For many, a conversational platform and a chatbot are the same thing — a piece of software that lets us access information and complete actions quicker by simulating conversation with AI.
More and more companies are investing in conversational technology — with Gartner seeing a 160% increase in client interest in 2018 and predicting that 70% of white-collar workers will interact with conversational platforms on a daily basis by 2022.
So businesses are clearly seeing their value. But is a conversational platform a synonym for a chatbot? Not by a long shot.
There’s a new type in town — an advisor. It’s more than a conversational platform, it’s an augmented analytics tool that you can interact with by voice.
Let’s look deeper at how it’s different from a chatbot.
A question of infrastructure
Let’s start by comparing a chatbot and an advisor’s positioning in an infrastructure. A chatbot is a part of it — a cog in a greater machine — while an advisor is an extra layer that sits on top, and captures all of it.
A chatbot can help users complete some tasks, but it’s relatively limited in its scope and isn’t connected to data directly.
An advisor is completely integrated, absorbing everything in real-time with Fast Data Retrieval, creating a user profile with a Business Knowledge Graph and giving advice, guidance and insights with intuitive conversational AI.
What about conversation quality?
An advisor’s conversational AI is more dynamic.
A chatbot’s flow is manual, preprogrammed and based on a fixed set of questions. An advisor’s flow generates automatically based on the user’s behavior, and data. This means everything the user sees is driven by context, and they can explore business data and get proactive advice as if they were talking to a real colleague.
Here are some examples
Let’s see what that all means. We’ll look at three different queries you could ask — and how an advisor would respond against a chatbot.
‘Show me total sales’
It’s a simple question that both platforms would handle differently.
A chatbot stays on a static flow and only a limited number of phrases would trigger the conversation chain you need.
So if you manage to ask the right question, a chatbot would ask you tons more of frustrating follow-up questions. It also struggles to understand context, and (like the ‘split by country’ query above) would send you back to the start of the flow if it doesn’t understand something.
How about an advisor?
An advisor, on the other hand, adapts to your business context and can understand a wider range of questions.
It would scour user profile data in its business knowledge graph and give you what you’re looking for in seconds — taking the frustration out of data exploration, and making the insights more appropriate.
‘What this month’s new business?’
This is one way to show how an advisor works 24/7, and a chatbot works only when you have it open. So this is how a chatbot could respond to this query:
It would just give you the latest number it has in its database. This would be an advisor’s response:
The advisor would not only give the right data, it would add extra information to help you interpret it and allow you to set up an adaptive alert (which we talk more about here). It would then work round the clock to detect important changes and, at the right time, notify you.
What are sales like in Spain?
Here we can see how a chatbot just gives you data and stops, while an advisor gives extra guidance toward making the right decisions.
So here’s a chatbot’s response:
Like before, it just serves up the latest number — without any interpretation. Here’s what would happen with an advisor:
On top of giving an interpretation of the data, the advisor offers extra questions you can ask to explore the area further. This could help put the spotlight on problems you didn’t know were problems in the first place.
Here’s what an advisor does that a chatbot doesn’t:
- Adapts to your business context — with dynamic conversation that’s tailored to your role and business
- Works all the time — with 24/7 data monitoring and anomaly notification
- Guides you to right decisions — with context-based next steps that usher users to make better decisions.
An advisor is more than a chatbot — it brings data and conversation together, so they power each other. The AI behind it makes data accessible and actionable to anyone in an organization — even those who’ve never worked with data before.
It’s the new way to interact with business data, that’s set to bring the business world into the future.