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What about those Chatbots anyway?

This example is an unsolicited adlib short ad-hoc article explaining how chatbots under a different name have been in use for decades in PC networked applications. Chatbots add animation and graphics to the advantage of the user. So take a short walk with me down memory lane to when the operators decisions were more rudimentary but just as effective.

​The truth is that Chatbots have been around for decades. They were not made of graphical images, and they were not animated. They were also called by other names.


In the early years, they were called Decision Trees, Decision Assists, or Decision Controls. When Server-based, PC networked business applications were built, the decision features were designed to be integrated into them. The processes were performed and databases were accessed to develop a display of pertinent decision-making information.


A popular integrated business application feature then, and it works like this:


When the CEO or other executive level in a manufacturing business arrives at the office in the morning, They need to sit down and see the essential information of the day, on-demand,  immediately. Normally, what they look at is called a dashboard. On the dashboard, some information needs to be constantly displayed. Other information needs to be displayed only when requested.


For example, what information is important to the CEO of a small to medium-sized manufacturing company? Production information is important and adherence to the production schedule is one of the most important.


  •       What orders missed being produced on schedule yesterday?

  •       What orders missed shipping on time yesterday?

  •       What orders will miss scheduled today because of shortcomings?


So the Exec sits at the desk looking at the Executive Dashboard with the heading:


"Boss, what information would you like to see?"


Plant A           Plant B           Both Combined


The Exec clicks the Decision Assist control of choice which leads to the display of these decision categories.


Missed Production           Missed Ship Date           Customers with Concerns


If the Exec selects the first option, then these controls are displayed on the dashboard.


Material Shortage           Production Failure           Services Failure


Whatever the selections are on the dashboard, the Exec needs to know the associated information and the affected customers in order to make calls and repair the problem. Then beneficial business results can be arranged.


Imagine how upset the Exec would be if a production schedule were missed because materials had not arrived from a vendor.  Material shortages should have been predicted days in advance.


What if the vendor didn't ship because this Company was in arrears with their billing. I think the AP manager in accounting would be on the hot seat in two minutes. The vendor would have to be called soon after that. The problem can be resolved. Good business can prevail but the Dashboard should have informed the Exec before the delinquency ever happened.


So, you can see part of the dashboard as a manual chatbot. The Decision Assists were designed into almost every application because we are not here to serve the janitor. We provide the executive with the information that will drive the Exec's phone calls and meetings to solve problems for customers or suppliers throughout the day.


The Decision Assists in those days, as well as Chatbots today, had to be integrated into the application so accurate information could be displayed after making the choices. So you see, Chatbots or Decision Assist has been around for decades. Back then, the Decision Assists were usually buttons to click with titles instead of dialog boxes having phrases in them with an associated space to respond.


Now, I am wondering, "What about you?"


When you sit in your executive chair in the morning, do you have a dashboard that gets the crucial issues in your face? Maybe you are decades behind?


Maybe you can see a need for a good Business Systems Analyst to set up your dashboard so you can steer your company better than ever?

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