Enterprise Chatbot

Definition of enterprise chatbot

An enterprise chatbot lets employees of a company have a one-on-one conversation with an application via text messages. While many chatbots exist within a consumer context (i.e. so customers can order with you or contact your customer service department) they're rarer for internal applications.

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 would 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

Enterprise chatbot internal vs. external

There's a growing distinction about the context into which a chatbot should be deployed.

If you deploy the chatbot as a way for customers to reach you (i.e. to order from you or contact your customer service department) than that would be an external enterprise chatbot. Platforms that facilitate with this are traditionally closer to Helpdesk solutions or eCommerce solutions.

Many companies are considering employees and other stakeholders to be "internal customers" and want to make their lives as easy as possible. This largely underlying the Digital Workplace mentality.
These companies see internal-facing chatbots as a way to conveniently expose more services to their employees, for example within collaboration tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams.

Employees can then ask questions like how much PTO they have left, locate documents, get updates or summaries from their other applications as well as find experts within the business.

Enterprise chatbot challenges

A major obstacle for creating an enterprise chatbot with a high adoption rate is data binding. Admins will find it easy to set up text responses and teach the chatbot the necessary Natural Language understanding to safely match a question to an answer.

But often times the answer will be 'canned' and merely contain a hyperlink to a knowledge base article somewhere on the Intranet. Or it gives the user a  lengthier, non-specific response they need to read through to pick what is applicable to them. That places nearly the same cognitive load on the user as just going to the Intranet search or Enterprise search portal directly. 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.

In order to give enterprise chatbots the capacity to give the user a personalized, direct answer to their question, the chatbots 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?"