Chatbots and Virtual Assistants are Fast Becoming the New Graphical User Interface

Machine Learning Automation Helps Achieve Significant Enterprise Cost and Workflow Savings

Oyster Bay, New York - 06 Jul 2017

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Conversational interfaces like chatbots and virtual assistants are in the midst of an enterprise market evolution. Fueling this is the savings in time and cost that machine learning automation technologies can provide. With hosts of the three leading chatbot development platforms—Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft—accruing more than 90,000 developers this year, ABI Research predicts that the revolution will occur in three phases: enterprise-proprietary solutions, common developer tools on competing platforms, and then at-scale deployments and the proliferation of third-party Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions.

“While the amount of savings that a chatbot can provide an enterprise is difficult to measure, the use of automation and predictive capabilities will undoubtedly enable current business models to be augmented,” says Jeff Orr, Research Director at ABI Research. “The value might be in customer satisfaction, in training methodologies, or in system deployments; but the overall benefit is clear. The interfaces create a new way for brands to engage with audiences and for businesses to simplify employee tasks.”

Messaging platforms not only replaced carrier-based SMS and MMS texting in consumer popularity, but they are also challenging the way that workgroup and team communications occur. Today, most chatbots focus on the customer service function; though, a lot of experimentation is occurring with marketing campaigns to identify prospective customers and build brand affinity. Prominent brands leading experimentation include Budweiser, General Electric, Nationwide Financial, Nissan, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, USAA, Vodafone, and Whole Foods Market.

Virtual assistants automate the recurring business tasks that employees are required to use in the workplace, including interactions with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and line of business software, including Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, and others. Automation reduces the training each system and role requires, which can be as much as 18% of the cost to implement an ERP system resulting in more than US$100,000 savings for a large enterprise. Virtual assistant automation also eliminates the time and cost for IS/IT to phase out legacy systems while gaining the ability to adopt modern technologies including mobile apps and messaging platforms.

These findings are from ABI Research’s AI in the Enterprise: Conversational Interfaces report.