Hello bots – goodbye tedious chores: welcome Crazy Lab Days
Posted by Claus Jepsen
We are focusing massively on the opportunity of Digital Assistants and aim at developing innovative Agents or Bots to cover all of our business solutions. To boost this focus, we have set out an in-company competition among our Unit4 staff: the Crazy Lab Days. We’ve challenged and encouraged colleagues worldwide to send in their creative and relevant ideas for Digital Assistant Agents.
Last April, we premiered Wanda, our Digital Assistant, at Unit4’s user conference Connect in Amsterdam. Using pattern recognition to understand the behavior of the user, combined with data from a number of sources, the Digital Assistant performs useful activities by itself such as categorization of invoices according to risk profiles, pre-population of expense reports and time sheets based on historic data, or discount proposals based on customer risk profiles.
Wanda doesn't perform tasks itself, but understands what the user wants to do, and then initiates Agents or Bots to invoke the correct business functions. As an example: if work assigned to you is already registered in a project planner an Agent can populate your time sheet accordingly. So long for that tedious chore!
We invited our developers worldwide to create designs for new Agents and the response was overwhelming; close to thirty developer teams applied. Five of these teams have been selected to spend a full week in Unit4’s R&D hub in Oslo at the end of September to actually develop the Agents they designed. The goal of these Crazy Lab Days is to by the end of this start-up week have five Digital Assistant Agents frameworks ready. Hopefully leading to a line-up of Agents by spring 2017 – all focused at delivering our customers the best user experience. So expect some bots coming out of our kitchen soon. We’ll keep you posted.