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It's tough times for internal comms folks. More and more tools have gone into the Cloud, making it harder to get through to the user with a single, consistent voice. Tool hopping has been rampant in recent years, making it ever harder for internal comms to reach the third of the workforce that's disengaged.

As a vendor, we have heard you, internal comms! Here is what we fix:

1. Lack of employee engagement

There isn't one single feature that can magically create employee engagement. Rather, Digital Assistant as a wholistic platform is part of a new breed of software that's open, cloud-based and user-centric.

Digital Assistant is made for your people. It's their companion that's connected to all their tools and apps. It's the equivalent of giving everyone their own PA, just a tiny perk that signals to employees:

Your time is important to this company, so we ensure you spend as little of it mindlessly searching for documents and filling out clunky Intranet forms.

Put yourself in your employees' shoes and just stop your time trying to figure out your PTO allowance. Let's say it's somewhere in the 2 minutes range, that's not bad.

But imagine taking it down to a simple chatbot question:

Text bubble: 'How much PTO do I have?'

And within a mere 10 seconds you should have your answer.

Text bubble: 'Just checked and you have 128 hours left this year. Should I request some for you?'

Since seeing is believing, here is the proof that this actually works!

And this approach works! Using a Digital Assistant as part of a holistic digital employee experience has been credited with improving employee engagement by 17%.

2. Communication inconsistency and irregularity

You need to sit down for this: A survey has found that the average organization uses over 500 different applications, and the amount of people working remotely has doubled over the past decade.

That's an internal comms nightmare, actually. There is no noticeboard, no Intranet, nothing where you can reach everybody uniformly easily and consistently.

Sure, you can resort to email (and many internal comms department do just that), but when's the last time you more than skimmed a newsletter.

That's an inconvenient situation at the best of times, but try to inform staff about something that is critical like a weather warning or another health hazard.

Our approach is to break the barrier between applications. What does that mean? Your staff aren't going the Intranet? No problem, let's literally embed parts of the Intranet in all those applications that employees do visit regularly.

The approach we take with Digital Assistant's Cards is similar to watching YouTube videos. Embed them wherever you want, receive them on any device or within any other app.

Digital Assistant Cards can be embedded or displayed across many collaboration apps, devices, browsers and intranets
Receive the same Card regardless of device, app or website

The approach we took is called cross-channel, and it's effectively a prerequisite for any successful, contemporary communications platform. The architecture needs to be open, extensible and API-first.

3. Information silos

Users are constantly juggling different tabs. 10% of knowledge workers actually check a dozen different applications every day, they need to check every day. It is consequently not surprising that users waste up to a third of their day looking for and aggregating information.

As you can imagine that's rather mind-numbing and not exactly helping with employee engagement. Typical Intranets were claiming to be the central starting point for a user's day, but the reality is that they're not seldom just a small proportion of the overall data.

Digital Workplace Portal graphic - Digital Workplace Portals encompass much more than a typical intranet

Bridging this gap between the Intranet and the rest of the applications is the mission of the Digital Workplace Portal. It's one central entity that is connected to all other applications through APIs.

With Digital Assistant you can connect all these applications right out of the box, giving you a coverage in terms of data that's many times greater than a regular Intranet can.
(Programming custom Connectors to other APIs was also designed to be as easy as technologically feasible.)

4. Lack of inter-departmental knowledge sharing

Knowledge Management is a continuous effort for every organization. But even in successful organizations knowledge is fairly siloed. That's where QnA Cards are a great for each department to build up a pool of useful knowledge that other departments can browse through the power of AI.

For example, take a Legal team. They may own contract templates and key people for managing patents for the organization.

A Sales person may or may not know that they want to go to the Legal page for contract templates. Not being able to find what they need they can either ask a colleague (which may not always be an option), or they just turn to their chatbot assistant. See what conversations the chatbot may answer based on knowledge the Legal team ultimately maintained for the company.

Digital Assistant responding to a query with options based on a knowledge base
Digital Assistant responding to a query with a response and file attachment based on a user query

With the QnA chatbot in Digital Assistant every department can systematically put their range of services and knowledge into the chatbot, exposing it to other users naturally through the power of AI. Through AI training and analytics new questions are collected and can be added to a queue for each department to answer them.

5. Email overload

Up to 90% of your emails are either spam, long threads with many people in CC or email notifications from various systems. You have a new ticket, a new news item, a new whatever.

While we can't help with the actual junk mail, Digital Assistant lets you junk all of those static notifications emails you get. They're cluttering up your inbox, they distract employees too much and sometimes they're even wrong, e.g. a new Helpdesk ticket may be assigned to someone if you've not opened the mail within a few minutes.

But if you instead remove notifications emails and deliver them as notifications, you both free up email for real communication and deliver a more intelligent update delivery system to your users.

Notifications are ubiquitous regardless of the device or channel the user is, allowing them to flexibly keep on top of work developments on their phone, the Alexa in the kitchen or just at their desk.

Digital Assistant notifications show the same information and actionable buttons across the web app, desktop and mobile devices

Notifications are also often actionable, allowing you to take frequent actions on items, such as Approve, Reply, Open details, etc.

Digital Assistant allows you to receive notifications from all your applications instantly, but they can also be held back until the user is requesting their briefing. This allows users to better focus on the task at hand.

Summary

These five points are some of the core benefits Digital Assistant offers Internal comms departments in achieving their goals of raising employee engagement, create awareness around company events and information, as well as furthering cross-departmental collaboration.

Is there something else that's important to your internal communications? Let us know in the comments below.

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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