CTO eating its own c(h)at food

After several years as the co-founder and CTO of a startup (Konverso), building an enterprise bot platform and ready-to-use bots for our customers and partners, I realized I was not actively using a virtual assistant for my own good! What would be the result ? Can I really find value for a personal virtual assistant that would help me in my daily tasks? This is the challenge I decided to take on at the end of this summer.

The environment

We are a team of about 20, including roughly 14 developers. We are super active, motivated, working on intense two weeks sprint cycles with a large number of enhancements and bug fixes. We build an enterprise-ready chatbot platform focusing on the IT world.

Defining the Use Cases

So… as a team we decided to build our own bot to help us in our daily activities. We agreed on starting with the following features:

  • Quick actions to Resolve or Comment on tickets, to get a list of tickets
  • Search within our various internal wikis, with a display of the results embedded in the chat
  • Being able to start and stop our VMs
  • Ability to create Outlook and Teams meetings, to search in our O365 files on SharePoint and OneDrive
  • Search for technical support from Microsoft, Google, StackOverflow public knowledge bases
  • Propose technical tips and process reminders

Building it

The above was done over a couple of weeks, as a side task by the team. It was overall easy since we build bots for enterprise and most of these connectors were already available, the workflows for ticket management were in place and the conversational search on enterprise knowledge base was available. Building this from scratch on a GAFAM platform would have been much more involving.

And the result is?

Well, first of all, the most challenging thing is adoption. We have our usual tools, on classic web interfaces, we know them well. To win, the bot needs to be even more accessible, reaching it should be super convenient, with access through various interfaces, simple and quick. What makes it so valuable is that it is always there, ready to use, with no need to open yet another app. So we shared it via Skype, Teams, and web chats on our internal portal. It has also been required to discuss it daily in our team meetings, to keep the topic active, to demonstrate and discuss features, to push all team members to use it, to make small changes and surprise enhancements to the rest of the team.

My core passion is building softwares. I am now CTO and co-founder of Konverso, a startup building virtual assistants powered by AI and NLP (www.konverso.ai)