Are bots the future of business?

June 2, 2016

Bots are becoming a hot topic in the tech world, with big names like Facebook and Google following the trend closely.

Recently, Google announced a series of bot-making tools for developers to create their own bot integrations. As more large companies turn their attention to bots, it’s hard to ignore their future potential.

But what are bots, you may ask? Simply, a bot (like a robot) is an internet software that performs an automated task. Chat bots are the main topic of conversation, integrated bots that answer your questions. A great example is Citymapper's new web bot, chat with the bot as it predicts your location and more.

Here at Red C, our experience has shown us that digital solutions have the power to truly transform business. The automation of the workplace, whether it is in marketing, sales or HR is increasingly more inevitable. Internal apps have overhauled outdated paper based system, saving valuable time and money for our clients. The integration of apps for business has improved efficiency for employees and enabled customers to engage and connect with companies. We know the future of business is apps, but will it also eventually be bots?

Bot integration for business has numerous possibilities. Here at Red C we are already using bots on a small scale. Team communication app Slack, is something the Red C team could not live without. The app has become an invaluable tool for communicating internally as a team and with our clients. The correspondence is kept in one channel, which is searchable and includes file upload. Within Slack there are integrated bots, SlackBot is available to all users and can be programmed to provide automated responses. At the moment in our office, Slackbot is used mainly for fun, but it also shows the real possibilities of bots for business. Slackbot is programmed to link with our marketing automation system, so that every time a quote request is filled out on our website we are automatically notified in our Slack channel dedicated to opportunities. Slack already provides some interesting bot integrations for business, Statsbot for example provides automated updates on your Google Analytics. Ask Statsbot for your conversions or new visits this week - a great short cut saving valuable business time.

On a larger scale a Bot could be used to run a whole arm of a business in the future.  Apps are already emerging as the future of business, with businesses investing across the board in internal apps.  For example, Bots could squash the need for a HR department, employees could ask the Bot: ‘how many days holiday do I have left?’ The Bots instant response is the most exciting, a sales department could use the Bot to source figures for the previous quarter, find out how their company compares to the competition or find information out about potential leads.

One of the most exciting prospects is to link chat bots to real life tasks - imagine bots of the future noting that you are running low on milk and automatically adding it to your next food shop order.  All the mundane and time consuming tasks of daily life could be taken over by the bot. The possibilities are endless.

Despite their exciting potential, bots are still far off from being fully integrated into business. The current buzz would have us believe that bots for business are just around the corner, but the reality is that they are far from flawless. Ultimately bot tech still needs time and money to reach its potential.

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