Omnichannel BOTs (Business Operations Transformers) are a growing consumer engagement trend in AI and Machine Learning. These "intelligent" chat, email, and desktop reference helpers are popping up everywhere as Alexa and Google Home are penetrating even the most non-technical consumer's lives. BOTs understand simple human inquiries and provide meaningful valuable information, insights, and even carry out simple requests. (e.g. Alexa, play Bohemian Rhapsody, volume 10). One growing realization is that these BOTs need to engage customers through multiple channels with the same content/insights. The bottom line is that BOTs are merely a collection of collaborative APIs all driven by AI and Machine Learning to evolve, guided by expert business teachers to meet customer needs and offload simple interactions to a single source of intelligence available via multiple channels.
Omnichannel Requires APIs
Chat, voice, email, we all have our go-to channels we prefer and businesses are understanding that if they engage us as customers, via those preferred channels, we will become more trusted partners with them. Key to that is APIs. (See Vanick Digital API Reference Architecture). BOTs are really just a set of APIs, organized and managed to take advantage of Natural Language Processing (NLP), Lexical Analysis, and connected with information and insights. More and more, millennials and others are embracing Snapchat BOTs and other AI interfaces they can use with phones. BOTs don't need big screens to communicate. Core to maximizing BOT engagement with customers, clients, partners, and operations agents, is to use it's omnichannel capabilities to adapt to the channel, operational workstation desktop BOTs (remember the paper clip from MS Office?), that can watch what is happening on the desktop, and pitch in with business even notifications, insights, and ask if the agent wants BOT to "take over" with a skill it has been taught. Key to getting to an Omnichannel connection for your BOTs are considering how you might productize those BOTs (See Productization Applied to APIs: How It Works).
Insights from Big Data Investments
BOTS can be taught to pay attention to insights from big-data advanced analytics and forward those insights onto customers and clients. Insights that aren't acted on by business agents, customers, or clients are a wasted investment. Integration of each insight into a business activity can be triggered by associating those insights to key business events that standardized business capability micro-processes manage. BOTs learn these micro-processes through Machine Learning instruction sessions from superstar operational agents within your organization. Teach your BOTs well...don't just let anyone teach them. Insights should trigger action...BOTs can make sure customers, clients, and business agents are aware...and they can choose whether or not to act.
BOTS are "Skilled" Workers
Micro-processes built through Machine Learning instruction...is a mouthful...so let's just shorten them to Business Skills. Amazon Echo Skills are a mature API development environment on Amazon Web Services. These skills are the perfect micro service granularity to handle a frequently utilized request. Buying products, setting sleep timers, getting that favorite team score...there are THOUSANDS of these in the Echo Skills Universe. Your business has skills that your customers, clients, and associates could benefit from. Skills are a perfect way of biting off small, repetitive business capabilities and using BOTs to deliver them. Better yet, the skills evolve one-at-a-time, and so can your BOTs. Take advantage of your autonomous API Development team's productized APIs (See API Productization & Team Autonomy), by considering which could be added as new BOT skills. All because you started building your BOTs with APIs in mind.