform. Prevously gained 6 years of experience as an Intranet consultant. Fluent in German.

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