These mundane jobs bots can take in the enterprise

Bots can best be put to use for menial tasks

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An intervention

Bots are quickly infiltrating our personal lives and are now beginning to make their way into the enterprise. Inherently more complex than Siri reading you the weather or performing a Google search on IMDB, the enterprise can be a tough nut for bot tech to crack. It has taken some time for technologists to identify the best places to start looking to bot assistance or intervention within the enterprise. The good news is that there are several enterprise tasks that are ripe for bot intervention, and fortunately for end-users they are some of the most painful employee responsibilities within large organizations. Unit4 Chief Architect, Claus Jepsen, details where bots can be most handy.

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Travel Requests

By tying into your ERP and outlook calendar an enterprise chat bot could easily execute and submit employee travel requests. This task could be either user initiated or initiated by an enterprise bot based on appointments added to the user’s calendar or assignments added through project planning solutions. At the most essential level a travel request bot would need to capture an employee’s destination and reason for travel, but it could even navigate more complex issues that affect travel requests, such as budget allocation and/or ratings and recommendations from past employee trips.

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Expense reporting

Tapping into an ERP or expense reporting software and using a mobile device as the audio interface, will empower an enterprise chat bot to significantly streamline and automate expense reporting via natural language. In addition to Natural Language, this bot could also be prompted by the upload of a receipt photo. This bot will capture Expense Type, Description, Amount and or Currency using natural language and automatically populate a monthly or project expense report. Adaptive learning based on preferences or past expenses will further streamline bot interactions and lead to increased automation over time.

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Time-off request

Ideally a bot that facilitates and automates requests to be out of the office will be able to submit a complete absence request that is initiated by the employee or even by the bot itself, based on appointments added to the user’s calendar. An enterprise chat bot that is tied to an organization’s ERP and or time management system could easily submit a request for different absence requirements, whether bereavement or paid time off, or whatever your organization supports. This bot could not only submit requests, it will also be able to report remaining balances for time out of the office.

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Time entry

A natural language conversation with a bot, may be just what the doctor ordered to streamline and take some of the pain out of manual time entry. Mobile applications have come a long way toward improving the time-entry experience, but they still require you to switch devices and or access different applications. An enterprise bot that is integrated with your time-entry application would make it very easy to record your activities and time in a much more natural way, using your mobile or edge device to facilitate communications.

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Time tracking or billing

For hourly enterprise workers or sub-contractors, this can be an annoying task that takes away from your core competency. A bot that leverages your mobile phones GPS and/or building sensors could automate clocking in and out functions. Imagine you are leaving your office or a customer address, your enterprise bot could sense you are leaving and let you know that it has clocked 8.5 hours for the day. Other than confirming your time and letting the bot know that the extra 30 minutes should be recorded as overtime, you would not likely need any additional actions or interaction to ensure your time tracking is accurate.

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Purchasing is yet another administrative but necessary task for many enterprise organizations. By tapping into your ERP and/or enterprise applications, a bot could become an ideal aide to streamline and automate much of this process. Based on past behaviors and or recorded knowledge of stock, a bot could anticipate and prompt purchase orders or be accessed via a natural language request. Ideally a purchasing bot could handle every step of the process from the purchase order, to shipment tracking updates and even billing.

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User Information

Employee Profile Updates

Bot Prompt: “I was just married and need to update my surname.”

Bot Initiated Prompt: “I see that your master file / profile has been updated to reflect a new living address, is that accurate?”

Whenever major changes are happening in your personal life, like a move or marriage, updating your work status or profile is probably the last thing on your mind. A bot could easily assist with updating personal profile information such as banking accounts, phone numbers, emergency contacts, surname, address etc. This change could be prompted by the user, detected through recorded updates from payroll or other related business functions, or retrieved from publicly available information.

ART: two people getting married


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Employee balance and payroll information

How often do you wonder about your remaining HR balances at work, but you don’t check because there just isn’t enough time to log in and navigate a cumbersome employee portal? This is yet another enterprise task that is ripe for bot intervention and assistance. While your HR reps are often busy and require appointments to ask these kinds of questions in person, a bot could handle them at any time, on the fly. This will save you and your HR department time and ensure you remain within your balance limits.

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User Information

Keeping track of user names and passwords in our personal lives is hard enough, let alone the several additional professional handles and/or passwords we must remember and constantly update. While security question prompts and temporary access texts have helped alleviate some of the modern day username and password fatigue, an enterprise bot may make managing aliases and access codes almost bearable. Beyond the personal challenge of keeping up with all these passwords, there is also a very real security concern for your enterprise’s intellectual property, which stands to be strengthened through bot automation.

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Project updates

Imagine a world where an enterprise bot could run a meeting through an Amazon Alexa access point. You and your project team could be sitting around a table, while the bot is driving the conversation. Project progress updates, timelines, goals, etc. could easily be shared and recorded using this interactive bot technology. The bot could even access similar past projects to compare progress or provide suggestions. This would ensure more complete recording and management of projects and would also cut down on update communications between project workers, supervisors and/or clients, by auto-generating progress reports.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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