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Transforming citizen, student, and employee experience: AI-powered Oracle Digital Assistant

Shweta Bhatia Gupta
Product Manager

Chatbots, digital assistants, or virtual assistants for our work life and Siri, Alexa, or Google in home life are intelligent assistants that are changing how we as users interact digitally, shop online, or work at home. For governments state and local, federal and defense, recent events associated with COVID-19 across US and the world have created a sense of urgency, as agencies scramble to adapt and innovate to the recent work-from-home policies for employees and to provide essential citizen services.

The work-from-home requirements have made it more important to give employees easy access to ever-changing information on agency policies, insurance coverage, and public health guidance. They also have the usual cadence of questions on vacation balances, status of expenses, and IT workarounds. So, AI-powered digital assistants or chatbots are becoming a key element of the solution.

Digital assistants in a digital age

Strategically, digital assistants can become an agent in transforming public service. The pandemic-related technology changes are driving these features to become a mainstay for state and federal agencies. Apart from other benefits, digital assistant technology is among the most developed and least-risky ways for agencies to implement AI, which before March 2020 was stated as a priority of federal and defense cloud strategy.

The broad applicability of intelligent bots across departments is another appealing factor and an easy way for agencies looking to cut costs while boosting human productivity. As a good alternative to automated systems that addresses long hold times, the implementation of these assistants also presents a minimum probability of failure and unintended consequences.

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers reported that, by mid-2020, around three-quarters of states started deploying chatbots to assist with questions on unemployment insurance, general COVID-19 questions, or for other state agencies that are receiving higher traffic because of the pandemic. Among many use cases today, agencies and educational institutions are using digital assistants for the following reasons:

  • Improving communication during time of emergencies, and disasters, such as responding to the demands of COVID-19, answering common questions related to the health crisis, citizens and students asking COVID-19 testing, and medical care information remotely or on campus

  • Unemployment benefits chatbots helping citizen in need to access federal aid

  • Improving website visitor experience, providing interactive FAQs, and allowing users to request information or report problems

  • Improving the admission experience for prospective students and busy staff or making the students eligibility assessment simpler and faster

Oracle Digital Assistant

Today, government agencies, such as state and city offices and universities across the US and internationally, are using Oracle Digital Assistant (ODA) platform to automate engagements with their citizens, students, and employees. This platform helps create a seamless workflow between bots and humans and gain efficiency, while reducing pressures on staffing resources.

Before COVID-19, the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise IT desk fielded about 500 support calls a month. Overnight, that number spiked to more than 1,500 calls per day. They needed a solution fast. Within eight days of receiving a call for help, the Oracle team in Oklahoma and members of Oracle’s Austin-based Cloud Solutions Hub designed and deployed a chatbot to help Oklahoma’s newly home-based workers get productive as quickly as possible.

When Loyola University Chicago sought to improve and extend student services and refocus the time of academic advisors on the more complex academic planning questions, they partnered with IntraSee and used Oracle Digital Assistant and PeopleSoft Chatbot Integration Framework to build and deploy chatbots for students and advisors. The chatbot provided answers to over 200 questions that were personalized, based on the user’s role and included data that was extracted in real time from the PeopleSoft campus solutions. Loyola University Chicago has greatly improved the student experience and freed up their student advisors for more important tasks with the use of Oracle Digital Assistant and the PeopleSoft Chatbot Integration Architecture.

A graphic depicting the architecture for PeopleSoft and Oracle Digital Assistant.

Want to learn more about ODA?

Join us on June 17, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. ET for an hour-long conversation with ODA and OCI Government sector experts to learn how ODA can help your organization to better connect with citizens, students, and employees.

Along with this discussion, we dive into the basics of integrating ODA in your PeopleSoft enterprise resource planning (ERP) on-premises or in cloud. Oracle has seamlessly integrated chatbots in the PeopleSoft ERP. Agencies now can implement several different options for digital assistants with varying functions quickly by using prebuilt skill templates. ODA’s absence bots allow employees to request, view, cancel, and manage absences in a convenient and conversational manner.

Employees can ask the bot basic questions and access resources to complete self-service transactions. PeopleSoft customers can also implement an employee directory assistant chatbot that enables their employees to search and obtain contact information from the company directory. The requisition inquiry skill chatbot allows employees to manage and view their requisitions in a conversational manner that is easier than using the manage requisitions component. The expense inquiry bot provides an efficient way for employees to access and manage expense reports and corresponding data.

Oracle Digital Assistant platform is an OCI FedRAMP JAB and DISA accredited service. To learn more, check out the What’s New in the Oracle Digital Assistant documentation or design, integrate, and implement an ODA solution on a cloud, hybrid, and on-premises environment, using our catalog of cross-product reference architectures, solution playbooks, and best practices.

Let us help you find the right option for your use case using OCI. You can select the Oracle Cloud Free Tier or a 30-day free trial in our commercial regions, which includes US$300 in credits to get you started with a range of services, including compute, storage, and networking. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure regions dedicated to the government consist of FedRAMP high federal and civilian authorized regions and IL5 Department of Defense (DoD) authorized regions. If you prefer Oracle Government Cloud, consult your Oracle sales representative for proof of concept in the appropriate region.