Hello everyone, I’m happy to be here. Thanks for joining us this morning to our presentation “What if Intranets were smart?” How AI Assistants can turn an Intranet into a Digital Workplace.
Before we get busy, just a little bit about adenin. We were founded in 1999, are incorporated here in Boston got 2 more offices in the UK and Germany. Our best seller is an Intranet solution called IntelliEnterprise. And my name is Henry Amm, I’m a consultant for Digital Strategies here at adenin. I live in the UK, in Newcastle near the Scottish border but originally I’m German. So don’t make any jokes, cause I might not get them. I have a degree in Business from Newcastle University, so nothing too fancy but I thought it’s worth mentioning.
Now. Before we begin lets look back 5 years, into the year 2011.
* Back then there was little smartphone support at the workplace. iPhones were deemed not safe for most Windows-based networks, and so beyond the stock mail and calendar app support was very very limited. There was hence not much of a market for 3rd party apps for the workplace.
* Just consider how smartphone ownership has changed. In 2011 just 1 in 3 had a smartphone but since then this number has doubled with close to 70% owning a smartphone in 2015.
So today there is some moderate smartphone support in the workplace, a handful of business app. But there is still a long way to go before we reach the “Digital Workplace”.
The Digital Workplace: I’m not going into great detail about what is or isn’t a Digital Workplace, that’s another presentation. But just to recap quickly what Gartner defines as the Digital Workplace: It’s a new and more effective way to work By exploiting consumer trends, technologies and apps. Sometimes this is also called consumerization of the workplace. And the goal is to raise employee engagement.
So how do our Intranets fare in the light of the Digital Workplace? Not that well actually. In fact your Intranet may actually suck. The don’t really work across your devices, most of them are still strictly desktop-only. They also don’t incorporate much outside data like your dropbox or email attachments, they are literally just the silo for your policies, corporate news, legal things, you know, boring stuff. Basically Intranets are like a city library: Nice to have, but in the age of Google searches they’re becoming less and less central to your day-to-day work. So overall there is very little “Digital Workplace” mantra going on.
The transition towards the Digital Workplace is called “Digital Transformation” and it is the hot topic currently everybody is talking about. Mobile devices and how we can work with them is at the heart of the digital transformation. In the US over 40% of employees bring their smartphone to work, meanwhile over 75% of college graduates own a smartphone. So we can expect this number to go up in the future.
Google reported already last year that for the first time they had more searches coming from mobile devices than desktops, not just in the US but in 11 more countries as well. And with the average individual checking there phone up to 150 times a day — we really have moved our center of attention towards mobile devices — as consumer anyways.
So it’s quite surprising to learn that a study by the MIT found that only a measly third of all companies have a policy or program for digital transformation. So if you don’t have one, you’re in good company.
* From those companies that actually have digital programs there executives estimate that their companies, at best, are a quarter of the way towards realising the end-state vision of their digital workplace. * Almost 2/3 of executives the pace of their digital transformation isn’t happening quickly enough 77% of companies consider missing digital skills a key hurdle to their digital transformation 52% of senior executives cite that they're just not familiar enough with the technology to be a barrier to digital transformation
In a 2014 study it was found that only some 25% of companies have a clear understanding of their digital touch points, meanwhile nearly 90% reported they are already undergoing digital transformation. So while most businesses claimed they are undergoing it, they have no idea how or why.
For those businesses that have thrown themselves into the deep end unfortunately the story doesn’t brighten considerably. 2 in 3 employees claim they rarely use their enterprise apps because of the poor experience. Actually this isn’t surprising considering that 2/3 of enterprises have no active plans to develop their own apps. If you don't invest in this kind of technology you can reasonably expect the results to be all that overwhelming.
So how do our Intranets fare in the light of the Digital Workplace? Not that well actually. In fact your Intranet may actually suck. Yes. Most companies haven’t upgraded their Intranets in the past five years, so if you’re still on SharePoint 2010 you are in good company.
Since most intranets were built before iPhones were a thing the experience on mobile leaves something to be desired. In fact, most Intranets are strictly desktop-only, VPN-only. I know this first-hand since adenin is selling it’s own Intranet and we see this everyday with our customers. Intranets also don’t incorporate much outside data like your dropbox or email attachments, they are literally just the silo for your policies, corporate news, legal things, you know, boring stuff. Depending on your perspective this could be a problem: They’re like a beautiful city library in the age of Google. Sure their information is vetted and correct, but if people just stop seeing them as central to their learning, then something needs to be done to address that. So overall there is very little “Digital Workplace” mantra going on.
Now I wouldn’t tell you so much bad news without talking about the silver lining. There are ways that can help you bring your Intranet into the future, today. How do you make an Intranet smart?
How to make an Intranet smart. We identified 3 key aspects where organizations can tangibly innovate towards the goal of their own Digital Workplace, their own smarter Intranet. First are new ways to search, followed by Card based User interfaces and Bots for conversations between human and data.
First up, Search.
Current Intranet search is not so smart if we think about it. Let me explain: When you ask SharePoint a really, really simple question. How many days of annual leave do i have left? Then the answer you get is: Zero results. Uh, that’s frustrating. You tell me but it seems that in this day and age we as users should no longer accept this. Because today we search like this:
Search, while obviously making an appearance in almost every software you use, is attested to be seldom executed well, and even if it it’s still too expensive and complex. CMS Wire cites an example where the marketing department was expected to search through a whopping 12 different systems before they could get their critical up-to-date information. No one would use (I) Google, (II) Yahoo and (III) Bing — let alone 9 more searches when they just want to look up a simple fact.
So I think it’s fair to say that Intranets are overdue for an update. And as it turns we can use these same new principles Google uses to make its Search smart to make business search smart. Now we’re in the area of Artificial Intelligence Like Voice Recognition for example which is still an up and coming field. We all remember when Siri first came out and it’s accuracy was kinda hit and miss, but nowadays Google and Apple have stepped up their game and Amazon and Google both offer companies to tap into their Voice Recognition prowess. Or NLP, natural language processing. In recent years not just Google but Mac OS X and Windows 10 all have added support for “natural” search commands. For example I could search for “…” and the Search figures out which parts of the sentence refer to the sender, the recipient, time, and so on. That intent recognition, is artificial intelligence. Tremendously interesting when Search attempts to provide instant answers to users. Which brings us to the format in which answers are delivered to the user:
Let’s imagine for a second that the Intranet of the future is literally nothing but a search box. I can type, or I can speak. And the answers are only given to me in Cards. What if instead of looking into 6 people’s calendars and then reserve a meeting room I could just say “Set up a meeting with everyone in the #development Slack group.”
Let’s imagine I ask my now smart Intranet the same question again: “How may days of leave do I have left?” Only this time I get…a Card. Mh, that’s a cool concept. We have an instant, definitive answer to the users question We also have rich media like a teaser image, visualised data, bar charts, line charts, you name it And of course relevant related info: If I have a question, if i have a problem who can I speak to that will help me solve it. What are relevant policies I need to read etc. And lastly of course meaningful actions so I can request leave straight away from the Card. Neat.
Cards are a pretty interesting idea we thought. What’s great about them is that they’re self-contained. That means you can place two entirely different Cards directly underneath each other without risking confusing your users. This also makes them perfect for mobile as you can show Cards as a list on smartphones or tile them side by side on larger displays.
All of these factors have contributed to Cards making their way into the UIs of many mainstream platforms: Twitter, Google, Facebook or Pinterest are just a few examples of companies developing into the direction of more Card-based user interfaces. This means by the time employees encounter their first Card in the workplace they will already have encountered them countless times in consumerized services.
Arguably one of the major drawbacks of most current user interfaces is that users always see the same information. You have all of these buckets here: Updates, Announcements, Shortcuts. They’re always there whether or not they’re actually needed.
And these buckets always show the same documents too.
* I’ve already seen this update * and I’ve read this news like 20 times. But current Intranets have no way of knowing whether this is still relevant to me. Especially in Intranets where there isn’t daily changing content, homepages often feel very stale, almost static to users.
But Cards help with that, too.
Because Cards can be personally tailored. We have all of this information about our users, their roles, departments, workgroups, documents they have worked on, so lets use this to our advantage.
* By using Cards and laying them out dynamically into this grid we can show the user the information he or she hasn’t actually seen before, tailored specifically to their needs. And if the user has seen the content, * let them decide to swipe it away and dismiss it while all the remaining cards reorganise.
Lastly let’s look at Bots.
You may have already heard about them, they’re quite the buzzword since of very recently. But what actually are they? Essentially we’re talking about a new type of user interface. Instead of wanting slightly different buttons and menus for every application, bots all have the same user interface: That being a simple message. Now some of you might say, oh bots are like command lines from the 80s or like Linux, and while that’s true there’s also a key difference that when you send a bot a message it can read it and reply in a way that’s similar to how a human would interact with you. There are different kinds of bots – for messaging bots, e-commerce, banking, flight reservations, etc. – but that doesn’t mean they all have their own app. They all are integrated into one and the same messaging app — effectively making messaging apps the new platform for bots.
Techcrunch already last year predicated bots will replace apps, thus bot stores will be the new app store. Even the founder of Evernote has said that bots are “the most exciting thing in tech since the iPhone
While this might all have been fortune-telling…
When Microsoft and Facebook recently announced their plans to launch bots it became clear that bots are here to stay.
Microsoft for example released a bot framework that lets companies develop their own order taking bots, for example for pizza.
* Following a similar goal Messenger allows you to order Flowers from 1-800-FLOWERS. So instead of pressing one for tulips, two for roses etc you can now swipe and click your way through the process.
* But they also aim to replace emails, for things like confirmations, promotions or even boarding passes as Dutch airline KLM already offers in a pilot project.
When Microsoft jumped on the bandwagon just last month it became quite clear that bots are here to stay. On their developer conference they introduced a cleverer Cortana that incorporates a number of bots and a Bot Framework with which developers can develop bots of their own. Microsofts CEO claimed that human language capabilities will be applied across many different interfaces, suggesting that bots might find their way into all three, Windows, their cloud platform Azure and their business applications division, in the not too distant future.
Using Microsofts bot framework for example they demonstrated a pizza delivery bot that people just chat with. The user says “please send me a large pepperoni pizza” and the bot recognises what the customer has ordered (Pepperoni for toppings, and large for size) and compares is with what is till missing on its end to complete the order and then asks only these questions the user hasn’t yet answered. This chat integration is just one iteration of the bot and Microsoft plans to also offer such chats via Skype or even text messages.
At last Facebook has announced plans to make Bots centre-stage for Facebook Messenger. They want businesses to make Facebook Messenger the new central way to communicate with customers. If you thought “Wait, I thought we use Twitter for that.” there is a key difference: Facebook will allow you as the customer to purchase a businesses products through Messenger. To make you suggestions and handle your order businesses will create their own Bots that are tasked to handle all of your queries. So that when you want to order flowers from 1-800 flowers you no longer call them but Facebook message them. So instead of pressing 1 for roses, 2 for daffodils, etc. you now chat with a robot-human-hybrid that will do the same thing. Main advantage, so Facebook claims is that while a phone call always occupies your attention 100%, a chat with a bot you can quickly nip in and out of without getting overly distracted. But Messenger also aims at replacing good ol email notifications, for dispatch confirmations, promotions or even boarding passes as Dutch airline KLM already offers in a pilot project.
But how could Bots function in a business environment? Well, similar to apps bots will have a narrow skill set, so they can do more or less one thing but that relatively straight-forward. So you will have many different bots in the company. If we return to the Leave request question, a bot could allow the user to request additional Leave in a chat interface. The bot would then have 3 things he needs to know from the user: Their remaining leave, how long they want off and what for. The first, the amount of available Leave, the bot could for example look up straight from a payroll software. Then it simply captures the to and from date through chatting with the user and ask them why they request their time off, whether its Jury duty, parental leave, etc. and that’s about it really the bot has filled out the form. Short and sweet, that’s the idea behind them.
So where does this lead us? How will we work in 5 years’ time?
Well, like in Star Treks, right? Speaking into my Communicator: Hello computer, clear my paper jam. Or anything else intelligent, that prompts a magic assistant to do my work for me. By the way, we will raffle off one of these. If you want to enter, just leave your business card with me or at our stand and we will email the winner tomorrow evening.
Or like in the much-praised movie Her, where the protagonist tragically falls in love with his hyper intelligent human operating system that not only manages his entire life, but is also small enough to fit into *this* little and display-less smartphone. Also if you’ve seen the motion picture you may have noticed that there are no keyboards anywhere in the entire film. Is that fiction or a glimpse into the future?
Seriously though, in the bottom line we think that in 5 years: * Intranets will now be naturally available on all our devices. Not just phones and watches, but also in your car or even if your fridge if you like. Our data will also have learnt to move across it’s current barriers: Using a personal Dropbox or other consumerized services will be second nature to our applications, and certainly to our users. And we’ll also observe a transition from dumb repositories to some smart systems that notify us of an array of relevant updates and offer to take over some of the more repetitive parts of our work.
So if we look at this kind of Business 101 chart we can see where all our current enterprise applications lie. Here in the bottom right, they’re made for the workplace and generally not so smart. Than we have these assistants in the shape of Siri, Amazon Alexa and Cortana which are really smart but mostly centred around the consumer market. But assistants for the workplace will be combining the best of both worlds, thus becoming super smart additions to the lesser business applications.
Actually, I probably should’ve disclosed this at the beginning - but all of what you’ve seen here today isn’t going to take 5 years to hit the market. We’ve got this technology available today.
* We’ve spent the last 4 year or so developing, mostly in stealth, an Assistant that brings any Intranet 5 years into the future.
And we’re calling it NOW Assistant.
The world’s first AI Assistant for the workplace.
This is how it looks.
It always shows you just the right information at the right time by sending you these post-it note sized Cards that you can see in a stream It’s personal and just-in-time. That means the information you see is based on your role within the company and the status you see is always the most recent one. And we have over 50 pre-built bots that manage all kinds of data transactions in the background.
* Like many of the most widely used on-premise applications, for example SharePoint, or Exchange for emails and calendars. * And pretty much all cloud services popular with businesses and consumers, like Dropbox, Google Doc, Office365 and SharePoint. * Lastly of course databases for SQL, Postgres and more relational databases.
You can use these to search in many, many sources simultaneously or execute commands like for example requesting Leave. And probably the coolest aspect of the Now Assistant is: It works where you work. It’s an Omni-present Assistant, that you can use right inside whatever software you already using to get stuff done today.
But you can also react to things and execute commands. Speak to it like you would to a colleague. For that it uses Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence to recognise your intent. So you can say what you want like “Find me the last 6 invoices sent to customer 17856.” like you would to a colleague and the AI will figure it out — it works like magic. It will also deliver you instant answers: Either in the form of a definitive list of results or by taking a guess at which answer is most likely the one to answer your question. Oh and all of that works with your voice too, not just your keyboard. You can type of course, but it also offers voice recognition on Chrome for Android or PC and Mac. It’s really close to using Google Now or Apple Siri — but for searching your company instead the Internet. And of course you can give commands to start workflows or apps. Say “I want to request Leave” and the Assistant takes you to the Leave Request app; simple as that.
It’s an Omni-present Assistant, that you can use right inside whatever software you already using to get stuff done today.
So for example the Bot is available as a user in Slack and you can just ask it a question like you would a real colleague and get a reply straight way. It also is available in a host of other chat applications.
But it also comes with its own HTML5 Web App, called the Now App. Users access this through their browsers, which means it’s secure as no data is actually stored locally on the device.
* But of course it is also possible to wrap such a web app into a native app for submission to the iOS and Android App Stores.
* What’s really neat about is that it’s designed as a responsive app from the ground up.
So you would be using the same app on both your smartphone and desktop and the Cards scale and arrange themselves automatically.
But the Now Assistant also works inside your existing Intranets.
Such as SharePoint. Where you now can get this little Now Button that just slides open your personal Assistant. It shows you all of your latest Cards, you can search, start a voice prompt. It works really well, and it feels like an entirely smarter way to use an Intranet. It also has a little badge here to show me I have some new Cards, so I won’t miss anything.
And similarly in our own Intranet software IntelliEnterprise, again a button that just slides open the Assistant view.
And we also developed a Chrome extension that shows the Assistant as a drop-down on top of any other website you currently have open. So if you work predominantly in Salesforce for example, no problem the Assistant is available anywhere and it even shows you the number of new cards as a badge so you never miss an update.
Now Assistant is therefore completely vendor-neutral which in the long run will help you become more independent from software vendors. If you wanna change your email provider to Google, your chat app to Hipchat or swap Yammer for Chatter — it’s all not going to affect the way the Assistant works for you. Secondly this will help you extend the life of legacy software. Like your older SharePoint with that expensive customisation, or the old payroll software that is just too expensive in the cloud… Just connect to them with the Assistant and 1-2-3 you have them ready for your mobile users. Lastly this vendor neutrality also makes the investment into Now Assistant safe for you. We’re not tied to the success or demise of any other product so we don’t care if Oracle, SAP or Microsoft are replaced by Silicon Valley firms — we’ve been around since 1999 and the Assistant will do just fine without them.
And now its time for a short demo.
When we started working on the Assistant we quickly realised this couldn’t be yet another proprietary, closed system that but instead should work with any and all data you use. We want to help you bust all of your data silos. To do that we have come up with wicked easy and Bots. They are pre-built by us, Plug-and-Play if you will. All you as the customer will enter is the API address and select a few options. They’re really easy to set up.
And we actually have over 50 of such sources supported right from the start.
Now Assistant is available today, prices start at $2 per device. And it can be installed either on your own server behind your own firewall. Or it runs on Azure or on Amazon Web Services.
If you’re interested in trying out Now Assistant yourself, feel free to visit us at our booth outside we have a little demo set up for you and would be happy to show you around. Thank you so much everyone for your attention, and I hope you have a pleasant conference. Does anyone of you have any questions?
What if Intranets were smart? How AI Assistants can turn any Intranet into a Digital Workplace genius
• Founded 1999
• Incorporated in Boston
• 3 offices
• Main product: IntelliEnterprise
• Digital Strategy / Consultant
• Born German, Adopted Brit
• Management background
Just 5 years ago
• Little smartphone demand at
• Business apps: Mostly mail
• Virtually no 3rd party apps for
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Source: Pew Research Center
Smartphone ownership US
• Some smartphone support
• Aiming towards the Digital Workplace
• new, more effective ways of working
• exploits consumer-oriented styles and technologies
• raises employee engagement
78% College graduates
Sources: Gartner, Pew Research Center, Google, KPCB
40% BYOD Employees (2014)
More mobile searches than desktop
52% Lack of understanding
Companies has a policy for digital transformation1 in 3
Sources: McKinsey, MIT Sloan Management, Santoko Partners,
77% Missing skills
63% Need to pick up the pace
Sources: Altimeter Group, Boston Technology
Rarely use enterprise apps for poor experience2 in 3
Large enterprises no plan to develop their own apps2 in 3
Companies claim their have a “clear understanding” of digital25%
Companies report their engaging in digital transformation90%
“…companies haven’t upgraded their
intranet platform in the past five years”
• Experience on mobile
• “Silo” for company content
• Little Digital Workplace
“Most intranets were built before mobile
devices … making it difficult to provide
secure access to employees…”
• Intranets overdue an update
• New ways to understand users
• Search needs to provide answers
“…seldom executed well and is
regarded as expensive and complex”
“…12 different systems to get accurate
and up-to-date information…”
Natural Language Processing
Now Cards UI
HTML5 Web App
File Explorer and Search
Mobile Forms and
The world’s first AI Assistant for the workplace.