They’re not as exciting as the hype cycle told you, but that’s a good thing.
A few weeks ago, my company Aptitive hosted our very first conference. We dubbed it the (data) Science Fair and used it to show off all the cool enterprise data tools us and our tech partners are using. One of those projects was a little chatbot I wrote.
I called it Rima and it helped walk people through the various booths. It was also the facilitator of a game I created to incentivize guests to engage with our team. (You can read more about Rima here.) While that implementation was rather playful, there are tons of applications for these easy-to-build bots at businesses everywhere.
Your Internal Wiki or External FAQ
Imagine asking questions rather than combing through the Wiki nobody has time to get familiar with. This eliminates the hassle of searching around for what you want to know. Just ask!
Natural language processing makes interactions like these reliable. Including answers to questions like “What can you tell me about?” ensures that users get a table of contents kind of functionality.
Your Status Updates and Retrospectives
Ever forget to let your PM know about your weekly status? Ever forget what you did at the beginning of the month by the time you’re sitting in the monthly retro? There’s a bot for that.
This kind of functionality is made possible by the rich APIs that sit behind bot-building services. Simple programs running in FaaS services can run on a schedule to reach out to people regularly on Slack or Skype (or any messaging service really). Those same functions can grab information from any number of tools you’re already using. You’d be surprised at how many common tools like Harvest, Gusto, Zenefits, and others have accessible APIs that you aren’t leveraging.
Your Repetitive Stuff
Fact: Talking is a fast and easy way to communicate what you want. Saving a few seconds each time you do a task really adds up — think keyboard shortcuts. Answering simple questions from bots is almost like a keyboard command for a task. Take approving time-off requests for example.
Okay, maybe this would have taken 30 seconds just clicking through an email and approving the request, but replying to a slack message with a yes/no probably takes less than 5. It adds up, I swear. That goes double if you’ve got lots of little recurring tasks like this. Streamline your workflows and de-clutter your inbox with bots like these.
Click here to learn more about the (data) Science Fair and see more photos from the event.
This post was originally posted on Medium.
Ainsley McGrath is a Data & Technology Consultant at Aptitive. He aspires to spend his days repeatedly saving the world with technology.