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A.I. In Action: The Not-Quite-Yet Rise of Chatbots

What will it take for chatbots to become a life-changing tool for those of us involved in procurement and supply chain logistics?

Chatbots are artificial intelligence in action, freeing up valuable resources as they provide information and conduct transactions without human involvement. Because interactions with a bot don’t always go perfectly — words can be misinterpreted or mispronounced — we cannot jump on the chatbot bandwagon completely.

In an ideal world, you would have real-time conversations with chatbots, dictating tasks and getting more done in less time. All transactions would be safe, secure and free of error. You could work from anywhere. Your customers or suppliers could also access the artificial intelligence for basic information, allowing you to focus on more strategic activities.

The procurement industry needs a chatbot that can comprehend the complex world of e-commerce. This is not such a difficult thing to imagine. Amazon’s Alexa already purchases plenty of items for her masters, shifting millions of dollars in merchandise and services daily, all while playing people’s favorite music and adjusting mood lighting.

Before procurement and logistics professionals can adopt chatbot technology, we need to do some old-fashioned human planning. We need to decide where a bot can help us while still providing a great and secure experience for all stakeholders. Bots can, and already do, help with customer service. Can we trust bots to place orders for vital supplies, where one missed shipment can devastate production? Can a bot interpret the parameters of a legal contract?

Once we answer these questions, we can move full steam ahead. Let the bots manage your time- and resource-consuming tasks while you and your team work on issues that will grow your business.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ?

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