Digital assistants (DA) have evolved from basic tasks like placing online food orders, checking the weather, getting sports updates, and listening to music in the car. Digital assistants are becoming increasingly sophisticated! Many more use cases are guiding various market innovations in various verticals.
Technological advances, increasing demand for outsourced assistance, increased focus on enhancing customer loyalty, the acceptance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, and improvements in Natural Language Understanding (NLU), Natural Language Processing (NLP), and the Internet of Things are all driving the global digital assistant sector (IoT).
By 2024, the number of digital assistants will reach 8.4 billion units — a number higher than the world’s population! In fact, we believe that by 2022, 70% of white-collar workers will interact with conversational platforms on a daily basis.
By deployment, the global DA market is segmented into on-premise and on-cloud. Of these, the on-cloud segment will have the largest share in the market.
What is a Digital Assistant (DA)?
Digital assistants primarily employ advanced artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), natural language understanding (NLU), and machine learning (ML) to learn user preferences and have a customized, conversational interface. For instance, DA might respond to a complex request like, “Schedule a flight to Phoenix for me next Sunday using my usual seating preference and arrange transportation to and from the airport.” The digital assistant would need to reach several sources in order to react to this request — a capability that ordinary chatbots lack. More on DA
Chatbots usually simulate, a written or spoken human conversation so that people can interact with their digital devices as if they were communicating with a real person. More on Chatbot Example — When you tell Alexa to order your favorite coffee drink, you are interacting with a chatbot.
A Digital Assistant is not the same as a Chatbot. Since a digital assistant is a more sophisticated form of chatbot that can manage more complicated communications in a conversational manner, there is some misunderstanding. So, all digital assistants are chatbots, but not all chatbots are digital assistants, to put it another way.
Example — Customers prefers self-service support to find answers quickly online at their convenience and for the contact center agents it helps to promptly answer their customers questions on chat or phone with reference from knowledge base to provide better customer experience will always result in greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.
What Can a Digital Assistant Do?
Knowledge Advanced enables organizations to effectively create and refine their knowledge assets to deliver a seamless cross-channel customer experience for both end customers and contact center agents.
Consumers can use digital assistants like Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana to get answers to a variety of questions and get feedback based on their profile, past behavior, and other data.
For businesses, a digital assistant may serve as a single point of contact for contractors and customers. They are most widely used in customer service centers to handle incoming messages as well as for internal purposes including onboarding new employees.
Digital assistants are commonly used in IT operations to improve the service management experience by automating employee resources and making them more available to a wider audience. Through an integrated knowledge base about items or login support, device status changes, outage notifications, and order status to help end users anytime and anywhere 24/7, Digital Assistants may minimize high call volume and assist with the most common queries.
Oracle Digital Assistant (ODA)
ODA, like most Digital Assistants today, recognizes meaning, extracts intent, and identifies and learns user habits and patterns in order to proactively automate routine tasks.
On the other hand, ODA is based on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and goes well beyond today’s traditional digital assistants, which provide quick, single-skilled, linear responses. Oracle is in a unique position to exploit its scope and depth in business applications to deliver a digital assistant that can truly cover the enterprise by using AI for NLP, NLU, and ML.
The voice interface allows users to communicate with ODA, but it is platform agnostic and designed for common messaging channels such as Slack, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Alexa. Businesses can track usage and obtain real-time insights into user activity and app efficiency for continued review and improvements since analytics are built-in. More on ODA.
Key Business Benefits of Oracle Digital Assistant
Oracle provides customized AI-powered Digital Assistants that significantly improve user experience, performance, and productivity. Utilize a single, all-encompassing digital assistant that can be programmed to support various application domain skills from HR, ERP, CRM, and CX.
- ODA uses AI to automate routine tasks including expense approvals and meeting rescheduling by proactively recognizing context, determining purpose, and identifying and learning user habits and behavior.
- ODA, which was designed and developed on the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, delivers quick, single-skilled, linear responses that have transformed today’s traditional chatbots and can now provide digital assistance across the enterprise.
- Businesses can use automation and intelligent bot creation to map out how to boost interaction, improve performance, and reduce costs.
- Chatbots that handle ‘low-fidelity’ consumer communications free up call center resources to handle inquiries that need additional human involvement.
- ODA allows you to improve any finance or operations process by allowing users to collaborate through several applications in real time. Pre-built skills mean that Oracle Cloud ERP and SCM users have these skills pre-installed and can use them right away.
- Since ODA is AI-driven, finance teams no longer have to sift through data, which reduces human error. You can submit receipts on the fly, and ODA breezes through workflows and enforces policies easily. The assistant assists finance teams in making better use of their scarce time and money by assisting them with more value-added strategic initiatives.
- Organizations can use skills from the Skill Store, a centralized repository of prebuilt skills designed to work with Oracle’s SaaS applications, or develop their own skills and save them for reuse in an ODA skill catalogue. Skills linked to various Oracle applications can be supported by a single digital assistant. As a result, instead of interacting with a different assistant for each application, users only need to communicate with one digital assistant to connect with several enterprise chatbots and cloud application services at the same time.
- ODA is currently the only enterprise conversational AI platform that offers both extensible pre-built skills and a full platform for developing custom skills as required. Organizations around the world will get the help they need to boost performance, experience, and productivity with Oracle Digital Assistant incorporated across all applications to address a broad range of business needs.
Innovative Use Cases
The following are some innovative use cases of ODA:
Use Case 1 — Supply Chain
SCM teams may use ODA to send real-time status reports to employees and customers while also enabling collaboration. To satisfy demanding customers, the assistant enables supply chain stakeholders to efficiently share resources, data, responsibilities, and performance metrics. Self-service capability is now available to teams, making it easier to keep track of complex supply chain events including orders and shipments. These features aid SCM teams in democratizing knowledge access, allowing organizations to streamline collaboration.
Use Case 2 — Business Operations
Office Depot made use of ODA’s pre-built Oracle Cloud CX Service integration. They needed to concentrate on more automation and self-service opportunities to reduce unwanted interaction with their global contact centers and from their customers, given the new workforce effect and reduced demand due to COVID-19. The Assistant answered simple support questions automatically, intelligently passed the problem on to a human agent, and then shared the initial communication thread with the agent, reducing the agent’s handling time and avoiding needless and repetitive questions.
Use Case 3 — Delivery Services
Hermes makes use of ODA to build AI-powered digital assistants. Developers can use this cloud-based software platform to build natural conversational interfaces to enterprise systems using text or voice. They can now handle 38% of all chat length, and Hermes has cut the number of help interactions that involve a person by 30%.
Development with Oracle Digital Assistant
With a web-based, drag-and-drop interface, the ODA platform supports no-code creation, allowing business subject matter experts to design and train digital assistants using visual and declarative resources without requiring advanced development or AI skills.
Developers, for example, only need to click a few menu items in the platform UI to construct the initial digital assistant interface. After that, the required skills from the skill catalogue or store can be retrieved and applied. There are a few more steps to cloning or importing existing skills and creating custom skills from scratch, but no coding is needed.
Whatever method is used to construct a skill, it must be given an invocation name so that it can be directly invoked by digital assistant users who want to use it. In order for ODA’s purpose engine to recognize when users want to invoke an ability, developers must provide example utterances.
When a user interacts with a digital assistant, it weighs automatically generated trust scores against a collection of routing parameters to determine the user’s feedback and decide how to proceed. The discussion can be directed to a specific skill, a different point in the dialogue flow, or a pre-programmed device purpose, such as the digital assistant’s exit and support functions.
Developers may use ODA’s built-in analytics to monitor how their digital assistants are being used and performing. The analytics tools can, for example, classify execution routes, monitor conversation patterns, determine intent accuracy, and provide other real-time insights. They also recommend performance tuning solutions for digital assistants to make them run more efficiently.
Digital Assistants are no longer limited to act as mere FAQ bots. Now, They’re a powerful tool for empowering consumers and companies. Digital Assistants are already here, and it is time to innovate and automate.
As the digital assistant market and technology is poised towards growth, the one wonderful aspect of digital assistants is that they can combine data/solutions across systems and can help answer questions across various knowledge domains. There seem to be no limits to innovation and ideation towards building customer centric solutions that can provide better experience and ROI.
With futuristic aspects like no-code with ODA, the development and deployment timelines are so short that the time to market for these solutions makes them impressive for adoption.
In my opinion, the digital assistants of today are great for responses with good customer experience, but however lack the emotional aspect of an interaction between a human and an assistant. The future with technology in the DA space would be that the DA can recognize the current emotional state and provide a response that is smart, conversational and communicates to users at an emotional level.
We would love to discuss ideas and spark conversation using the Oracle Digital Assistant platform for your organization! You can contact us here.
This blog was written by Mahesh Jeyakumar, Practice Director, CX Service at SoftClouds. Mahesh has extensive experience with CRM/CX Enterprise & Cloud Applications. He has a deep understanding of CRM/CX Platforms and has delivered multiple CX implementations globally for various industry verticals. Mahesh is very focused on quality customer relationships with a goal to transform complex problems to simple by creative thinking. High specialization in CX Service & Solutions.
SoftClouds is a recognized leader in CRM/CX transformation with experience in numerous Service Cloud Implementations with pre-configured best practice business processes for multiple verticals/domains.
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