AI: From Decision-making BI to Conversational Assistance


Christophe Bourguignat

Co-founder, CEO




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For decades, Business Intelligence (BI) has provided employees with access to company’s critical data, to help them manage their business.


BI traditionally takes the form of dashboards, reports, or portals.


However, despite recent progress — especially the agility provided by the cloud — these solutions have some limitations : complex interfaces, information difficult to find, lack of interactivity, etc. … They remain dedicated to a limited population of specialized analysts.


Many of our clients (managers, officers, executives, …) tell us they waste time, drowned in the flow of information, despite the plethora of data analysis tools available to them. They are finding it increasingly difficult to get fast, straightforward answers to even simple questions (how many sales did I make yesterday? Who are my best clients?).


The best way to get an answer to a question is to ask


It is time to rethink the way employees access key information, taking their place.

Conversational assistance (expressing your demand in natural language and getting the answer instantly, not looking for it in an application) is a powerful way to achieve it. It allows to easily connect those who ask the questions (the business owners: how many customer invoices are unpaid, and which ones are most at risk?), to those who have the answers (experts, data analyst, data scientist, …).


Conversational AI is probably the last mile that was missing to link strategic business data to all the employees.



A conversational infrastructure already in place


Companies already have “pipes” to convey conversations: instant messaging such as Skype for Business, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout, and more. … It’s an opportunity!


Without even a new application to install on the workstation, without additional password to remember, without any new software to assimilate, it becomes possible to instantly connect intelligent virtual assistants to thousands of collaborators.



Still young AI, but learning


Let us be clear: even if the Artificial Intelligences we are talking about here are beginning to be deployed, they are still far from being 100% autonomous. Since strong AI does not yet exist, human supervision remains compulsory : adaptation to data sources, configuration of conversations, pre-computing of predictive scores, etc.

But the conversational essence of these solutions has a unique advantage over traditional web applications. The analysis of the dialogues that they generate allows these systems to listen to the users, to understand their intentions, and to make the necessary to respond to them — by modifying the business rules at first and then by applying machine learning in a second stage.

This speed of convergence towards a service more and more adapted to their users is at the heart of the efficiency and success of conversational AI.



What to remember: Conversational AI will be a competitive differentiator for companies that will adopt its first forms


According to Gartner, by 2020, 50% of analytic requests will be generated using search engines, natural language processing or voice — or will be generated automatically.

They add that “businesses that have not begun the process of deploying Virtual Assistants to interact with employees should start now”.

It thus becomes strategic for companies to endow their vital forces with the first forms of intelligent virtual assistants. These will be the competitive differentiators of collaborators and organizations that have learned to implement them early enough.




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