07
Sep
2017

Enrich SharePoint Development with Chatbots

Terms like Chatbot, Artificial Intelligence and Personal Assistants are in trends since past few years. All major companies have initiated to incorporate such intelligent techniques in their respective business verticals. Like – more than 11,000 chatbots in Facebook messenger app, since April 2016 and many other examples are also available in the market.

Chatbots concept is growing as the latest standard of automation in the software development by simplifying the method for a user to receive desired information. Persona/avatar – Chatbot increases work productivity, offers information, boost ROI and decreases the searching time for B2C, B2B and B2E type of organization software solutions. Chatbot not only reverts back in text format but also in form of images, files, videos, etc.

According to Gartner, chatbots are rapidly entering in enterprises. More than half – 52% of enterprises have already developed and started using chat bots and bots for their daily purpose tasks. Bots revolutionize user’s experience to deal with an intranet, extranet or public facing solution.

When chatbots are such rapidly emerging the market and apprehending industry hype with broader appeal for users, then why can’t they affiliate with SharePoint Development for enterprise system? It surely commences a better path of interaction for employees with enterprise systems.

SP chatbot

Blending SharePoint and Chatbots Concepts

Microsoft SharePoint Development is opted mainly to fathom complicated collaboration quandaries of enterprises. With SharePoint intranet or extranet solution, the challenges are resolved, but still, 40% of organizations face issues of low adoption rates of the software solution.

To deal with this, many successful intranets and extranets have adopted a technique of integrating intelligent chatbot. Bot foster bonds with humans by swiftly fetching user-specific content. As Bots are precisely aware of with whom they are conversing, so accurate information is obvious.

After integration and configuring bot with SharePoint Enterprise solution, a user can access information of site without logging in or opening the site. If SMS service is integrated with intranet, then users can even interact with the bot in offline mode.

Steps to integrate Bot in SharePoint Development

Akin other Bot frameworks, Microsoft Bot Framework also opened up a way to develop bots. Develop activity purposed chatbot and connect it with social channels like Facebook Messenger, Slack, Skype for business, Lync, Kik, Line, etc. for user interaction. Microsoft Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS) can be used as Natural Language Processing (NLP) model for developing bot. eg. Meshbot

Prerequisite – Bot development compatible with Microsoft SharePoint. The bot can only be integrated with SharePoint Online (Office 365) and SharePoint 2016 intranet and extranet site. (For SharePoint 2016, public facing too)

  1. Register Bot on Microsoft Bot Framework (https://dev.botframework.com)
  2. Create App ID and password and Configure the bot for particular channel – Skype, Web Chat and much more
  3. To fetch information from SharePoint site, add custom logic using REST API, CSOM, etc.
  4. Publish Bot in Azure Web App
  5. Send Query and let Bot reply relevant details (Test the chatbot)
  6. Enable Bot within SPFx and configure Chat within SPFx Web Part
  7. Collect essential data and display it via bot

Showcasing Chatbot in SharePoint Illustrations

Let’s deep dive in several sample scenarios where chatbots can be integrated to leverage the activities by just chatting with a bot or commanding a bot.

SP Chatbot infographics

  • Search for users, documents, sites, contacts directly from SharePoint search with the bot.
  • Add task, view pending task and approve it from the bot. Even, the task can directly be assigned to other users directly, through bot.
  • An employee can update leave or work logs by letting it known to chatbot.
  • Bot can help in searching the documents of Document Library. Even documents can be downloaded and uploaded directly from bot.
  • Get notified regarding workflow and even approve it through bot.
  • Bots can send quick notifications for upcoming events by referring calendar. Bots acting as reminders.
  • Creating and managing meeting from bot framework
  • Chatbots send pop-up messages for updates, news, announcements and much more.
  • Intranet has pull feature by default. It can be leverage will chatbot by providing the brilliant user experience.
  • SharePoint Authentication with OAuth
  • Bots answer quickly to user’s questions and additionally suggests user to have a look on other available data (Relevant Suggestions).
  • Update fresh content on intranet site automatically with bot

Conclusion
Integrating bots with SharePoint make an employee work more prolific and highly effective as they can access desired information in just a few texts. With boosting the intranet and extranet adoption rates, bot ease woes by swiftly accomplishing time-consuming activities in an interactive manner.