The Role of Chatbots in the Intranet

Realizing the significance of a decentralized approach to sharing, accessing and updating organizational information, many companies have integrated intranets into their businesses.

Successful intranets not only have an outstanding track record of increasing employee collaboration and engagement, they have also emerged as major contributors for effective knowledge management within the organization.

However, there are two sides to every coin. If there is no proper maintenance and continuous upgradation of the intranet, adoption rates fall drastically and employees slowly start to lose interest in its usage.

The intranet is becoming stale, there is no fresh content to share and accessing information takes a lot of time” – This is the most often heard complaint from employees about intranets. Their concern is valid. Typically, it takes about three years for any organization to see any kind of value from the usage of an intranet.

During this time, if the content on the intranet is not updated on an ongoing basis or the intranet lacks essential features such as social networking, gamification etc., employees lose interest quickly and eventually stop using it. Consequently, the intranet becomes a glorified shared folder or a central repository.

How can Chatbots Help?

Before diving into the answer, let’s understand chatbots:

A chatbot is a software, which is often powered by machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to generate appropriate responses to a user’s query. The conversation between the user and bot happens through a chat interface using textual or auditory methods.

You use numerous messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Skype For Business, etc. to communicate with another human. When it comes to chatbots, you can use the same conversational interfaces to converse with a piece of software.

Read more about chatbots here

Speaking of messaging apps, did you know that chatbots can now be integrated with Skype for Business?

By leveraging UCWA (Unified Communications Web API) and using Bot Framework Direct Line API, we have developed an enterprise ready connector for Skype for Business.

Get more details about world’s first bots on Skype For Business here

Coming back to our main question – how can chatbots help?, here are 5 ways a chatbot can leverage the productivity of an intranet.

5 ways chatbots can revolutionize intranets

The Power of “Push” and “Pull”

Let’s say you want to send a message to a co-worker. You either send an email or a skype (or any other app) message. Your co-worker notices the message/email and responds back. In this case, you are “pushing” the message to your co-worker. The co-worker doesn’t ask if you have any message for him/her.

Intranet, on the other hand, is a pull medium. Employees have to login to the intranet server and then check if there are any new updates, notifications, messages, etc.

A chatbot, however, offers both push and pull options.

The Push: This feature lets chatbots notify its users about the important and relevant updates, news, announcements stored in the intranet. Based on location or designation of an employee, the chatbot sends a relevant pop-up message.

This feature of a chatbot encourages employees to use the intranet more often and thereby boosting adoption rates.

The Pull: By default, intranets have the pull feature. But chatbots can leverage it with their brilliant user experience.

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Hasslefree Access to Information

Any organization’s intranet is stacked with tons of data, and employees find it exceedingly challenging to locate information.

The simple and brilliant Q&A based conversational interface of a chatbot enables users to ask one question at a time and narrows down only the relevant data they need.

For example, let’s say Rachel from accounting wants to know the latest organizational updates and policies in the intranet. Without a chatbot, she has to manually check all the relevant pages/sites in the intranet to find out what has/hasn’t changed.

This long and drawn out procedure discourages her from using the intranet in the future.

A chatbot acts as the voice of an intranet and gives the intranet, a persona. By using a chatbot, Rachael can simply send a quick message like “What’s new?” and get all the required information.

Also, she doesn’t have to visit the intranet website/app for sending the message. An intranet bot will be at her service on the enterprise’s most-used communication platform (Skype, Slack, Skype For Business etc.).

For example, let’s say Rachel from accounting wants to find the company’s HR and financial policies for 2008. Without a chatbot, she would have had to browse through all sorts of irrelevant data before she could get what she requires. This long and drawn out procedure discourages her from using the intranet in the future.

A chatbot acts as the voice of an intranet and gives the intranet, a persona. Rachel can simply send ask the chatbot “What were the company’s HR and financial policies in 2008?” and get a detailed report of all the policies in a few seconds.

Quick Suggestions

Chatbots are quick in answering user queries and also suggesting employees about additional available data at various stages.

Consider this scenario: Rachel obtained all the HR and financial policies from the chatbot and now needs a list of marketing department’s current projects.

After giving out the list, the chatbot can even suggest that she take a look at all the people working on different projects or the ETC’s of the projects, etc. (according to the availability of data in the intranet).

Easy Updating with Automation

In a typical work day, authors require 3-4 hours to update the intranet with fresh content. A chatbot enables automation of the updating process, thereby reducing the required time to just 30 minutes and improving the work productivity of the author.

Faster Access and Sharing of Data

It was found out in one study that 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of delivery. Unlike traditional notifications which are usually ignored by users, a chatbot’s messages have a higher chance of being seen and responded to as well. Also, there is no need to login to use a chatbot.

Additionally, chatbots extend the reach of an intranet into popular messaging apps like Slack, Skype for Business, Telegram, etc.

Lastly, in some cases, chatbots don’t even need mobile data to function. If chatbots are integrated with SMS services, users don’t even need the internet to communicate with the bot.

Conclusion

Integration of a chatbot onto an intranet increases employee work productivity and efficiency. The conversational interface of a chatbot encourages them to use the intranet more, thereby boosting the intranet’s adoption rates. The push and pull features of a chatbot combined with its brilliant user experience enhances overall usability of an intranet.

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