In this age of big data, business analytics are likely to form an increasingly large part of business continuity planning and management.
By querying different data sources, internal and external to an enterprise, BC managers can hope to identify current risk, opportunity, and business trends, predict what might happen tomorrow, and even generate recommendations about what to do about it today.
The potential of business analytics to help enterprises survive and thrive is clear.
What is less clear is whether there is any possibility to perform them without having to hire an army of IT specialists and data scientists. But advances in chatbot technology might offer a better solution.
If you’ve surfed the Internet to any extent, you’ve probably already come across chatbots.
They are software applications designed to have a conversation with you.
The most basic ones might greet you as you connect to get a support question answered for example.
They’ll ask you what the nature of your enquiry is, then offer some ideas for help (pulled from predefined content in a database), according to keywords they spot in your question. More advanced chatbots on the other hand are now considerably closer to “understanding” what you mean, keywords or no keywords.
When an advanced chatbot serves as the interface to a business analytics system, you can start firing questions to it about your data in very much the same way as you would with your human colleagues.
For example, you could ask your chatbot to “Summarize all production line stoppages over the last year”, to have your chatbot find the necessary data, analyse it, and send you back the information, plus insights of interest, and a convenient graphic or two, all in an easy to understand and highly digestible format.
While this also depends on having a suitable business analytics application behind the chatbot to prepare the data and perform calculations, as a non-technical user, you are shielded from possible complexity, yet empowered to improve your business continuity.