AI… turning intranets into genuinely interactive conversational user interfaces

AI is rapidly becoming a normal part of our lives, as organisations leverage machine learning to create compelling consumer experiences; from the crowdsourcing algorithms of Uber to the voice recognition of Amazon Echo. As expectations increase and technologies become more accessible, the workplace presents a real opportunity for businesses to gain competitive advantage through AI.

How’s your intranet? Efficient? Interesting? Up to date even? The thing is, workplace intranets are meant to inform and enlighten employees, yet all too often most organisations just see it as a system rather than a tool to build loyalty and confidence – acting more as a talent barrier than a talent integration platform.

There’s so much more the digital workplace deserves, if for no other reason than to retain those who you value most. We are in an era where the rise of the millennial is impacting our working lives. They don’t play by the same rules and don’t accept the established barriers. So if their digital workplace tools aren’t comparable to their everyday consumer tools, they’ll want to disrupt the stereotypical IT agenda to force change – or simply walk out the door.

Some organisations however, are making the changes necessary to encourage a digital workplace fit for purpose; AI, conversational interfaces, predictive analytics, and spilling into the physical world with sensors and IoT. It would be wonderful to suggest that in three years we’d be seeing a suite of business AI entities that fulfil a large proportion of what’s currently handled within an intranet, but it’s probably too optimistic. Certainly a large proportion of knowledge management and transactions (e.g. HR functions) could be heavily supported by ‘bots although the responsibility will still rest with the relevant teams. More realistically, the singular and most fundamental feature we’ll see is a holistic workplace digital concierge: Delivering genuine conversational user interfaces on to core digital workplace features driven by AI to seamlessly empower employees.

And this includes mobile intranet systems too.

There are still many businesses where mobile is at most a niche case, but for many organisations mobile access is critical and BYOD represents significant value. We’ve seen clients overhaul their entire digital workplace simply to better serve their mobile workforce. Optimising for multiple devices is essential for workforce satisfaction. We wouldn’t, for example, compromise the customer experience in the customer-facing world – so why should the employee experience be any different?

If we want our most valued resource – our people – to be operating at their highest potential then we need to accept that one of the biggest impacts AI can have in the short-term is augmenting and streamlining the ways we work. Conversational interfaces and ‘bots form a key part of this for 2017.

If you’d like to discuss how Mando could help your organisation with a more appealing talent-friendly intranet – we’d love to hear from you. Drop me an email at jonathan.seal@mando.agency or follow me on Twitter for future AI updates. 

Alternatively, you can join me at IntraTeam Event in Copenhagen on 1st March where I’ll be speaking about the opportunities and unforeseen impacts of rolling out AI within the workplace.