Does “AI” (Artificial Intelligence) still seem remote and futuristic? Something from a Sci-Fi movie? Well, it is not anymore, with Big Data, Bots, and Machine Learning making AI capabilities readily accessible to software developers such as ourselves.
In our SharePoint & Office 365 applications, we are already using AI to provide our customers with advanced functionality. How about searching a Knowledge Base using natural language? Or getting IT support any time of day by interacting with a chatbot? These are not futuristic features, but actually part of Crow Canyon’s IT Help Desk and NITRO Studio platform now!
By leveraging “AI as a Service”, we are making state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence capabilities integral parts of our solutions. Microsoft has made a variety of AI services available to developers, and we are bringing these features to you, our customers, through our applications.
For instance, one aspect of AI is “Natural Language Processing (NLP)”, which is ability for software to analyze a sentence and determine the content and intention. With this capability, users are no longer constrained to typing in exact search words or phrases to get results.
Another element is using chatbots to interact with users so that relevant answers are provided quickly and without IT staff intervention. Through a “conversation” with an automated chatbot, users can receive responses and guidance that can resolve common issues.
We realize both these technologies are in their nascent phase. They won’t always return perfect, or even entirely appropriate, results. However, our view is that the time to get started on these is now, as they can already provide many benefits. With AI helping to produce quicker answers and better responses, our customers can run more efficient support and request management systems, saving time and money while improving user satisfaction. And these capabilities will only get better with time.
Read on for more on two ways we are using AI to improve our applications. See our webinar “Chatbots and AI Services” for more details.
Knowledge Base powered by Natural Language Processing
Searching a Knowledge Base for an answer can be a quick and easy way to find a resolution to a question or issue. That is why we have a KB in our Power Portal and in our applications. These are important sources of information both for end users and staff.
However, most KB searches require the user to enter in words that exactly match text in the KB articles. That means, for example, typing in “printer low toner” instead of the more conversational “My printer seems to be low on ink. The pages are coming out dim and spotty.” But with Natural Language Processing (NLP), we are able to overcome this limitation. We now provide a KB search tool that allows users to type in a “normal” question. The question entered is parsed by our software using Artificial Intelligence and Big Data; the search results are based on the content and intent of the user’s query.
This saves substantial time and effort for the user, as well as staff. In the old method, searches fail or are inaccurate because the user does not know what exact search terms to put in. But with NLP, the user has a much wider range of language to use, which returns better results. Questions are answered quickly and users are more satisfied.
Chatbot integrated with IT Help Desk
IT support takes a big leap forward with the NITRO Chatbot. Users can engage with the chatbot and find answers any time of day. Users are guided through predefined, automatic workflows that help them get the information they need quickly.
Using Natural Language Processing as well as automated workflows, the chatbot leads the user to an answer without the formality of a structured KB search query. It searches the KB and ticket list for answers, walks the user through Category & Type selections, and suggests solutions, when it can. By taking the user’s inquiry and matching it to a KB or other data source, the chatbot is often able to provide answers to common questions.
Of course, the results depend on the content of the KB or other database. It will not work for all questions all the time – no chatbot can do that – but it will speed up the resolution of routine issues. And if the chatbot’s responses do not provide the answer the user needs, the chatbot segues into creating a ticket, with the information generated during the chatbot session included in the ticket.
The NITRO Chatbot saves time and effort for both the users and staff. And it gets better with time as it is “trained” through usage and as the knowledge base grows. While chatbot technology is still relatively new, implementing a bot now can already provide the real benefits of quicker, more efficient IT support.
More info on our AI services coming soon
We will be coming out with more information shortly on these and other AI services, such as using NLP Search on any SharePoint list, creating custom Chatbots, and using QnA Maker in your organization.
Meanwhile, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 925 478-3110 with any questions or to see if we can help move your organization forward with bots, natural language processing, and other AI-related services. We look forward to hearing from you!