6 powerful reasons why Oracle Digital Assistant is a must-have

October 1, 2020 | 6 minute read
Emma Hitzke
Senior Product Marketing Director, Emerging Tech
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The days of rudimentary chatbots are fading as organizations leverage more advanced digital assistants instead to drive efficiency and productivity, and improve the customer and employee experience. Chatbots are built with a single purpose and need users to start conversations, but digital assistants can initiate conversations, complete tasks, and use AI to better understand requests while making advanced predictions and recommendations. 

Recent work-from-home mandates have led organizations across industries to rethink how they operate, and many are experimenting with digital assistants to fill new needs. They’re deploying digital assistants to help remote employees with policy questions, health and safety concerns, and self-service requests.

Government organizations also are using digital assistants to help constituents. The Hammersmith and Fulham Council, which serves a west London borough, has been in regular contact with nearly 9,000 residents during the pandemic lockdown. This AI-powered robot identifies hundreds of households in need of extra support by contacting residents every two weeks via mobile phones and landlines to ask if they need help with medication, food, or mental health.

The promise of digital assistants is too great for organizations to ignore or dismiss. Here’s how using digital assistants can support finance and supply chain teams so your organization can unlock that promise.

Digital assistants in finance

A CFO receives a notification that a core product’s sales are trending downward, so he immediately responds by initiating adjustments that prevent a drop in revenues for the quarter.

It’s a smart move, but how did it happen?

The finance team didn’t spend days or weeks manually combing through data to discover the trend or have to be in a particular application at the right time to receive an event message. Instead, a digital assistant is integrated with multiple applications and reacts to a triggered event. Within minutes, it alerts the CFO of the brewing problem, ready to begin a conversation where the alert left off.

This scenario happens more often than you think. Finance teams that leverage digital assistants within their financial systems report an average productivity improvement of 36 percent and an average improvement of analysis speed of 38 percent. These assistants help teams integrate their applications, leverage AI-supported voice commands, improve team collaboration, and automate manual tasks. And Oracle Digital Assistant (DA) helps finance teams accomplish all of this.


I sat down with my colleague Shirley Lum, director of product marketing, cloud infrastructure for applications at Oracle, to discuss what makes DA a great technology for any company looking at accelerating their business transformation. “Oracle Digital Assistant is geared towards enhancing the user experience, and that translates to easy access and use of applications.”

She also mentioned the following critical advantages of DA:

  1. Integration with multiple applications. Oracle DA lets you enhance any finance and operations process to allow users to work seamlessly across multiple applications. Pre-built skills (individual bots focused on specific tasks) mean Oracle Cloud ERP and SCM users are pre-provisioned and get started with these skills right away. The Assistant helps drive self-service, making it easy for users to access data, pull reports, and perform submissions and approvals. For example, Lum said a FAQ-type digital assistant can literally be implemented in days.

  1. Leverage AI-supported voice commands. Oracle DA uses natural language processing (NLP) and AI, so that it will learn, understand, and even interpret what employees are requesting. It supports industry-specific terminology, including acronyms that finance and operations teams use, such as EBITDA. And as the AI-powered Digital Assistant listens and learns, it can offer insights and recommendations to the team. At a recent DA demo, I was blown away with the level of accuracy brought by Oracle’s NLP! Finally there is hope for people with “outrageous accents” like me!
  1. Improve team collaboration. Oracle DA runs on your device of choice and across messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and Microsoft Teams. Using Oracle Digital Assistant within these collaboration tools, finance teams can get conversational access to contextual data and insights or even drive relevant actions.

Lum mentioned a client, Office Depot, which is using Oracle Digital Assistant pre-built integration with the Oracle Cloud CX Service. With new workforce impact and decreased demand due to COVID-19, they need to focus on more automation and self-service opportunities that eliminate unnecessary contat with their global contact centers and from their customers. The Assistant automatically addresses basic support questions, intelligently hands off the issue to a human agent, and then shares the initial conversation thread with the agent — this shortens the agent’s handle time and avoids unnecessary and repeated questions. “End-to-end, it's seamless to the caller in terms of that handoff,” she said.

  1. Automate manual tasks. Because Oracle Digital Assistant is AI-driven, finance teams no longer need to comb through data, and this prevents human errors. It quickly breezes through workflows and enforces policies, and you can upload receipts on the fly. The assistant helps finance teams use their limited time and resources for more value-added strategic initiatives.


Watch this video to learn more about how Oracle Digital Assistant helps finance teams drive efficiency and improve productivity.


Digital assistants in supply chain management (SCM)

SCM teams will experience many of the same benefits of a digital assistant as finance teams. But there’s one key difference. Supply chains have more complexity because of the components contained across a network of products, activities, stakeholders, customers, suppliers, and vendors — and Lum warned that even the smallest changes can have serious consequences across the globe: “One change in one element can impact other elements all along the chain.”

Here’s one example. If a VP of Customer Service wants to understand why a region received a bad batch of product, the SCM team doesn’t have to manually review orders or data to find the answer. Instead, they can use a digital assistant to track the shipment back to the supplier, identify affected customers, and decide how to deal with the supplier within minutes.

The digital assistant’s impact is felt down the chain. A recent Oracle and ESG report found that nearly 75 percent of respondents credit chatbots and intelligent voice assistants with increasing the use of SCM apps by suppliers and customers. An intelligent assistant like the Oracle Digital Assistant helps organizations streamline their collaboration using real-time intelligence and does so through each user’s native language.

Here’s a closer look at additional benefits for SCM teams.

  1. Streamlined collaboration with real-time intelligence. With Oracle DA, SCM teams can send status updates to employees and customers in real time while empowering collaboration. The Assistant helps the supply chain’s stakeholders easily share resources, data, responsibilities, and performance metrics to satisfy demanding customers. Teams also have access to self-service functionality, so it’s easier to monitor dynamic supply chain activities such as orders and shipments. These capabilities help SCM teams democratize access to information, which in turn empowers organizations to streamline collaboration.
  1. Multi-language voice and text support. SCM teams can enhance their productivity by taking advantage of Oracle Digital Assistant’s multi-language support. For example, if someone uses the assistant in English, their colleague in another country could use the same assistant in a different language, thus improving the supply chain’s efficiency. Lost in translation no more! “Employee productivity is definitely enhanced when you can engage in your native tongue,” said Lum. 


Watch this video to learn more about how Oracle Digital Assistant helps SCM teams improve experience and productivity.


How Oracle can help you

These are only a few examples of how organizations can use digital assistants. As more organizations use digital assistants to improve their internal and external processes, we’ll see more best practices come to light. And many of those best practices are being discovered through the Oracle Digital Assistant’s platform and pre-built skills.

The Oracle Digital Assistant platform was specifically designed for enterprises. With its multi-purpose use and proactive, predictive engagement, only the Oracle Digital Assistant is equipped to manage complex cross-organizational interactions.

Pre-built skills — those individual bots built to handle specific interactions within Oracle applications — work out of the box, enabling Oracle Application customers to get started immediately. In a recent Oracle and ESG operational efficiency report, respondents are two to three times as likely to purchase pre-built solutions rather than build solutions from scratch. The pre-built skills can have organizations up and running quickly with the option to extend those skills to accomplish what’s needed — all while maintaining compatibility with the original skills.

Today, Oracle Digital Assistant is the only enterprise conversational AI delivering this combination of extensible pre-built skills and a complete platform to build out custom skills as needed. With Oracle Digital Assistant integrated across all applications to meet a full range of business needs, organizations across the globe will get the support they need to improve efficiency, experience, and productivity.


Visit our website to learn more about how our Oracle Digital Assistant, ERP, and SCM solutions can take your business to the next level.


Emma Hitzke

Senior Product Marketing Director, Emerging Tech

Emma Hitzke is passionate about how new technologies can solve real business problems and be the positive force behind societal progress. She got her first experience at Motorola (remember the smallest phone in the world, the StarTAC?). She then went on a journey working with startups and Fortune 500 companies (PwC, IBM, Intel) on software, microprocessors, wearables, IoT, and AI. She may have at some point worn three smartwatches. Since joining Oracle in 2019 as senior product marketing director for emerging tech, she has been living and breathing advanced technologies and cloud-based applications. A native from France, Emma moved to California and currently resides in San Francisco with her husband, son, and two chickens. She is still thinking about equipping their coop with IoT sensors.

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