Are CIOs Ready For The Arrival Of Chatbots?

Chatbots may change how we communicate, are you ready?
Chatbots may change how we communicate, are you ready?
Image Credit:
John Pasden

One of the biggest challenges that any CIO has is trying to stay on top of all of the different buzzwords that seem to spring up daily in the world of IT in order to remain tapped into the importance of information technology. Well guess what, yet another one has just shown up on the scene: chatbot. This one just might be important because it appears to be a way that your firm may be able to hold a conversation with up to a billion people.

What Is A Chatbot?

By now every person with the CIO job is well aware of who Facebook is. It’s that massive social networking company that has quickly become so popular that over a billion people have signed up to use it. As you can well imagine, there are a lot of different parts to the Facebook service. One poplar service that is provided by Facebook is called “Messenger”. Messenger allows users to exchange phone calls, have video chats, take pictures and videos, and participate in group chats.

Realizing the popularity of Messenger, Facebook has taken things a step further. They have now decided to open up the interface to Messenger to outside applications. What this means is that companies now have the ability to create virtual assistants who can interact with the 1 billion Facebook users who make use of the Messenger feature each month.

As you can well imagine, any time Facebook does something the world reacts. The opening of the Messenger interface has resulted in (so far) 33,000 chatbots – applications that make use of the Messenger interface – being created. Each of these chatbots is given a name by their creator and they end up looking just like other contacts that a Messenger user might choose to connect with.

What Can You Do With A Chatbot?

Great, so you can create an application that can interface to Facebook’s Messenger application. What’s the big deal says the person in the CIO position. Well, it is a big deal. As an example of what can be done, the credit card company MasterCard has just released a chatbot that they call “Kai” that allows credit card users to use Facebook’s Messenger service to check on activity on their credit cards as well as setting up financial management tools.

As your company’s CIO you need to realize that we are at the starting point of something that could become quite big. There are a lot of IT departments out there that are starting to place bets that we are going to be seeing the convergence of messaging platforms like Messenger, chatbots, and artificial intelligence that will in the end allow for a better interface between customers and the company’s applications.

What CIOs are starting to predict is that chatbots will have the capability to eventually act as the new interface into corporate applications. In the future, instead of requiring a customer to visit a specific web page in order to deal with a specific issue, the plan would be for them to start to have a conversation with a chatbot. This chatbot would already know the customer’s habits and could use machine learning and custom algorithms to make appropriate suggestions to the user. The trick will be to get the chatbot to not act too much like a real human or too much like a computer.

What All Of This Means For You

One of the challenges of being a CIO is that you have to stay current with all of the trends that sweep though the IT field. Right now we are finding ourselves in the middle of yet another one of these trends. Facebook, the huge social media company, has just allowed outside firms to develop applications that interface to their popular Messenger application.

What this means to CIOs is that they now have a way for their company to talk directly with the over one billion people who use the Messenger application every month. This has proved very popular and over 33,000 chatbots have already been created to make use of this new interface. This new way of talking with your customers means that you will now have a better way to interface your customers to your company’s applications. Chatbots may be the new interface to corporate applications and no longer will customers have to go to a unique web page to conduct a transaction, instead they will just have a conversation with a chatbot.

It’s pretty clear that yet another new technology has just shown up on our doorstep. Now as CIOs we need to take the time to determine what we are going to be willing to do with this new technology. Using chatbots we can now do a better job of connecting with our company’s customers. Get your team looking into this new technology and find out what it can do for you!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that the use of chatbots is going to create any security issues for CIOs?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When you hold the CIO position, because of the importance of information technology you have a great deal of responsibility. This means that you have to come up with ways to let everyone who works for you know what you want them to accomplish. In a word, you have to communicate. As easy as this may sound to do, it turns out that it’s actually quite difficult to do well. All too often we’ll think that we’re doing a good job, but then we’ll discover that the people that we’ve been talking to are confused and don’t understand what we need them to do. We need to become better communicators.