Business Agility in Organizations
Business agility refers to the ability of a company or organization to rapidly react to changes and uncertainties, particularly in complex and ambiguous business environments. In today’s rapidly changing business environment, many companies and organizations strive to enhance their business agility to sustain their business. Business agility can be enhanced through efficiently using resources such as culture and systems, including information technology. In fact, companies and organizations have increasingly invested in emerging information technologies to improve their business agility.
We recently published a paper explaining how chatbots can help enhance business agility. In the paper, we posited that companies and organizations can use chatbots innovatively to improve their responses to customer needs and market changes. In our view, there are two types of chatbot use: routine use and innovative use. I would like to elaborate on these two types of chatbot use and how they can create business agility.
Routine and Innovative Uses of Chatbots
Companies and organizations have increasingly used chatbots to enhance their business operations. After chatbots have been implemented, they need to be used by marketing employees to provide customer service to add value. We posit that there are two types of chatbot use in organizations: routine and innovative. These two types leverage the primary attributes of chatbots and help us understand how marketing employees can use them to interact with their customers. Below, I will elaborate on each of them.
Routine use refers to the integration of information technology into normal work processes within organizations. Employees can use information technologies in a routine and standardized manner to support their job tasks. As such, routine use can allow employees to become familiar with technologies when performing tasks, thus improving their work efficiency. In the context of chatbots, marketing employees can use chatbots in a routine manner to interact with their customers. For example, marketing employees can use chatbots to answer customers’ routine questions, providing the relevant information quickly and automatically. They can also use chatbots to collect feedback from their customers.
Innovative use refers to the deep and comprehensive embedding of information technologies and new ways of using them, into the work process. Employees can discover new ways to use information technologies to support their job tasks. As such, innovative use can allow employees to develop creative alternative uses of a certain technology when performing tasks, thus creating new values in novel ways. Specifically, marketing employees can use chatbots in an innovative manner to support their business operations. For example, they can analyze conversational data collected by chatbots to identify additional marketing opportunities or threats. They can also ask better designed questions when they are interacting with their customers.
Internal and External Business Agility
We further posit that those two types of chatbot use can help companies respond to marketing changes more efficiently, thus enhancing business agility. With the use of chatbots, marketing employees can improve their interactions with customers, answering customers’ questions and addressing their problems efficiently. They can also understand customers better and identify and fulfill their needs. In addition, they can identify changes and design target responses to them more efficiently and effectively, thus increasing business agility. Therefore, we conclude that the use of chatbots enables companies to achieve the agility needed to respond to changes in both internal customer demand and external market. Accordingly, we identify two types of chatbot-enabled agility: internal and external.
Internal chatbot agility refers to the flexibility of companies, enabled by chatbots, to respond to customer demand, fulfil customer needs, and answer customers’ questions efficiently and effectively. Chatbots can help achieve internal agility through internal sourcing. For example, chatbots can analyze customer data via AI algorithms (e.g., machine learning) to understand how to address customers’ questions. These solutions can then be implemented in chatbots to improve customer service.
External chatbot agility refers to the flexibility of companies, empowered by chatbots, to respond to market changes efficiently and to identify new marketing opportunities. Chatbots can help achieve external agility through external sourcing. For example, chatbots can analyze market trends and changes from external sources via AI algorithms (e.g., machine learning) and develop their estimations of different markets. These estimations can help companies continuously adapt to ever-changing markets.
In summary, businesses and organizations can use chatbots in both routine and innovative ways. Those two types of chatbot use help them achieve internal and external chatbot-enabled agility. Chatbots represent great opportunities for companies to enhance their operations and sustain their business.