The Emergence of Conversational Applications for Enterprises

They converse with you, they’re conversant with you.

The power of digital technologies has percolated the entire consumer market, empowering masses to harness them in indigenous ways.

Today, no matter how much an enterprise sugarcoats its offerings, the veneer remains vulnerable to user-reviews, which in turn exerts considerable influence on its future market performance. But the invention that has upped the ante and turned “computer is man’s best friend” maxim to an altogether different dimension is intelligent personal assistant. Yes, conversational applications powered by Artificial Intelligence are no longer a realm of science fiction, but as close to reality as possible in these days of Siri and Google Now.

However, as much ironical as this appears, the giant strides made in the consumer market couldn’t permeate the enterprise market thanks to an overemphasis on immediate returns instead of basking in the possibilities of future. In fact, 30% of knowledge workers think their IT tools at workplace are worse than those they use at home.

Conversational Applications for Enterprise Knowledge-Worker

Any investment to upgrade workers’ technological arsenal is evaluated in relation to profitability, which is intimately tied to productivity. It is unfortunate that conversational applications, which offer the best and most tangible improvements in productivity, are considered ornamental given their high utility function.

It is apparent that personalization, immense and intense, will be the common denominator of future technologies.  What we are currently witnessing in the consumer domain is but an indicator of the times of come. Conversational applications that combine computing capabilities with human touch will drive productivity to unprecedented levels.

Conversation applications that form a bond with the employees, try to learn and evolve alongside them, that are contextual, social, intelligent, proactive while also bringing the most human element of empathy to the table will transform the way workers operate.

A typical day in the life of a knowledge-worker

More than a worker of any previous era, today’s business users suffer from a unique situation of data overload and information scarcity. The scenario is doubly fatiguing because the decision-influencing data is spread across several silos, each of which must be separately collected and collated to form a meaningful knowledge-base.

The continuous upgrades in software entails further exertion and exhaustion for the workers who are forced to use their time to climb the steep training curve, rather than adding value to their core product. From the enterprise perspective too, the time and efforts to reskill and upskill employees appear to be barely as promising as promised. Both employer and employee are spreading themselves thin on an endeavor that’s not worth the investment.

A common complaint is that more time and effort is engaged in documenting and retrieving information viz. satiating system requirements than innovation-led revenue-generating initiatives.

Taming the digital storm – with conversational applications

What if continuous data documentation, optimization and retrieval, the bedrock of today’s digital enterprises, are no longer the mainstay of employee work. What if, technology, instead of constantly elevating itself away from the reach of common man, is made a humble servant.

That’s exactly how conversational applications are poised to serve employees in near future. An employee wishes to record something, the application does it for them, storing it in the right location to recall it at the right time. An employee realizes that to take a decision, he requires a confluence of data spread across data repositories; no issue, the application will intelligently assemble it together for the employee in a user-friendly way, enabling him to make the most informed decision faster.

Imagine an application so conversant with your business processes that it proactively identifies anomalies and frauds and boosts company’s topline and investor mindshare.  Personalization, so far only machine-powered, will acquire a rare human-like aspect through the power of artificial intelligence. Imagine an application that understands your moods, your workstyle, your commitments, your passions etc.; that continuously learns and evolves in line with the acquired knowledge. What can be more uplifting and a better performance accelerator than this?

Communication, the fundament upon which human connections are built, is no longer an exclusive reserve of humans. Conversational applications, through their ability to talk, listen, converse, learn and most importantly empathize, help humans attain peak performance optimization by relegating the more repetitive and mundane task for themselves, while adding relevant intelligence. And enterprise workers, now freed from the firefighting mode of keeping themselves abreast of ever-enlarging data sets, can instead enhance their focus on what matters most: decisions.

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