AI-powered enterprise chatbots are the future: Ramco CMO

Harsh Vardhan G, Chief Marketing Officer at Ramco Systems, highlights how the emergence of bots will take the user to a cognitive era and, what it means for Indian businesses.

With technology invading every nook and corner of our life, the emergence of bots and chatbots are all set to transform the way humans interact and deal with their daily life.

According to a recent Gartner report, by 2020, an average person will have more conversations with chatbots than with his/her spouse. The report also states that static applications will soon be replaced by conversational bots, which will simplify the user experience. Instead of learning to use an app or screen, users can converse with bots, in terms of speech input and output, or texting, to carry out a transaction.

On that note, Harsh Vardhan G, chief marketing officer at Ramco Systems, highlights how the emergence of bots will take the user to a cognitive era, what it means for Indian businesses, and how Ramco is building prototypes to bring chatbots into the enterprise space.

Edited excerpts.

The emergence of bots will take Indian businesses to a cognitive era. Please comment.

Bots are nothing but digital assistants that help users to complete regular transactions with much ease. With the onset of artificial intelligence and natural language processing, cognitive computing is gaining newer heights. Businesses which hitherto benefited from enterprise class systems and gave them visibility, have found a more efficient and agile tool to complete business transactions.

While the nature of jobs may change with the emergence of bots, it will likely not be lost. The focus on elementary-level or front office support jobs, such as customer service, will shift to more value-added and strategic tasks, providing better brand perception for businesses. Intuitive enterprise software can also slash labor budgets, and help the skilled staff focus on higher-level work.

Indian organizations usually have large employee base and any technology that simplifies managing employees is a great way to attract businesses.

It is completely aimed at simplifying the user experience and driving productivity. Enterprise chatbots are all set to transform the way we interact with systems. The integration of cognitive capabilities and robotic process automation (RPA), is truly moving Indian organizations to embrace digitalization.

How is Ramco bringing bots into the enterprise space? What is your differentiation strategy to stand out in the market?

At Ramco, there has been a rapid proliferation of chatbots. Although we develop bots to replace mundane and repetitive tasks, there is also enough intelligence built into them which enables them to offer suggestions and learn, which could be valuable, especially in any kind of advisory role. We have developed umpteen number of bots that can carry out repetitive transactions for the various sectors, such as HR, aviation, and logistics.

The market is definitely flooded with consumer bots who deal with work, such as hotel booking or weather updates. However, I totally believe that the world of enterprise chatbots is still emerging and has immense potential.

Also read: Chatbots: Chatting up the enterprise world

Ramco’s mobile-friendly, REST API is a highly capable technology platform. Therefore, it does not pose much of a challenge to connect. This framework is also capable of connecting to third-party data sources for an integrated experience. We are betting on this technology as we believe user experience will be of paramount importance in future.

What are the different ways Ramco’s bots are helping in improving workplace productivity?

The bots developed for aviation industry cover an entire gamut of functions, such as part availability, handling aircraft-on-ground situations, customer relationships, stock status and more. A mechanic can gain visibility on all this just by interacting with a bot, which will respond by pulling up data, process videos, etcetera.

For human capital management, we have developed a type of bot that covers employee expenses, travel durations, day offs, payments, benefits and more. Typically, transactions which are recurrent and repetitive in nature are best addressed by bot automation.

On the human resource front, our bots cover a whole range of employee self-service requirements—more like a personal office assistant. The point of bots is to streamline the digital workflow for everyday processes so that time isn’t spent wading through menus.

Our bots are able to support functions that include employees’ leave, expenses, schedules, payroll, travel planning etcetera.

What kind of growth do you see in the Indian market? What kind of challenges do you face while integrating the bots?

Indian organizations are gradually embracing the digital disruption brought by automation. The onset of bots, will help increase productivity, improve efficiency, and change the way in which Indian organizations have been functioning.

Technologies like artificial intelligence and natural language processing will enable machines to automate routine and repetitive tasks, resulting in employees focusing on other business-critical issues. Indian organizations usually have large employee base and any technology that simplifies managing employees or gives productivity improvement is a great way to attract businesses.

Related: Why bots are poised to disrupt the enterprise

While integrating the bots, we ensure a smooth transition, active engagement, and a long-term user retention. We examine the key pain points of our customers and give them a reason to transform systems.

We changed the typical email, mobile and messaging user interface to a one-time validation, self-service, zero-UI system—something that users can manage with a simple exchange of texts. From a back-end perspective, it’s almost like a customer relationship management system.

Ramco’s bots have strong internal and external security and accept requests only from certain hosts or domains. We would definitely like to see the bot-era gaining momentum, if not as much as the app economy did.