How Conversational Applications will enhance Employee Experience

May 9, 2018

It is the biological imperative of every organism to seek solutions to the problems they encounter. While in the animal world, this happens at the instinctive level, in humans it acquires more complex forms.

The evolution of man is story of outsourcing of human labor to animals initially, and then to machines. Today, we are amidst the fourth industrial revolution that is pushing the limits of this outsourcing project to a subtler level: through cognitive offloading to computers!

While consumer market has benefited from digital revolution, the enterprise world is, by and large, stuck in the past. People have access to more advanced technology as a consumer, than they have as employees in the current knowledge-based economy. Therefore, the digital skills that people acquire at their home finds no use in the workplace environment. Concurrently, as employees, they are constantly obligated to learn new software that the company incorporates.

Conversational disruption: rise of people-literate technology

So far, organizations that infused new solutions into their system had to grapple with the accompanying challenge of training their employees on its use. Further, acquiring information that employees seek was by itself a special function, for it involved expending time and effort of both the seeker and provider.

It appeared as if technology, instead of simplifying and streamlining matters, enabled the componentization of the organization into siloes of information. The mental cache of people began to be overstuffed with obsolete data, leaving little kinetic scope for their core activities.

With the exponential growth of digital technologies, the time is ripe for people-literate technology as against the prevailing norm of technology-literate people. Design thinking approach, alongside disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, have paved the way for technologies that are people-literate.

Conversational applications cater to an important need of placing business users at the heart of product experience. They learn and evolve with the user, and can provide proactive, contextual assistance to a human-like extent. Significantly, they can empathize with the user, thus infusing an element of humanity into a machine.

While conversational application instantly reminds one of existing voice-based intelligent assistants like Siri and Google Assistant, they barely scratch the surface. Conversation is the new user experience, firmly encoded into the user interface. By conversation, the scope isn’t being restricted to voice-based commands alone, since it encompasses the entire breadth of design and workflow.

IntelliBuddy at Workplace

The current use of intelligent assistants is limited to primitive “record and retrieve” functions, but through the power of artificial intelligence, they can be empowered to offer proactive, contextual assistance.

What puts conversational applications distinctly ahead of other virtual assistants in market are their ability to:  emote, evolve, contextualize, and process the natural language.

Their scope extends beyond keyword-based response, and their unique capability for grasping user intent and their self-learning capacity makes them indispensable for a modern enterprise.

Employees will have personalized conversational applications that are fully-tuned to them, and consequently, continuously evolve with them. Machine learning ensures that each instance is digested into the system, enabling the application to make use of it should such need arise in future. It is like having a personal assistant, intelligent-driven and smart, for each employee.

One of the reason conversational applications are not making a headway in enterprise world at the same speed as consumer market is the organizational need for return of investment. However, as the below use-cases will substantiate, these applications have the potential to fundamentally alter the way employees work, thus transforming enterprises.

 

Select Use Cases

  • Know Your Benefits: Usually, employees must approach the relevant department (mostly HR dept.) to gain information about the benefits assigned to them. Say, to know about the number of leaves they can avail, their insurance, the policies applicable to them, etc. Conversational application will allow the user to instantly acquire this information, without having to approach various departments or talk to people. Going a step farther, how about the application forewarning an employee about an upcoming assignment deadline, or proactively informing him of the leaves available to him, which are to expire shortly.

 

  • Onboarding Enabler: New joiners are typically at loss to understand their positioning in the organizational and departmental chart, the expectations from them, and the people who are relevant to their work ecosystem. These applications can act as their close ally amidst strangers, and help them evolve faster to the new environment.

 

  • Compliance-regulation: A lot of work moves back and forth because it is not in the prescribed format. Through this, a form can have a conversation with the user, and help him fill in the details in the requisite manner. It ensures that a presentation is in line with the company’s style guide and brand voice. Since it is conversant with the user’s methods, it can offer proactive assistance that helps save time and efforts.

 

  • News-sharing: Many companies continue to follow the age-old method of writing a group email to apprise employees of news, updates, policy-changes etc. Policies are available on intranet, but it takes an effort to locate them. No surprise, then, that the message is often lost in translation. These applications can personalize the message in a way that helps employees relate to it, and enable them to understand the implications from their perspective.

 

  • Meet-ups facilitator: Among many circles, the time taken to plan for a meeting is more than the span of said meeting itself. Intelligence-driven applications can successfully situate a common ground for all the participants, obviating the need for a bulk of the planning activity. This can serve as an event manager, for it not just plans the event, but also documents the discussions, extracts the insights, and provides key highlights for future record.

 

  • Content Locator & Security: In a typical day of most professionals, they are forced to approach various people to get access to information they need. As if this alone weren’t serious enough a concern, system-based security necessitates permissions from various authorities. The enterprise concern is that of secure, authorized access. Yet, the same goal is defeated by black and white approach to user accessibility. Conversational applications can be primed for elastic security, where the user can instantly see information he is authorized to, but cannot access other parts. Content-based security removes a major burden off the IT infrastructure team, since they are not flooded by individual requests.

 

  • Upskilling and reskilling: In the knowledge economy, workers are required to constantly train themselves in trending technologies. Much of it can be achieved by self-learning through Learning Management Systems, but the lack of human touch has ramifications. The conversational application can act as a study-buddy, helping the employee to test his assess his newly-acquired skills, posting reminders, etc. Through its constant presence and assistance throughout the learning experience, it obviates the need for human assistance in most scenarios.

 

Conclusion

Given the tremendous edge that enterprises can acquire through introduction of conversational applications, it’s only a matter of time it pervades throughout the enterprise world.

This necessitates a platform that helps enterprises deliver conversational applications. Social Enterprise Technology (SET) is world’s first enterprise platform to achieve that, enabling organizations to push their entire ecosystem of people and resources to the next orbit of transformation.

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