Topics

Any Experience Here with Virtual Agents/Chat Bots?


jacobwatts <jacob.watts@...>
 

We are currently investigating the possibility of implementing a virtual agent (chat bot, intelligent agent, virtual CSR, there doesn't appear to be an industry standard term yet). We're in discussions with a couple of potential vendors, but finding legitimate vendors hasn't been easy. Our basic requirements include the ability to handle various service requests which requires integration with disparate systems (i.e.: balance inquiries, make payments, change contract terms, etc.), as well as incorporate our knowledge base, which at this point we're thinking would be implemented with a co-browsing approach.

Does anyone have experience in this area? Any insight to offer as to what questions we should be asking that maybe aren't obvious? Or a recommendation of a vendor to consider?

Thanks in advance.


john.mcquary@...
 

A few years ago, we looked at a free tool from Verbot
http://www.verbots.com/ , but while it made a fun demonstration, it never
seemed like a professional solution. About that same time, Miss Dewey came
out which provided a glimpse into what a chat bot could become.
Unfortunately, the Miss Dewey site is no longer available.


------------------------------------------------------------
The information transmitted is intended only for the person
or entity to which it is addressed and may contain
proprietary, business-confidential and/or privileged material.
If you are not the intended recipient of this message you are
hereby notified that any use, review, retransmission, dissemination,
distribution, reproduction or any action taken in reliance upon
this message is prohibited. If you received this in error, please
contact the sender and delete the material from any computer.

Any views expressed in this message are those of the individual
sender and may not necessarily reflect the views of the company.
------------------------------------------------------------


jacobwatts <jacob.watts@...>
 

Thank you for your response, John. I took a look at Verbots for the sake of due diligence, but have to agree that it doesn't seem like a professional solution.

Looking at the minimal response to my inquiry, I guess there isn't much experience with this market segment in our group. That isn't surprising, since the vendors we are looking at have only been in business for a few years and have a short list of customers. But seeing how these front-end systems are typically tied in with a KM system of some form, it will be interesting to see how this evolves in the next decade or so as the technology gains traction. That's an assumptive statement, but I do believe virtual agents will become more common, and has potential to eventually become the de facto standard.

--- In sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com, john.mcquary@... wrote:

A few years ago, we looked at a free tool from Verbot
http://www.verbots.com/ , but while it made a fun demonstration, it never
seemed like a professional solution. About that same time, Miss Dewey came
out which provided a glimpse into what a chat bot could become.
Unfortunately, the Miss Dewey site is no longer available.


Keshav Rajgopal
 

Couple of year ago I had seen a demo of eGain virtual agent. I suppose this is still available as on offering - http://www.egain.com/products/virtual_agent.asp
I had also seen one live deployment of this solution for one of the Japaneese banks. As long as the questions are simple and clear the ChatBot can answer correctly. You can checkout a demo on site accessible through a link on th right side - "Chat with us".

Hope this info is helpful.
Regards
Keshav Rajgopal


From: "jacobwatts"
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 21:24:40 -0000
To: <sikmleaders@...>
Subject: [sikmleaders] Re: Any Experience Here with Virtual Agents/Chat Bots?

Thank you for your response, John. I took a look at Verbots for the sake of due diligence, but have to agree that it doesn't seem like a professional solution.

Looking at the minimal response to my inquiry, I guess there isn't much experience with this market segment in our group. That isn't surprising, since the vendors we are looking at have only been in business for a few years and have a short list of customers. But seeing how these front-end systems are typically tied in with a KM system of some form, it will be interesting to see how this evolves in the next decade or so as the technology gains traction. That's an assumptive statement, but I do believe virtual agents will become more common, and has potential to eventually become the de facto standard.


--- In sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com, john.mcquary@... wrote:
>
> A few years ago, we looked at a free tool from Verbot
> http://www.verbots.com/ , but while it made a fun demonstration, it never
> seemed like a professional solution. About that same time, Miss Dewey came
> out which provided a glimpse into what a chat bot could become.
> Unfortunately, the Miss Dewey site is no longer available.
>


Steve Ardire <sardire@...>
 

Keshav - I hadn't looked at demo of eGain virtual agent in a number of yrs.

The eGain virtual agent is using a case based reasoning engine from a software startup called Big Science that eGain acquired in 2000. You can also see it here http://www.kurzweilai.net as the underlying conversational engine for Ramona ( Ray Kurzweil's alter ego ) with a LifeFX pretty face ( company is no longer around )

I was involved with Big Science, eGain and LifeFX ;)

- Steve


On Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 11:51 PM, <jpnagar@...> wrote:


Couple of year ago I had seen a demo of eGain virtual agent. I suppose this is still available as on offering - http://www.egain.com/products/virtual_agent.asp
I had also seen one live deployment of this solution for one of the Japaneese banks. As long as the questions are simple and clear the ChatBot can answer correctly. You can checkout a demo on site accessible through a link on th right side - "Chat with us".

Hope this info is helpful.
Regards
Keshav Rajgopal


From: "jacobwatts"
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 21:24:40 -0000
To: <sikmleaders@...>
Subject: [sikmleaders] Re: Any Experience Here with Virtual Agents/Chat Bots?

Thank you for your response, John. I took a look at Verbots for the sake of due diligence, but have to agree that it doesn't seem like a professional solution.

Looking at the minimal response to my inquiry, I guess there isn't much experience with this market segment in our group. That isn't surprising, since the vendors we are looking at have only been in business for a few years and have a short list of customers. But seeing how these front-end systems are typically tied in with a KM system of some form, it will be interesting to see how this evolves in the next decade or so as the technology gains traction. That's an assumptive statement, but I do believe virtual agents will become more common, and has potential to eventually become the de facto standard.

--- In sikmleaders@..., john.mcquary@... wrote:
>
> A few years ago, we looked at a free tool from Verbot
> http://www.verbots.com/ , but while it made a fun demonstration, it never
> seemed like a professional solution. About that same time, Miss Dewey came
> out which provided a glimpse into what a chat bot could become.
> Unfortunately, the Miss Dewey site is no longer available.
>



jacobwatts <jacob.watts@...>
 

Good stuff guys - appreciate the responses.

-Jacob

--- In sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com, Steve Ardire <sardire@...> wrote:

Keshav - I hadn't looked at demo of eGain virtual agent in a number of yrs.

The eGain virtual agent is using a case based reasoning engine from a
software startup called Big Science that eGain acquired in 2000. You can
also see it here http://www.kurzweilai.net as the underlying conversational
engine for Ramona ( Ray Kurzweil's alter ego ) with a LifeFX pretty face (
company is no longer around )

I was involved with Big Science, eGain and LifeFX ;)

- Steve


On Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 11:51 PM, <jpnagar@...> wrote:



Couple of year ago I had seen a demo of eGain virtual agent. I suppose
this is still available as on offering -
http://www.egain.com/products/virtual_agent.asp
I had also seen one live deployment of this solution for one of the
Japaneese banks. As long as the questions are simple and clear the ChatBot
can answer correctly. You can checkout a demo on site accessible through a
link on th right side - "Chat with us".

Hope this info is helpful.
Regards
Keshav Rajgopal


Jamie Martino
 

Hello everyone, 

Picking up a 8 year old conversation just proves that this community can provide true value!

My present company is now, too, looking into setting up a chatbot in order to help ease findability and give a sense of direction to our very large SharePoint environment, help desks, etc. to (initially) new comers and their managers. From a KM perspective, my concern lies in the already present missing links in how our data is managed, searched, discovered, analyzed and leveraged to promote business objectives, but I do believe this is a great starting point. 

If any of you have experience or can add to the list of questions I should be asking (new territory), that would be great!

Thanks in advance. 
Best, 
Jamie


Robert L. Bogue
 

Jamie –

 

Can I ask why you’re looking for another technology solution to support a broken process?  Sorry, I love technology and it’s fun to work on cool things but if the core issues are information architecture all a Chat Bot will do is patch up an already bad situation.   If you’re going to spend time to train the chat bot, why wouldn’t you train search with promoted results?

 

Perhaps I’m in a grumpy mood this morning but it seems to me that organizations all too often jump to the next search engine, platform, or technology when what they need to do is get a handle on why their current systems aren’t working.  (Here’s a hint.  It’s people – and the reason the people aren’t working is because they’ve not been supported sufficiently.)

 

Rob

 

-------------------

Robert L. Bogue

Find me Phone: (317) 844-5310  Blog: http://www.thorprojects.com/blog

 

From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...]
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 8:09 AM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: [sikmleaders] Re: Any Experience Here with Virtual Agents/Chat Bots?

 

 

Hello everyone, 

 

Picking up a 8 year old conversation just proves that this community can provide true value!

 

My present company is now, too, looking into setting up a chatbot in order to help ease findability and give a sense of direction to our very large SharePoint environment, help desks, etc. to (initially) new comers and their managers. From a KM perspective, my concern lies in the already present missing links in how our data is managed, searched, discovered, analyzed and leveraged to promote business objectives, but I do believe this is a great starting point. 

 

If any of you have experience or can add to the list of questions I should be asking (new territory), that would be great!

 

Thanks in advance. 
Best, 

Jamie


Frank Guerino
 

Hi Jamie,

I was recently involved in the implementation of a Virtual Agent/Chat-Bot for an insurance company.  Here are just a handful of things you’ll want to consider…

  • Ownership
    • Who in the business will own it?
    • Who will own it in IT/IS?
  • Licensing
    • How is it licensed? (E.g. One License Per Instance or One License Per Multiple Instances?)
    • Are you charged by the transaction?
  • Funding
    • Who will fund its initial role out (people, processes, and technologies)?
    • Who will fund its regular technical upgrades and all dependencies (people, processes, and technologies)?
  • Customization and Coding
    • Is the tool configurable or will it require coding (especially for integration)?
    • If coding, how much?
  • Source data/content
    • How will you feed it?  VAs require a great deal of well-structed and well-documented “data”? (Even content must be structured as data.)
    • Who will own source content/data?
    • How will you handle the data governance and mastering of data fed into the VA?
    • How will you handle the data governance and mastering of data received from the VA?
      • How will you decouple the data/content from the technology so that you can reuse it in other solutions (non-VA related)?  You do not want it to reside in the VA system, if you can avoid it, because other tools might also need it and you don’t want multiple copies of the truth.
    • Integration
      • How will you collect it all data and store so that you can feed it into the VA?
        • How many different systems will you need to integrate to make the VA successful?
      • How will the VA feed its data into other systems?
      • How easy is it to integrate the VA into your existing customer support experience (customer support tools, technologies, processes, etc.)?
    • Security
      • How will you handle Records Management?  For example, if a person is logged into the environment and you know who they are, they might be providing PCI, PII, or PHI (healthcare) data/info that may be recorded in the conversation.  Different levels of privacy might effect different solutions for retention.
    • Escalation
      • How will you handle situations where the VA cannot help and the handoff to another system or human has to be handled smoothly and transparently?
    • Business Intelligence & Analytics
      • Does the VA system have built-in historical analytics?
      • Does the VA system have built-in predictive analytics?
      • Who will need VA-related analytics?
      • How frequently will they need it?
      • How will you collect data from the VA system for analytics?
      • How will you build your analytics from the data?

    I hope this helps.

    My Best,

    Frank
    Frank Guerino, Managing Partner
    The International Foundation for Information Technology (IF4IT)
    http://www.if4it.com
    1.908.294.5191 (M)

    From: SIKM Leaders <sikmleaders@...>
    Reply-To: SIKM Leaders <sikmleaders@...>
    Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at 8:09 AM
    To: SIKM Leaders <sikmleaders@...>
    Subject: [sikmleaders] Re: Any Experience Here with Virtual Agents/Chat Bots?

     

    Hello everyone, 


    Picking up a 8 year old conversation just proves that this community can provide true value!

    My present company is now, too, looking into setting up a chatbot in order to help ease findability and give a sense of direction to our very large SharePoint environment, help desks, etc. to (initially) new comers and their managers. From a KM perspective, my concern lies in the already present missing links in how our data is managed, searched, discovered, analyzed and leveraged to promote business objectives, but I do believe this is a great starting point. 

    If any of you have experience or can add to the list of questions I should be asking (new territory), that would be great!

    Thanks in advance. 
    Best, 
    Jamie


    Stephen Bounds
     

    Hi Jamie,

    I've been researching and experimenting with chat interfaces recently.

    I think it's important to remember that chatbots are typically just conversational text interfaces to existing information structures and systems. They aren't a magic bullet and you still need an information architecture. The three main design questions you need to answer are:

    • How will navigation work (push / pull / hybrid), and how is the navigation structure being generated and maintained?
    • What workflow processes are we embedding into the chat interface and why?
    • What information/service endpoints are we exposing through chat and why?
    Push navigation is "You are in a large open plan office. You see a water cooler. There are exits to the north and south. What do you want to do?" Compare to pull navigation which is "Hi. I'm Chatbot. How can I help?"

    Workflow processes imply state management by your chatbot. You need to be able to track state transitions and variables across multiple interactions, as well as identifying and querying your users for missing information.

    Endpoints on the other hand, follow simple request / response models and are typically stateless. "Siri, what's the weather today?" is an information endpoint. "Can you show me all expense claims for the last week?" might be another. A generic search service might handle all requests that are not otherwise understood.

    There is the option to introduce all kinds of neural network and AI goodness on top of this, but fundamentally all chatbots rely upon these three components.

    Cheers,
    -- Stephen.
    ====================================
    Stephen Bounds
    Director & Principal Consultant
    knowquestion Pty Ltd
    E: sb@...
    M: 0401 829 096
    ====================================
    On 26/01/2017 12:09 AM, martinojamie@... [sikmleaders] wrote:

     

    Hello everyone, 


    Picking up a 8 year old conversation just proves that this community can provide true value!

    My present company is now, too, looking into setting up a chatbot in order to help ease findability and give a sense of direction to our very large SharePoint environment, help desks, etc. to (initially) new comers and their managers. From a KM perspective, my concern lies in the already present missing links in how our data is managed, searched, discovered, analyzed and leveraged to promote business objectives, but I do believe this is a great starting point. 

    If any of you have experience or can add to the list of questions I should be asking (new territory), that would be great!

    Thanks in advance. 
    Best, 
    Jamie


    Jamie Martino
     

    Hello to all, 

    Thank you so much for your very quick and thought provoking responses. 

    Robert - yes, this is still my question as well. The only response I have today it that we are looking for a quick win as this will be in-house built (not licensed, etc.), connected to our various systems via APIs, and integrating a natural language service as well as AI agent. Regardless of what we do with the chatbot, I know that some processes, systems, etc. will need to be upgraded, fixed, etc. in order for this to gain traction, and widen its scope. We'll start small and then expand.

    Stephen and Frank - great questions to ask as well. The project is wholly-owned by IT and will involve the participation of other departments in the future. My main concern is the collection, feeding, ownership of data, its related governance, analysis, and re-usability (decoupling). 

    I don't have answers to all of these, but welcome any other comments/ suggestions.
    Thanks again!
    Jamie


    Robert L. Bogue
     

    Jamie –

     

    Can I suggest that you have them define the requirements before building starts?  This feels like a “it’s cool” project rather than one that’s being pursued to address a specific objective.

     

    If you start with what are the barriers or friction points that you hope to solve – and then drive into enough detail to identify the content that needs to be highlighted… you may find that you’ll end up driving the Chat bot with search in the first place.  If that’s the case, you could work on getting it so that search returned the right results.  From there if you still needed the additional interface of a chat bot it could be built…

     

    You may not be able to stop this train but I tend to like train tracks down before I get the train rolling.

     

    Rob

     

    -------------------

    Robert L. Bogue

    Find me Phone: (317) 844-5310  Blog: http://www.thorprojects.com/blog

     

    From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...]
    Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 9:36 AM
    To: sikmleaders@...
    Subject: [sikmleaders] Re: Any Experience Here with Virtual Agents/Chat Bots?

     

     

    Hello to all, 

     

    Thank you so much for your very quick and thought provoking responses. 

     

    Robert - yes, this is still my question as well. The only response I have today it that we are looking for a quick win as this will be in-house built (not licensed, etc.), connected to our various systems via APIs, and integrating a natural language service as well as AI agent. Regardless of what we do with the chatbot, I know that some processes, systems, etc. will need to be upgraded, fixed, etc. in order for this to gain traction, and widen its scope. We'll start small and then expand.

     

    Stephen and Frank - great questions to ask as well. The project is wholly-owned by IT and will involve the participation of other departments in the future. My main concern is the collection, feeding, ownership of data, its related governance, analysis, and re-usability (decoupling). 

     

    I don't have answers to all of these, but welcome any other comments/ suggestions.

    Thanks again!

    Jamie


    Stephen Bounds
     

    Hi Rob,

    Fully agree. Chatbots are definitely hitting 'peak hype' and it's sounding like a classic IT-driven project to me.

    Being more charitable, I can see four reasons to choose chatbots over other existing interfaces:

    • Selective information visibility - lists of hundreds of items can be overwhelming to navigate. Chatbots hide information until it is deemed appropriate to present in context.
    • Conversational - the natural back and forth approach of conversation is highly intuitive to people, especially those less familiar with technology
    • Guided decision making - rather than putting the full cognitive burden for decision-making on people, chatbots can help people make the right choices without remembering all factors they should be taking into consideration
    • Visible history - chatbots maintain full past history of actions in the same window. This can be useful in some circumstances

    Not all of these are equally compelling but I think they are legit in the right circumstances. It would be nice to know which of these IT has in mind :)

    Cheers,
    -- Stephen.

    ====================================
    Stephen Bounds
    Director & Principal Consultant
    knowquestion Pty Ltd
    E: sb@...
    M: 0401 829 096
    ====================================
    On 26/01/2017 2:03 AM, Robert Bogue rbogue@... [sikmleaders] wrote:

     

    Jamie –

     

    Can I suggest that you have them define the requirements before building starts?  This feels like a “it’s cool” project rather than one that’s being pursued to address a specific objective.

     

    If you start with what are the barriers or friction points that you hope to solve – and then drive into enough detail to identify the content that needs to be highlighted… you may find that you’ll end up driving the Chat bot with search in the first place.  If that’s the case, you could work on getting it so that search returned the right results.  From there if you still needed the additional interface of a chat bot it could be built…

     

    You may not be able to stop this train but I tend to like train tracks down before I get the train rolling.

     

    Rob

     

    -------------------

    Robert L. Bogue

    Find me Phone: (317) 844-5310  Blog: http://www.thorprojects.com/blog

     

    From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...]
    Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 9:36 AM
    To: sikmleaders@...
    Subject: [sikmleaders] Re: Any Experience Here with Virtual Agents/Chat Bots?

     

     

    Hello to all, 

     

    Thank you so much for your very quick and thought provoking responses. 

     

    Robert - yes, this is still my question as well. The only response I have today it that we are looking for a quick win as this will be in-house built (not licensed, etc.), connected to our various systems via APIs, and integrating a natural language service as well as AI agent. Regardless of what we do with the chatbot, I know that some processes, systems, etc. will need to be upgraded, fixed, etc. in order for this to gain traction, and widen its scope. We'll start small and then expand.

     

    Stephen and Frank - great questions to ask as well. The project is wholly-owned by IT and will involve the participation of other departments in the future. My main concern is the collection, feeding, ownership of data, its related governance, analysis, and re-usability (decoupling). 

     

    I don't have answers to all of these, but welcome any other comments/ suggestions.

    Thanks again!

    Jamie



    Jamie Martino
     

    Hello Rob, 

    Yes, the requirements, objectives, KPIs are still being defined, as well as how we'll use, re-use, and improve our KBs from the knowledge/ insights that we gain from these future chatbot interactions. It will be interesting to see if having a neutral interface (not directly done on a specific HR, IT, etc. Help Desk) will allow for more/ before un-asked questions given the free text, no distinct, pre-set categories, and how we can (re)train/ teach our Users, KBs, with that information.

    One thing that I did learn in our meeting today was that Microsoft now has a Qna Maker which can help create/ feed the database from which the bot derives its answers.
    Microsoft Cognitive Services - QnA Maker

     

    Manual work will still need to be done in terms of rules, etc., but at least we can dump our KB into the Qna Maker in order to test the ease of use. 

    Great advice from everyone, so again, thank you!
    Best, 
    Jamie


    ---In sikmleaders@..., <rbogue@...> wrote :

    Jamie –

     

    Can I suggest that you have them define the requirements before building starts?  This feels like a “it’s cool” project rather than one that’s being pursued to address a specific objective.

     

    If you start with what are the barriers or friction points that you hope to solve – and then drive into enough detail to identify the content that needs to be highlighted… you may find that you’ll end up driving the Chat bot with search in the first place.  If that’s the case, you could work on getting it so that search returned the right results.  From there if you still needed the additional interface of a chat bot it could be built…

     

    You may not be able to stop this train but I tend to like train tracks down before I get the train rolling.

     

    Rob

     

    -------------------

    Robert L. Bogue

    Find me Phone: (317) 844-5310  Blog: http://www.thorprojects.com/blog

     

    From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...]
    Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 9:36 AM
    To: sikmleaders@...
    Subject: [sikmleaders] Re: Any Experience Here with Virtual Agents/Chat Bots?

     

     

    Hello to all, 

     

    Thank you so much for your very quick and thought provoking responses. 

     

    Robert - yes, this is still my question as well. The only response I have today it that we are looking for a quick win as this will be in-house built (not licensed, etc.), connected to our various systems via APIs, and integrating a natural language service as well as AI agent. Regardless of what we do with the chatbot, I know that some processes, systems, etc. will need to be upgraded, fixed, etc. in order for this to gain traction, and widen its scope. We'll start small and then expand.

     

    Stephen and Frank - great questions to ask as well. The project is wholly-owned by IT and will involve the participation of other departments in the future. My main concern is the collection, feeding, ownership of data, its related governance, analysis, and re-usability (decoupling). 

     

    I don't have answers to all of these, but welcome any other comments/ suggestions.

    Thanks again!

    Jamie


     


    Stacie Jordan Brenkovich
     

    We are starting to look into virtual agents/chat bots in Accenture I can share more as we progress (very early thinking).  We have recently overhauled and significantly improved our enterprise search engine so it will be interesting to see what the additional value something like this could provide.  Personally I think it’s that “personal touch” people want to help find information…back in the day we used to have many knowledge managers who could offer this high touch support, we no longer have that support model.   So let’s see what AI can do for us. 

     

     

     

     

    ********************************************************

    Social Learning – Growth & Strategy

    New York, NY (Eastern Time zone)

    Tel: 917-452-3018

    Email: Stacie.m.brenkovich@...

    Check out my People Profile

    Harmony.Maximizer.Arranger.Consistency.Responsibility

     




    This message is for the designated recipient only and may contain privileged, proprietary, or otherwise confidential information. If you have received it in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete the original. Any other use of the e-mail by you is prohibited. Where allowed by local law, electronic communications with Accenture and its affiliates, including e-mail and instant messaging (including content), may be scanned by our systems for the purposes of information security and assessment of internal compliance with Accenture policy.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    www.accenture.com


    joanna_pierce@...
     

    Hi Jacob,

    Our company doesn't utilize VAs yet, but we are investigating. We currently have eGain® products deployed on site and may add the eGain® VA product (mentioned here) in the coming years. I think it has great functionality and will integrate well with what we've already set up in-house. I'd be happy to discuss with you if you'd like--feel free to reach out.

    Best,
    Joanna


    Stan Garfield
     

    On-Demand Webcast: Virtual Assistants & Chatbots - The Next Big Thing in Customer Experience

    http://info.earley.com/roundtable-intelligent-virtual-assistants-chatbots-customer-experience

     


    Matt Moore <innotecture@...>
     

    Hi - Looking at this topic last year, some of the previous Earley webinars also had some good stuff in (and they seem to take a pragmatic approach to this stuff) - e.g.
    http://info.earley.com/roundtable-intelligent-virtual-agents-reality

    I suspect that a key part of this is selecting your initial use cases with care. Scenarios with clearly pre-defined input and outputs will probably work well ("Please reset my Windows password"). Scenarios with high levels of ambiguity ("How do we get world peace?") probably won't.

    But I'd be interested to hear about actual implementation examples.

    To reinforce Joanna's comment - I encountered these tools in the customer services space (esp. telcos, banks, insurers) and vendors like eGain, Verint, [24]7 - where they are a hot topic. I also found this useful:
    https://virtualagentchat.com/category/intelligent-virtual-agent-vendors/


    Curtis A. Conley
     

    I'm just now kicking off a chatbot project as a POC to support our Collaboration Service (primarily supporting Office 365 tools like SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer, Teams, Planner, and Box, etc.). We also have a number of training, end user engagement and adoption services that we support. 

    For this POC, we're exploring if a chatbot can provide adequate support to many of the basic questions our end users end up asking either to our Yammer groups, service desk, via email, or IM etc. To a point the was brought up earlier - we have good training and documentation, FAQs, etc. and search can find it - but if I had a solution to the "how do you get users to search first" question, I'd be an independent consultant living on a private island... :)   

    So we'd like to see if we can train the bot and have it be able to respond to conversations in Yammer, Skype, embedded on a SharePoint site, ServiceNow, etc. So we'll start with low hanging fruit (existing KBs, FAQs) and soon will begin to pull in actual Q&A from within Yammer, email, etc. If all works well, we'll be exploring how to "upgrade" the bot to perform personal assistant actions (e.g., creating tickets, provisioning workspaces).