Five years back, people would have laughed off the idea of chatbots taking up most of the internal and external operations of a bank. But, with banks successfully riding the conversational AI wave to revolutionize areas including customer service and sales, detractors will now have to think twice before dismissing the idea. Bots have now become an integral part of their digital transformation strategies. The focus is now on expanding improve the scope of conversational AI to other business functions.

With banks now eyeing exponential increase in the scope of bots, traditional modes of service delivery have come under the scanner. Higher lead time and lower data security make the traditional models inapplicable to the current business environment, which is marked by a series of high-paced change. As an alternative to both in-house and third-party development of bots, the platform model of bot delivery has risen, which will make the banks more and nimble and agile when it comes to addressing customer requirements.

Conversational AI platform as a business model

Conversational AI platforms are innovative platforms that automates the process of bot development enabling the banks to launch a bespoke conversational agent literally off the shelf. The following tenants of this business model makes it the go-to option for banks (any business organization for that matter) which are considering to implement a bot.

1. Reduced capital expenditure

When it comes to technology’s business adoption, huge capital investment upfront is a major hurdle especially for the small and medium enterprises. A platform, with is flexible payment options and tiered pricing, will help SMEs to overcome this hurdle. It offers them a chance to reap benefits out of a growing technology without actually getting into the complications of having to develop one from scratch and without having to burn a hole in the pocket.

2. Reduced lead times

Typically, it takes 6-8 months of planning, development and testing before an enterprise bot could go live. A conversational AI platform turns the traditional delivery cycle on his head and tilts it heavily in the favour of businesses. There are platforms available in the market that would allow businesses to launch enterprise-level bots in considerably lower time. Lower lead times will allow businesses to innovate continually, keeping up with the pace of an extremely volatile digital marketplace.

3. Reduced cost of maintenance

According to a Venture Beat report, the average set up cost for an in-house or third-party developed bot is approximately between US$5,000-US$10,000. This figure, however, doesn’t include the maintenance charges, that spikes up the total cost of ownership (TCO). Every time you upgrade your bot, charges are involved. Conversational AI platforms help businesses to save money by reducing dependency on third-party service providers. Also, by offering customizable packages instead of slapping on pre-defined ones, platforms offer tremendous flexibility to the users that translates into savings.

4. Reduced skill requirement

Platforms automate the process of building a chatbot. There are platforms available in the market that would allow you to launch an enterprise-level bot even without writing a single code. Whether you are trying to build an in-house chatbot development team, or trying to hire a third-party vendor, access to talent is always a difficult and costly affair. Platforms with their drag and drop user interface considerably lowers the skill requirement so that even people with little or no knowledge would be able to develop a platform. This means that the organisation could now focus more on the domain modelling part of the chatbot development rather than fidgeting with the technical aspects. This, along with advancements in areas like Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and Machine Learning(ML), would ultimately result in bots which could handle complex use cases with utmost ease.

5. Increased technical Support

Technical support that the platform could either be direct or indirect. Direct support include access to exclusive study/reference materials, videos and customer contact centres. Some providers even use the platform as a channel of communication with the users, offering on-the-fly fixes. The indirect support is through memberships to the exclusive communities which would allow the users to learn and interact.

6. Improved scalability

On-demand scalability both in terms of the scope of the chatbot and channels into which they have embedded another advantage of chatbot platform. Expansion of the bot’s knowledge base, adding new use cases, and extending the services of the bots to other platforms can be done relatively easily. 

Originally published in YourStory

  • CogniCor

What's at stake for enterprises opting for conversational AI platforms

Intelligence is the ability to change. That’s what one of the most intelligent human beings ever lived, Albert Einstein, said. Even though the context of his description was different, it holds true for modern businesses. Take a look at the rate at which technological transformation is happening across industries. It is only logical to conclude that the traditional business structures and processes are bound to change so that organizations could cope with this dizzying pace of change.

Top five advantages of conversational AI platforms
Top five advantages of conversational AI platforms

This, without doubt, will get reflected on how technology is being delivered to businesses. Platform as a service model (paas), which has already made its presence felt, will become the choicest solution for businesses that are looking forward towards software deployment.

The trend is already visible in the virtual assistant market. The number of conversational AI platforms that are being launched reinstate that businesses have already figured out the potential that the paas model offers. While flexibility remains the single biggest driver, there are other advantages that make conversational AI platforms indispensable.


The need for modern businesses to be flexible can’t be stressed more. Changes are now happening at the rate of knots. In order to address these fast-paced changes, organizations are embracing flat structures, which would facilitate faster decision making by shortening the command chain. Conversational AI platforms, by keeping the turnaround time to a bare minimum, help businesses to address uncertainties of a volatile digital market.


Often what happens with in-house/third party bot development is that after a point the entire process becomes saturated. Organizations fail to incorporate the latest technology despite having an in-house R&D team to keep a tab on the latest developments. One possible reason might be the lack of resources. The obvious result of this fizzle out is the ever-widening customer expectation gap. Conversational AI platforms offer organizations the best technology and the latest updates in a cost-effective manner so that the skill requirements are always kept to a minimum.


Many organizations develop a bot with one particular channel in mind. And later when they want to switch or scale to a new platform the entire process has to be repeated, which is time-consuming. Some chatbot platforms, however, offer it, users, omnichannel bot deployment capabilities which means that chatbots could be integrated into various channels in no time, while automatically taking care of all the channel specific requirements.

A chatbot is a very generic term. Depending on the problems they solve, there many varieties of enterprise chatbot including support, skilled and assistants. It could either be customer-facing or agent-facing. Each type requires different levels of domain knowledge, contextual awareness and understanding. A virtual assistant platform is incredibly versatile that it allows users to use the conversational AI technologies to address both industry requirements and also their specific business problems.


Learning is a key aspect of any AI-system. One of the most important criteria that you should use to judge the merit of any chatbot platform is how easy is it to train the bot. Does the learning happen by itself? Or is it a facilitated process. Generally, in conversational AI platforms, it is a combination of different types of machine learning techniques including Supervised Learning, Semi-supervised Learning, Unsupervised Learning and Reinforcement Learning, that powers the intelligence. Varying levels of human intervention is necessary for each type. And while selecting a platform, the number of manhours you need to invest in training for achieving the desired levels of accuracy should be a prime consideration.


Generally, what prevents businesses from deploying a chatbot is the huge initial investment. But platforms, with their flexible pricing, offers a tremendous opportunity, especially for small and medium enterprises, to take advantage of a technology that’s growing. The payment option could range from License Fee to Pay-Per-Performance. Organizations could choose a model that would best address their goals.

Chatbot platform is a generic term. It would either mean a chatbot framework like Microsoft Bot Framework that would require coding or a DIY platform like Amazon Lex. The advantages that we have discussed may greatly vary depending on the type of conversational AI platform that you choose. However, quick turnaround time is an advantage that is ubiquitous to all platforms. That alone is sufficient enough to make platform an intelligent choice for businesses. After all, intelligence is nothing but your ability to understand and adapt to change.  

Originally published on YourStory

  • CogniCor

Virtual Assistants are an industry standard. More than half of the financial institutions have deployed chatbots improving customer experience at low cost, enabling banks to serve customers any time anywhere and increasing revenue. Using the CogniCor platform, financial institutions have been able to experience ROI of $100 million.

Virtual assistants have changed enormously since its early days and continue to evolve with advancement in technology. Buzzwords like NLP, Machine Learning, AI and Cognitive are often used by chatbot firms and it can be difficult to cut through the noise. There is no dearth of virtual assistants in the market and not all bots are created equal.

Choosing a Virtual Assistant

Most chatbots follow a scripted conversational flow, answering only simple questions and fail when user deviates from the script. Such bots are inflexible and difficult to maintain. On the other hand, Cognitive Virtual Assistants simulate real world understanding of concepts and generate responses on the fly. Such bots are not pre-programmed.

CogniCor’s AI-powered cognitive virtual assistant drives customers experience by conversing like humans. In addition CogniCor’s CIRA, a DIY platform for financial institutions, helps users build knowledge driven cognitive virtual assistants.

Benefits of a Cognitive Virtual Assistant

AI-powered bots use emerging technologies like NLP and Machine Learning to continuously learn, situate conversation in context and accurately identify customer’s issues. CogniCor built Cognitive Virtual Assistants that:

  1. Quickly learns from existing knowledge base - Most vendors ask for a large knowledge base to build the knowledge repository (PDFs, policy documents, share point, chat logs, etc). But manually creating a list of intents from the knowledge base is tedious. Using CogniCor’s CIRA, users can easily extracts intents from existing documents, chat logs and policies in seconds.

  2. Synthesize answers and handles failures elegantly - A key differentiator between robust chatbots and a simple one is the way they handle failures. CogniCor’s cognitive virtual assistant gracefully handles failures in a way that minimises user frustration and maximises course correction.

  3. Handle complex queries - Most chatbots perform simple repetitive tasks such as routing user to answer a generic inquiry but the capability to handle complex queries and perform multiple tasks at once requires a higher level of cognition. CogniCor’s cognitive virtual assistant handles complex scenarios such as financial product comparison, execute in-chat transactions, explore what-if scenarios, provide personalised recommendation and policy based response.

Going Beyond the Norm: Make Banking a Breeze

Boosting bottom line and increasing conversion rate, cognitive virtual assistants are widely used for sales and customer acquisition. Using the CogniCor platform, OCBC Bank in Singapore launched a predictive chatbot that generated $33 million worth home loan leads within six months. The bot detected customers who are more likely to convert and qualified those leads.

Financial Institutions can realise ROI by deploying virtual assistants across all points of customer journey from sales to post-sales. By integrating with the bank's back-end, banks can also serve existing customers and make everyday banking a walk in the park. Customers can easily access existing account information and manage money through chatbots. However, the power of cognitive virtual assistants is realised when they are used to provide personalised recommendation. Using CogniCor’s recommendation agent, banks have been able to create proactive bots that recommend financial products based on customer profile and spending patterns.

Application of Chatbots in Banking beyond Sales and Customer Service
Application of Chatbots in Banking beyond Sales and Customer Service

While the hype is on customer service, chatbots have a huge potential to streamline digital workplace and boost productivity. They can be used to improve employee engagement, automate IT support tasks and provide management information to senior management.

To deploy virtual assistants across the organisation both internally and customer-facing, financial institutions need to ensure a consistent and fulfilling customer experience. An enterprise cognitive chatbot platform will help organisations reuse developed components, unlock potential by combining multiple data sources and easily scale cognitive virtual assistants with minimum capital investment.

CIRA - Launch a Cognitive Virtual Assistant without writing a single line of code

CogniCor’s CIRA helps financial institutions launch a cognitive virtual assistant without writing a single line of code. Leveraging the domain knowledge built over the years, CIRA offers a quick and intuitive way to build a cognitive virtual assistant for any aspect of banking by choosing from pre-built templates.

Features of CIRA, a DIY virtual assistant platform powered by CogniCor

Existing bots can be imported and managed in CIRA. In addition, teams can easily create projects, design workflows and test multiple virtual assistants in parallel making collaboration easy and reducing time to market.

Painting the Future with Voice

Convenience needs to be the first thing that comes to a customer’s mind when they think of banking and such a reality is not far away. By going beyond mobile apps and integrating with mediums like Facebook messenger, financial institutions have begun to use chatbots to reach new customers and better serve existing customers.

In terms of AI development, chatbots are just the beginning and the tide will shift when the industry moves to voice-enabled assistants. With integration with Google home, Siri or Alexa, voice-enabled assistants can guide/prompt customers before they can even utter a word. Voice-powered chatbots are the next frontier that can manage banking operations with proactive intelligence.

About CogniCor

CogniCor is one of the fastest growing providers of cognitive chatbots for the financial services, insurance and IT support industries. A spin-off from Europe’s top Artificial Intelligence Institute, the company has deployed its solution across the globe and featured in Forrester, Gartner and IDC reports. Over the last four years, CogniCor has facilitated over 5 million interactions and delivered ROI worth $100m.

Meet CogniCor at RBS TechStock 2018 from August 7 - August 10 in Gurugram, India along with our partner World Wide Technology, a leading innovative technology and supply chain solutions provider.