Some years ago, whenever I heard "bots", I thought of the type of bots that crawl the web to improve search engines. When I worked on several websites, I'd see a lot of traffic from Google bots, mapping changes to those sites. Now, however, bots have expanded to much more interactive systems. Now the rise of high speed internet, cloud computing, better language parsing tools and machine learning, bots have become amazing tools that we increasing expect to use in various ways. For example, if you have ever said "Ok Google" or "Hey Siri" to start a search, and then spoken your search terms, you are using a bot system on your phone.
These systems have become so good, so responsive, that we are now starting to see more uses of them in business scenarios. Back in our design jam at OHUG, we gave 4 teams of HR professionals a set of design toolkits and in 2 hours, they came up with bots use cases for the HR space. We're about to do it again at Oracle OpenWorld (OOW), with business analysts from several areas to get additional use cases. (You can even sign up to participate in one of our usability lab activities or read about our UX speakers at OOW here).
What might we find? Well, imagine some of the tasks you do at work that require you to look multiple places to find an answer? What if a bot could short cut that process for you. In this recent article, Justin Grimsley points out a bot tied into different systems could quickly answer some questions for you about data on a launch campaign, or whether a software dev team was on schedule for a delivery date. Maybe they could help with workflow or approvals if you could just ask what's in your queue and approve, deny or request more info.
We're really looking forward to seeing what comes out of this design jam and for our next big hackathon on bots using our own engine in October. We're also running a bots hackathon with our College Hire program the week after OOW. I'm sure we'll have lots of bots updates over the next month!