Emerging Technology

Task Bots: Problem-Solvers for Your Company

Task bots have become the core of automation in many companies, since they can do much more than send notifications to users. When organizations implement task bots in automation anywhere, these bots are able to take actions, offer back-and-forth suggestions to accomplish a task, and remove time-consuming processes in HR, IT, recruiting, productivity, and sales. Let’s take a look at how these bots can serve as problem solvers for your company.

November 9, 2020

From IT support to administrative tasks, task automation bots (or task bots) are reshaping the way that companies operate. These bots can serve higher-level functions, too. Beyond sending out notifications, they can also take actions for you, offer back-and-forth interaction to accomplish a task that previously required human communication, or provide information that could otherwise entail a laborious acquisition process. In the areas of human resources (HR), IT, recruiting, productivity, and sales, bots are expediting time-consuming tasks. And, in the future, we expect further developments in these areas. Additionally, these types of bots can replace human time and labor in areas like procurement and financial management, and they can learn how to work together to create new levels of support for the human workforce.

IT Help Desk bots

Many IT professionals will tell you that much of their time is spent answering their colleagues’ or clients’ questions, helping them to understand certain IT processes or issues. Generally, these issues are simple enough that they don’t require an expert opinion but rather need simple guidance or instructions.
Implementing a bot that has the backend knowledge of these IT processes can provide a simple and efficient solution to menial tasks, which would then allow IT, professionals, to spend their time on more complex tasks.

The Smart Bot for IT Help Desk from Kore can reset passwords, find answers to knowledge base questions, create a new incident (and either handle it or escalate it to a person), and much more. And Acuvate’s IT Helpdesk bot helps users troubleshoot hardware and software problems, resets passwords (a common and time-consuming task for IT), and keeps employees updated on outages, among other things.

With effective task bots helping in automation anywhere, IT professionals can shift their work time from keeping the lights on to transforming business operations.

HR bots

The human resources department is another place where the vast majority of professional time goes toward supporting employees in one way or another. Although that’s the core of the profession, there are many small tasks that HR teams do which can be outsourced to bots—freeing up HR’s time for tasks that require a human touch.

Jane, a chatbot from Loka, answers employee questions on topics that range from holidays to insurance, shares info about new benefits, and handles many other informational requests. What’s more, Jane uses analytics and sentiment analysis to find out whether there are common problems in the workplace, thus giving HR professionals more information about issues they might need to address.

Slack has become a growing platform for productivity, while also offering capabilities that help streamline collaborative processes and even help connect the team through bonding activities. For more information, check out the guide to our favorite automated bots to integrate into your company’s Slack.

Recruiting

The process of identifying good job candidates eats up a lot of time, and the risk of hiring the wrong person for the job can be quite expensive. Task bots help save time and cut costs by reaching and qualifying good candidates and by keeping them engaged throughout the application process. For example, Ideal’s recruiting chatbot can help prescreen candidates, respond quickly to keep them engaged, and reach passive candidates.

And the Starred Candidate Experience bot offers feedback from talent acquisition and HR teams to effortlessly gather the information that can help create a better candidate experience and drive change in the process. This bot serves as a guide to answer questions, get candidates to the next stage of the hiring process, and even alert them to other jobs within the company. Also, if candidates leave the hiring process, the bot can collect helpful information about why they chose to do so.

Productivity

Many businesses need assistance being more productive with everything from to-do lists and goal-setting to delegation and effective use of meetings. Not surprisingly, there’s a wide array of bots on Slack and elsewhere designed to assist with these tasks. Many productivity bots help with such microtasks, but others are taking on more complex aspects of productivity.

Todoist is the result of adding artificial intelligence (AI) functions to a calendaring or task management service. The bot organizes your schedule for you, taking into account days of the week (for example, it doesn’t schedule your professional activities on a Sunday), your habits, task priorities, and other factors. It learns both from you and from the user base to make more accurate adjustments over time.

Sales

As with customer service, sales departments benefit from faster and more informed responses, and these teams quickly run into human limitations. There are many places in the sales cycle where they can create task automation bots to complement the team—for instance, to speed up response times and to improve lead quality.

For starters, sales teams can spend less time in their customer relationship management (CRM) tool with Troops, a Slackbot that fetches customer data from
Salesforce for you while you’re chatting in Slack about that particular customer. The sales chatbot from ubisend is on hand—all the time—to answer questions that prospects may have about your products or services, and it does so in your brand’s voice and language. Sales Intelligent Assistant (SIA), also from Acuvate, is designed to chat with leads and to acquire data to help a sales team make more informed decisions.

The future of task automation bots

This is far from a comprehensive accounting of the task bots out there that are helping enterprises change the way they do business, both internally and externally. And even though there are already many bots on the market, we’re really seeing just the beginnings of their potential, as AI capabilities—particularly natural language processing (NLP) and deep learning—advance.

Here are just some of the possibilities.

Supply chain management

We haven’t yet seen bots for this field, but they’re certainly coming. Procurement is a particular area of interest in which to integrate task bots. They may be able to take cold calls from suppliers, place low-value purchase orders, manage paperwork, provide lists of possible suppliers, and monitor KPIs. With bots taking over many routine procurement tasks, humans will have more time to address strategy.

Financial management

Accounting department teams are now able to be supplemented with task automation bots that perform account reconciliations, calculate allocations, perform invoice matches, process expense claims, and create reports. In addition, there is already a widespread usage of chatbots in banking services which are either voice-based, text-based or a combination of both.

Office culture

Perhaps in a couple of years, your office will have a bot that takes polls of everyone’s favorite activities, looks for nearby options, and schedules regular social outings for the team. A bot might mediate minor disagreements using the relational styles of ELIZA or Woebot, in addition to language approved by management and HR. Bots might even reach out regularly to remote workers so that they don’t feel out of touch with the workplace.

Productivity

With so many bots in existence to help with productivity micro-tasks, it’s time for the next generation of productivity bots. Rather than a bot that can pull data from just the CRM, we may see a bot that can pull data from every software management system a company uses. As AI language capabilities advance, productivity bots can serve as personal assistants to any employee who wants one. Such bots can do even more to help keep employees on track throughout the day, make sure that meetings aren’t interrupting critical tasks (and intercede when they are), and give employees and managers alike insight into how and where productivity needs improvement.

Bots can then begin using language and interacting with humans in a new way—perhaps even offering services instead of just functioning in pre-programmed ways. We’ll continue to benefit from bots, as they collaborate, integrate, and help solve problems for companies around the globe.