Bots can beat the noise

Technology as we know it, was supposed to reduce the stress from our lives and improve the general productivity. As obvious outcome is to deliver more in same or lesser amount of time. People were supposed to focus more on the more productive ideation side while technology was supposed to relieve us.

However what have we got? More noise, more distractions, more non-productive interactions, pervasiveness killing time with meaningless conversations.

Analyse this:

funny whatsapp picture messages desktop

While desktops graduated to laptops, the real killer app came in the form of smart mobile phones. The smartphones broke so many barriers that technology has become a necessity, availability continuous and reach pervasive. Consequently, we are mired with too much of noise than actual work.

funny-whatsapp-picture-phone.png

Consequently, the noise and distractions have caused somewhat a dip in productivity, or least has not led to the promised gains.

One of the key challenges that one sees in the corporate world today is the need to have more and more meetings – on time, with all the required stakeholders – to make decisions.

Many service and tech product organisations are moving to Agile Methodologies of project execution. Manufacturing units are moving to extreme fast prototyping. Besides, almost all businesses are undergoing the disruption to move faster, fail faster if that be the case.

In such an environment, the noise from technology can be a deterrent to the velocity that the organisation wants to attain. When combined, it can lead to monumental losses of time, resources and employee engagement.

Interestingly, the answer to navigate through this noise could lie in technology itself.

The recently popular chatbots provide an effective way to take care of some of the regular repetitive tasks done by individuals. These tasks should not require human being.

Picture this. Almost everybody is needed to fill the timesheets to provide inputs to the management about the project cost and expended amounts. However, there is always a strike rate of 10% failure in timely submission of timesheets.

Now, you may argue that people get emails. It is fine. However, in the world of automated responses and cluttered mailboxes, these emails can get easily lost. What are you left with? Ping the person who has not submitted the timesheet on time and ask him to submit their timesheets. What did we gain in this transaction? Largely nothing, as the time has already elapsed for the person to fill her timesheet. What did we lose? We lost time of atleast one individual in follow-up.

Lets say we can build a chatbot that can do these automatic pings. Wouldn’t it be easy and convenient and fast with no manual intervention.

This appears to be a strong use case. When you lap it up with the organiser pings, who are patiently waiting for you in the meeting that started 10 minutes back. But since you were so busy in preparation that you just ignored the calendar reminder. Instead of this, if a chatbot pings you and reminds you that you need to attend the important meeting.  Its not only cool but also convenient to all.

With many such use cases, I believe there is a way to improve the managerial productivity in the workplace. These are simple solutions that can take stress out of the system. While I am not very familiar with the chatbots world, it sounds truly intriguing to think about it and build something around them.

Watch this space as I discuss my progress with the chatbot in following days.

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