The IT department should be the first in most businesses to come up with a novel use for the chatbot as it moves beyond simple tasks. Pushing the case across the rest of the business for efficiency and innovation, how is IT leading the field when it comes to chatbot usage? 

The IT department used to be the be all and end all when it came to technology. Now, with the rise of cloud, shadow IT, growing business mobility and BYOD, innovative use of IT is springing up all over an enterprise or business. Often outside the control of the IT people. Yet, IT is fighting back, with these departments rated as the No. 2 users of chatbots by SnatchBot.

While that’s a story for another day, we see growing use of chatbots in various departments, notably HR and recruitment, customer services and administration. As Fast Company put it, “Why Slack, Chatbots, And Freelance Workers Have Your IT Department Freaking Out.” However, the IT department still has a role to play and can help businesses better understand the benefits and uses of chatbots.

IT’s All About The Office

The logical entry point for the IT department is the help desk chatbot, taking over from the usual support systems to help clear up the 95% of requests that can be handled by providing the correct type of information. Some vendors offer dedicated support bots, can develop their own using platforms like SnatchBot, or make use of consumer virtual assistants.

Bots can operate 24/7, are instantly available on an intranet or portal, and update as new tech or services resources rollout across the company. They can also provide real-time alerts if a rush of requests suggest that a major issue is occurring.

Some find that the ongoing process of upgrading business systems to Windows 10 provides Cortana with some much-needed utility in the enterprise (as reported by Computerworld). Voice-to-text assistants is a popular choice, while multilingual chatbots are popular global businesses.

If the IT department can get ahead of other sections in launching and supporting these products, then they become the go-to source for future bot services. This helps maintain the department’s primacy for services and can reduce the risk of shadow IT services springing up.

While IT should be the source of the bot technology, having researched options and compatibility, data protection, security and so on. They will also need to work with the bot’s home department to understand the bot’s function. Also, marketing or editorial can help them understand how to phrase questions and what to look for in answers.

Bot Technology Is Everywhere

Any IT department can benefit from bots thanks to their growing ubiquity. Any team that has used Slack, Microsoft Teams or Skype can adopt or integrate chatbot technology, while bespoke bots or those that learn through AI and natural language processing will be keeping a beady eye support services soon.

Beyond the technology, IT needs to focus on the use case, and demonstrate some measurable savings or benefits. Trying a chatbot because everyone else is, is not a valid use. Instead, the IT department should ask the rest of the business where it can help out with support bots or help develop new services that save time, improve customer engagement or generate revenue.

Bots linked to calendars or scheduling services are another easy win for busy environments while sales-focused departments can replace lead or report webforms with bots to ensure more accurate entry and help staff get over form-blindness and other traumas.

In summary, there is plenty that the IT department can do with chatbots to support the business. But it has to be proactive and experimental to find the ways to help the company win, focusing on where the technology will move to stay in tune with the market.

By doing so, the IT department remains relevant and can engage the business to be a hero instead of the usual source of much grief.