Chat bot technology is being driven at a revolutionary pace. Yesterday’s chat bot provider is already obsolete, and today’s chat bot provider faces a juggernaut of competition the likes of which the technology world has never seen. Chatbot platforms are rapidly becoming commoditized as there are so many players with little to no differentiation. The next generation of chat bots will belong to the “Big Six” – Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and IBM.
The maturity of chat bot providers can be gauged according to the following scale:
In a piece entitled “Gartner predicts a virtual world of exponential change”, they make the claim that by 2020, 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen. They go on to state that companies like Apple, Google and Amazon are “turning ‘voice first’ interactions into ubiquitous experiences”.1
This in part is what limits the playing field to the “Generation 4” maturity model above – only those chat bots that are truly multi-channel with the inclusion of voice will be able to reach this classification.
The sheer technological advancement coupled with the demanding requirements dictates that implementation of a fourth generation chat bot will be an assembly of best-of-breed components. No single vendor will have the capacity or appetite to deliver and end-to-end enterprise ready chat bot.
The vendors identified as fourth gen chat bot vendors will be leading the ecosystems. The core chat bot technology will be theirs. However, other vendors will opt-in to the ecosystem and provide significant value-add in being able to deliver an end-solution. These ecosystems will be so dominant that even existing 2nd or 3rd generation chat bot providers may end up breaking into their parts to play in the ecosystem in a bid to remain viable.
Deploying a fourth generation chatbot into a complex enterprise is not without its challenges. While the sophisticated AI and NLP is sufficiently “black boxed”, there is still a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done around dialog management and integrating the various assets found in the enterprise.
Figure 2 shows a conceptual abstract chat bot architecture in an enterprise. Integrating to all the external systems, customized business logic, heavy services orchestration and dialog management all add up to a significant code investment.
In fact, none of the Generation 4 chatbot providers currently provide any mechanism to seamlessly integrate these components. The result is extensive coding to combine the elements, which is time consuming expensive and difficult to maintain……and relies on an already overburdened IT Services Roadmap.
The primary areas that the ecosystem can provide to aid in the implementation of a fourth generation chatbot are:
Given this strong convergence of technology with a limited number of fourth generation chatbot vendors, organizations may rightfully be confused as to what implementation strategy they should use. Answering that question in part depends on where you are in your chat bot journey.
This may be one of the times you’re being rewarded for not being an early adopter! If you’re now in the consideration phase of chat bot implementation, it is a critical moment to step back and reassess your approach. If your chat bot vendor is not one of the identified fourth generation chat bot vendors, you may be limiting yourself right out of the gate. You would be strongly encouraged to reassess your bot engagement strategy.
This is a refrain that is unfortunately becoming all too familiar. While organizations saw some initially encouraging results, as customer inquiries become more complex, the chabots became less and less useful. Whether this is due to limitations in the NLP, a lack of machine learning, a lack of dialog management or the inability to be full transactional, the limitations of current chatbots are quickly becoming evident. Organizations falling into this category should start planning to move to a fourth generation chatbot provider in order to future-proof their virtual customer assistant platform.
Congratulations on using a fourth generation chat bot provider. You’ve made the right decision and you are on a future-proof platform. However, we understand the challenges you face in implementing this in the enterprise and tying together all the various components. At Jacada, we provide the first graphical drag-and-drop chat bot design environment that brings together the sophistication of the fourth generation AI technology, coupled with dialog management and transactional capabilities – all in a code-free environment. This allows for the rapid assembly of fourth generation chat bots by selecting the best components in the ecosystem and seamlessly bringing them together.
Fourth generation chat bots are going to be cross channel industry leading AI engines, coupled with an ecosystem of supplemental technologies.
At Jacada we help organizations in developing their chat bot roadmap, and we provide a unique “bot framework” to assist in fourth generation chat bot implementation.
This bot framework includes the ability to create sophisticated dialog management, centralize all the orchestration between the components, and use robotic process automation to surface more transactions and remove the human element. All through a visual code-free environment.
For more information, visit www.jacada.com
[About the author] As Chief Marketing Officer, Chris’ responsibilities at Jacada include global Go-To-Market strategy, corporate positioning, and marketing strategy and campaigns. Chris has over 20 years of experience in product management, marketing and software development having held several senior leadership positions. Before joining Jacada, Chris founded a successful software consulting company providing large scale software systems to Fortune 500 companies. Outside of work, Chris enjoys app development, automated trading algorithms and provides pro-bono legal services. Chris holds a BS Computer Science and a JD, and is admitted to practice in the State Bar of California
1 - http://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/gartner-predicts-a-virtual-world-of-exponential-change/
Publish Date: September 1, 2017 5:00 AM
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