Enterprise Chatbot

Also known as: AI Chatbot, Chatbot for work, Intranet chatbot, Digital Workplace Chatbot

Definition of enterprise chatbot

An enterprise chatbot is a conversational interface with business applications. Employees can have a 1:1 conversation by posing a complete question to a chatbot which will recognize and fulfill the user's intent.
While most chatbots exist within a consumer context, say for customer service purposes; they're increasingly becoming popular to use with employees to increase productivity.

What is an Enterprise Chatbot?

Enterprise Chatbots are using most of the technology regular chatbots use to create use cases tailored to a given organization and with the targeted employees in mind. Examples of enterprise chatbot use cases include:

  • Chatbot for IT Helpdesk/Servicedesk issues that suggest solutions based on the problem description and open a ticket if the problem couldn't be resolved
  • HR related chatbots for asking about policies, allowances, workplace perks, etc.
  • Business intelligence chatbots that could look up reports, facts, figures and maybe even send visualizations in the form of charts, gauges and tables
  • Intranet chatbots that would tie into multiple searches and can help narrow down search results with Natural Language Processing (NLP) to capture file types, times, authors or storage locations
  • Subject matter expert chatbots that could be an intermediary between lengthy knowledge bases and employees trying to answer ad-hoc questions for either themselves, or even customers they are speaking with in a shop or over the phone

Who owns chatbots in the Digital Workplace?

Enterprise chatbots facing external customers are often owned by the customer service department and are typically integrated with Helpdesk or eCommerce solutions.

Many companies consider employees and other stakeholders their "internal customers" and want to make their lives as easy as possible. This is a big driver for the Digital Workplace in general.

For internal-facing chatbots ownership can be less clear, but it will usually be owned by either IT or the Internal comms/Intranet team. It depends on how deeply the chatbot will integrate with company data.

IT ownership

  • A Microsoft Teams chatbot integration
  • Integrations with some APIs can mean having to develop and debug it where the onus would again fall on IT

Internal comms/Intranet ownership

  • QnA Bots that draw from internal knowledge
  • Governance of data contained in the bot
  • Distributing the bot and communicating it to users

You can gauge how much IT involvement you'll need by going through our buyer's guide on how to pick the best enterprise chatbot platform.

Use cases for internal chatbots

With chatbots in particular there is a noticeable degree of overlap between typical use cases for customers and employees. The lingo is different, but the intent is quite similar:

  • Consumers ask for their bank balance, employees for their PTO allowance
  • Customers want refunds, employees want reimbursements
  • etc.
Infographic showing examples of the ways chatbots can improve experiences for both customers and employees
Similarities between chatbots for customer service or employee service

Typical enterprise chatbot uses cases would be:

  • asking questions like how much PTO a user has left
  • locate documents and policies
  • get updates or summaries from their other applications
  • find experts within the business

We've made a list of the 10 most popular chatbots use cases for enterprises.

Enterprise chatbot challenges

A major obstacle for creating an enterprise chatbot is to maintain user adoption and have users relearn to use the chatbot instead of the old way that existed before.

Why is this hard? Because of data binding.

With most enterprise chatbot platforms it is relatively easy to set up your text responses and teach the chatbot the necessary NLP to safely match a question to an answer.

But oftentimes such chatbots are built on 'canned' text and can merely link you to a knowledge base article somewhere on the Intranet. Or if the answer is a lengthy policy the chatbot just "dumps" the lengthy, non-personalized response on the user and they need to read through it and pick what is applicable to them.

Isn't 'canned' better than nothing?

It's sure not worse, but it also places the identical cognitive load on the user as just going to the Intranet search or Enterprise search portal directly. Failing to reduce friction for the user is guaranteed to not have them return.

Thus often chatbots end up not leaving the 'experimentation' stage, as they're not sufficiently better than what was before – thus failing to 'retrain' user's habits.

Related: How to build an AI chatbot for your employees in 10 steps

In order to give enterprise chatbots the capacity to give the user a personalized, direct answer to their question, the chatbot needs to be integrated with all existing business applications from both the cloud and on-premise sources.
This requires the chatbot platform to offer API integrations and a 'designer' or 'configurator' that lets the admins pick out which part of an API response would be used in the answer given to the user.

The goal would be for the chatbot not to say "You need to click here to log into the portal to find out how much leave allowance you have", but instead just respond "You have 6 more days this year. Want to request more?"

Benefits of using enterprise chatbots

Organizations are using enterprise chatbots in order to:

  • Reduce time employees spend looking for and aggregating information
  • Answer frequent questions to HR or Servicedesks directly and without wait time for the user
  • Automate the processing of requests and simplify submissions for the employee
  • Help the employees with processes they do infrequently, like updating the name on their employee file or renewing a security badge
  • Automate daily or regular processes by constantly watching out for changed data or changes in conditions and alert the user only when changes are detected; thus reducing the need to manually check certain applications
  • Reduce the number of clicks necessary to look up simple things like available meeting rooms, cafeteria menu, building notices
Two charts showing how enterprise chatbots can improve processes and experiences for both customers and employees
Similar benefits for external and internal enterprise chatbots

Much like enterprise chatbots for external customers, internal chatbots are instrumental in cutting down on time, clicks and user focus necessary to get done or answer all manners of questions large and small.

What are popular enterprise chatbot platforms?

Depending on your needs, and scale of your project a number of platforms could be of interest to your Digital Workplace. We've create a guide that helps you identify which chatbot is the best for your organization.