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Chatbots now incorporate AI and can provide users with a better experience while simplifying mobility management for IT.
Mobile chatbots -- virtual assistants on mobile devices that simulate human conversation via text or voice interactions -- have become smarter, more efficient and better suited to enterprise use cases in recent years.
Not only can mobile chatbots for enterprise use help optimize the experience of both internal and external users, but they can also improve and simplify IT's day-to-day operations.
The intelligent chatbot
Mobile chatbots make it easier for end users to access business information, perform common tasks and navigate workflows without interfacing with multiple mobile apps. Virtual assistants, such as Siri and Google Assistant, are popular examples of chatbot technology that mobile users can take advantage of.
Traditionally, chatbots have rule-based interfaces with a focused and defined scope. Specific rules determine how the chatbot responds to user questions and actions. Chatbots have been limited to routine and predictable operations. For years, chatbots were incapable of learning or evolving without direct developer intervention.
For this reason, chatbot developers have begun to incorporate AI technologies, such as machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing, into the latest chatbots. With these additions, the chatbots can respond to users more effectively, carry out more complex tasks and make real-time decisions based on past data. Users can input commands more naturally with fewer misinterpretations from the chatbot, which are able to take into account the different ways that users can phrase a single request.
Until recently, mobile chatbots catered primarily to the consumer market. Now, chatbots for enterprise use are popping up more and more. In either case, the underlying principles are the same: The smarter the chatbot, the better it can serve the user, whether inside or outside the corporate firewall.
Chatbots help end users and IT
End users can interact with chatbots embedded in custom business applications, as stand-alone applications built to help users troubleshoot or even as mobile-friendly web applications.
Chatbots can ease much of the burden on corporate help desks, whether serving internal or external users. For example, chatbots can explain how to interface with an application, connect users to specific business resources, such as protected files, or provide details about how to download a business app. The more answers that chatbots can provide users before they contact the help desk, the fewer demands on IT resources to provide personal intervention. At the same time, a smart chatbot must know when an issue is too complicated to handle on its own and seamlessly escalate the issue to IT when necessary.
As mobile chatbot technologies mature, they'll also get better at initiating actions that could help streamline IT operations. They can integrate with automated processes that carry out specific tasks. For example, an employee working in the field might use a chatbot to report that a network resource is unavailable. The message could automatically kick off a process that scans the network for potential bottlenecks. By the time an IT pro becomes available to address the issue, this scan is already underway or completed.
IT professionals could also benefit from chatbots for enterprise use cases as part of their management processes for mobile users. For example, an IT admin might ask a chatbot for an update on the database servers that support customer-facing mobile apps, specifically looking for irregular I/O consumption or high levels of contention. Chatbots could also be useful for performing day-to-day operations, such as onboarding new devices or generating inventories of managed devices. Any mundane or repeatable tasks that IT professionals must routinely perform are potential use cases for chatbot technologies.
Smart chatbot adoption
IT departments that manage enterprise mobility have a lot on their plates to keep all aspects of their deployment running and secure, and AI-enabled chatbots for enterprise use promise to alleviate at least some of this burden. The technology is still relatively young and has limited capabilities, however, especially within enterprise settings.
Smart chatbots rely on large quantities of data to realize their full potential, which presents a particular challenge for smaller organizations. In addition, smart chatbots may require significant development efforts, especially when compared to traditional rule-based chatbots.
Even so, chatbots based on AI technologies show a great deal of potential, and their numbers are likely to grow as the technology improves and capabilities expand, causing them to become an increasingly important consideration in enterprise mobility.