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Espressive Barista Is the First AI-Based Employee Self-Service Solution to Automate Processes While Maintaining Compliance

Customers Automate Resolution of Employee Questions, Significantly Lowering Help Desk Call Volume

Espressive, the pioneer in artificial intelligence (AI) for employee self-service and a 2019 Gartner Cool Vendor, announced that its AI-based virtual support agent, Espressive Barista, now includes approver workflows to ensure that enterprise customers maintain compliance while automating processes. Espressive also announced a unique capability to not only ingest existing knowledge base articles, but to use advanced AI to understand the language and context of the articles to deliver specific answers to employee questions. Additional enhancements include expanding its omni-channel capabilities by including integration with Microsoft Teams, as well as mailing list automation. With these new capabilities, Espressive customers can automate resolution of employee questions, issues, and requests while maintaining compliance and significantly lowering help desk call volume. The company is experiencing strong customer expansion across a range of verticals including healthcare, retail, technology, and more.

“At Espressive, we’re not simply focused on automating work, but in doing it in a way that ensures our customers can maintain compliance—and Barista is the only virtual agent that accomplishes that mission,” said Pat Calhoun, CEO and founder of Espressive. “In addition, for customers using ServiceNow for approvals, Barista provides a measurable ROI because unlike Barista, the ServiceNow approver capability requires an additional license fee.”

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Barista Integrates Approver Workflows to Maintain Compliance While Automating Self-Service

Enterprises that want to optimize employee requests through automation are faced with the fact that compliance doesn’t go away. While some requests involve processes that are simple and can be handled directly (e.g., resetting a password), others require one or more levels of approval that need to be recorded for auditing purposes.

With the new approver capability, as employees make requests that require approvals (e.g., ordering equipment or creating a mailing list) Barista initiates approvals to the right individual(s) and/or group(s) before fulfilling the request. Once approved, Barista automatically completes the task. For audit purposes, customers can either create an approval report directly from Barista or leverage the information Barista documents in their systems of record.

“The number of requests that come to our Help Desk continues to decline because Barista goes beyond answering basic questions and into automating workflows,” said Chris Flynn, vice president of Employee Enablement for Okta. “Now that we can also automate workflows that require approvals, we’ll likely see Help Desk requests decline further while we simultaneously improve our compliance posture. Our goal is for Barista to be our tier zero support tool so we can free up Help Desk agents to work on strategic IT initiatives.”

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Knowledge Base Articles Are Understood and Presented Only as Specific Answers

Portals with knowledge base articles have been the standard self-service tool for over 10 years. However, when it comes to employee adoption of these tools, research firm Intellyx estimates an average of less than 10%. For knowledge base articles to be of value, they need to be delivered in a way that is easy for employees to consume.

To overcome this issue, Espressive applies advanced AI to ingest knowledge base articles and then map them back to the Barista Employee Language Cloud. That way Barista understands all possible permutations of an employee phrase for every article. Barista also uses the Employee Language Cloud to understand the context of the question. If Barista has a knowledge base article with the answer to a specific question, Barista provides only that article.

“When we introduced Barista to the HR team for a leading manufacturer of healthcare equipment, they were concerned about having to give up all the hard work that went into their HR knowledge base and portal,” said Alex Yupanqui, head of customer success for Espressive. “They were pleasantly surprised to see that the work they had done complimented what Barista does, and that Barista actually makes their articles more accessible to employees where and when they need them.”

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Additional Enhancements to Espressive Barista
  • Microsoft Teams Integration: For a virtual support agent to be adopted, it has to deliver a consumer-like experience that is both intuitive and accessible as a native app across Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, and MacOS as well as through a browser. Achieving high adoption has historically been a challenge because old habits are hard to break, and most self-service tools have required employees to behave differently. Espressive believes that achieving high adoption requires an omni-channel approach that is capable of capturing all help desk interactions. Barista is able to intercept messages sent through multiple channels – the latest of which is Microsoft Teams. With extensive omni-channel support, customers are able to achieve 80% employee adoption or more, which directly translates to reduced help desk call volume, and enables valuable help desk resources to focus on strategic initiatives while Barista picks up Tier 1 support.
  • Mailing List Automation: Today, creating mailing lists in Office 365 or Google requires technical skills, and in some cases, privileged access. With the new Espressive capability, employees can request the creation or management of mailing lists directly from Barista. For instance, a manager can request that a mailing list be created for his team simply by asking Barista to “create a mailing list for my team.” Barista then handles all of the complex automation to ensure the mailing list is created, and then the right members are added automatically. If the organization has an approval process for mailing list management, the Barista approval capabilities can be leveraged to ensure compliance.

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