In the latest instalment of our HR executive interview series, we sat down with ubisend CMO Alex Debecker to talk about his company, industry trends and fine whisky…
Tell us about your company, products and services
ubisend is a creative artificial intelligence company which specialises in conversational software (‘chatbots’). We help medium to large size companies solve business challenges with conversational software.
We mainly focus on the HR, sales, and customer service departments.
Our high-end, tailor-made chatbots help these departments achieve more with less, make processes more efficient, and remove some of the burden of routine tasks from humans. We work hard to make machines and humans work together, to create something greater than the sum of their parts.
What have been the biggest challenges the Human Resources industry has faced over the past 12 months?
The concept of digital transformation has taken every organisation by storm. Everything must be stored, tracked, and measured digitally.
This shift, though necessary, placed multiple challenges on an already stretched HR department.
Often, HR is the last department within the organisation to get funding, most of it going to revenue-generating departments like sales or marketing. This results in HR becoming an atrophied team required to service an ever-growing workforce.
This is the main reason why, over recent years, almost 70% of the solutions we’ve deployed help HR departments. There is a desperate need for assistance and efficiencies.
And what have been the biggest opportunities?
We have noticed most HR teams welcome the pressure to implement digital processes.
They welcome the change because a more digital approach makes their work more visible and reportable. At the same time, it forces management to acknowledge the inefficiencies.
For example, we found the average HR team spends around 40% of their time completing repetitive, automatable tasks. It is an incredible opportunity. With an HR chatbot, they can automate these tasks and receive close to half of their time back.
What is the biggest priority for the Human Resources industry in 2020?
We recently asked this question in a survey of 100 HR leaders, all working at companies with 250+ employees.
27% put ‘reducing HR staff workload’ as their immediate priority, closely followed (23%) by ‘better digitise the employee experience’.
The HR chatbot, a smart, AI-powered piece of software, can easily handle repetitive HR tasks and save precious time. An initial, lightweight approach, could be as simple as a first-line helpdesk for employees. Even this can save a mid-size company tens of thousands of pounds every year.
What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?
Conversational software, without a doubt.
We have hit a critical point in both technology and society. Chatbots have always been an exciting, almost futuristic idea. After all, talking naturally with a computer appears throughout science fiction.
Today, we’re at the point where technology gives us a glimpse of what’s coming.
Every tech-savvy person will tell you this: we’re nowhere near the Star Trek-esque human-to-machine interactions. And that’s what makes this so exciting!
The results we’ve seen with our chatbot technology has been astounding. This only gets us more excited for the future.
In 2022 we’ll all be talking about…?
I like to think most businesses will, by then, have a chatbot implemented (and Business Insider seems to agree). A chatbot will be as prolific, and required, as a website: every business will need one. Talking to a company’s chatbot will be commonplace.
In HR, chatbots will take over many routine, key, processes. We are already seeing larger companies using chatbot automation within their recruitment process. I believe this is the ‘big one’ that is going to take off (after the first-line helpdesk HR chatbot).
Large companies struggle to handle the influx of CVs they get. One of our recent clients has over 350 vacancies at all times and receives over 100 CVs per day. It’s physically impossible for the HR team to review them all.
By 2022, most companies will implement an intelligent chatbot solution that interacts with candidates, collecting relevant information, and prioritising CVs. It will save both the candidates and the company a lot of time.
This is not science fiction. We have built this solution for several large UK companies (and continue to do so). I expect that by 2022, this will become the norm.
You go to the bar at the London/Manchester HR Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?
I am partial to peaty whisky on the rocks or an old-fashioned!
What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
There are two things.
The first is the wide variety of businesses and solutions we see. Since ubisend builds custom-made, high-end chatbot solutions, we tend to work with vastly different companies on different solutions. One day it might be a recruitment chatbot for an FTSE100, another it may be a Google-backed chatbot that can talk about any historical event from the last 150 years.
The second is technology. ubisend is at the forefront of innovative and exciting technology. The tools and solutions we build every day are often the first of their kind. We get to lead the way and create best practise, and, as a geek, there’s nothing more exciting than that!
To find out more about ubisend’s HR chatbot solutions, reach out to their team of experts and book a free demo at https://www.ubisend.com/hr/hr-chatbot