How SAP Is Using Digital Assistants to Help Clients Get More Value
Check out this interview with Christian Pederson, Chief Product Officer for S/4 HANA Cloud at SAP to learn about the adoption of chatbots and digital assistants in organizations.
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It was great speaking with Christian Pederson, Chief Product Officer for S/4 HANA Cloud at SAP about how chatbots and digital assistants are evolving in B2B work environments. Digital assistants and chatbots have become part of everyday life for consumers. Gartner predicts that by 2020, the average person will have more conversations with chatbots than their own spouse.
Q: Help me understand the difference between chatbots and digital assistants.
A: While the two look alike on the frontend, chatbots tend to be more reactive to commands and inputs, similar to Alexa or Siri, and connected to rule-based automation. Digital assistants are more intelligent with the ability to anticipate, learn, and do in a proactive way.
Q: How is S/4 HANA Cloud at SAP involved in chatbots and digital assistants?
A: We provide all of our clients with access to information about their business world as a hub of data using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Think of the digital assistant as the next-generation user interface that will replace a keyboard and mouse. Ultimately, the digital assistant will be the face of the system with which you are interacting.
Q: What are some real-world problems SAP is helping clients solve with this technology?
A: Companies receive paper and electronic payments from customers and these payments must be patched with invoices. We are able to scan the check and correlate with the invoice. When we start, there's a 30% match-rate, then 70%, then 90% after about eight weeks. That's the rate at which the ML algorithm learns. The more data we can provide, the faster the model will learn.
This has saved the work of two people who can go on to do higher-value, and more interesting, work for the organization. Over the course of history, we've seen that quality life improves at the same rate as productivity increases. As such, we're ultimately improving the productivity of our clients and the quality of life of their employees.
Q: What are the most common challenges companies must overcome to realize the benefits of this technology?
A: Understand how AI/ML works and the fact that ML algorithms learn as they go. More data leads to greater accuracy.
Q: What do you see as the evolution of chatbots and digital assistants?
A: Digital assistants will work with AI/ML to become more contextually aware — knowing when it's appropriate to serve information regarding what you are working on, versus your calendar, versus your personal interests.
Q: How will developers, engineers, and architects benefit from this technology?
A: They'll be able to leverage the technology to build better solutions for customers — more quickly and with greater quality since they will be freed to work on high-level tasks.
Q: What have I failed to ask that our readers need to be aware of?
A: The pace of adoption of chatbots and digital assistants is going to blow people away. People are just going to start using the technology and begin doing things with it we could not have imagined. Companies will be thinking about how much money they can save, how to use the technology as a competitive advantage. AI/ML will be integral to how they provide an outstanding customer experience.
Employees want the same tools at work that they have at home and we've already seen how quickly voice-activated chatbots are being adopted. As such, it's incumbent on companies to provide these tools to make their employees more productive, especially if they want to get the best employees.
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