This Software Helps Bots Do Their Work

Jun 07, 2017

The tech world is besotted with bots. This technology, also known as chatbots, provides automated but theoretically human-like responses to a user request. If you've clicked on a customer service button on your bank's site, you've dealt with a bot. Businesses see bots as a great way to help people buy products or receive support on products they've already bought.

But the bots themselves typically act as the front door to a world of processes happening behind the scenes. If you ask a bot for help, your request kicks off activities to get the job done.

"We sit between the chat bots at the front end and the infrastructure and business processes on the back end. We view ourselves as the operating system for this digital workforce," Blue Prism chief executive Alistair Bathgate told Fortune.

On Wednesday, the company is announcing a new version of its software that will run on public clouds like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Blue Prism's software until now has typically run on customers' own servers.

Related: Get Ready for the Battle of the Bots

"If you call your bank to report a lost or stolen credit card, that starts as a five minute conversation followed by 25 minutes of administrative processes, where someone has to cancel the card, add a new card, initiate anti-fraud procedures. We automate that 25-minute piece," he s said

Related: Chatbots Will Save Big Businesses Billions, Research Says

By opening up its technology to run on massive public cloud data centers, Blue Prism can also take advantage of all the artificial intelligence and other services those clouds offer, Bathgate said.

In this arena, which techies call robotic process automation or RPA, Blue Prism competes with companies like UIPath and Automation Anywhere. The big cloud providers, which are pouring billions into AI and other services, could enter the fray on their own as well.

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This is a potentially huge market, as companies of all kinds seek to improve customer service and sell more products. Last month, U.K.-based research firm Juniper estimated that bot technology will save businesses $8 billion worldwide by 2022, compared to just $20 million this year.

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