From artificial intelligence to data privacy to human rights, the fast pace of business makes it harder than ever for people to make ethical decisions. Not only do organizations need a strong culture of ethics and compliance but they also need new ways to access information in the moments that matter.
Until recently, when our people had an ethics question they had to dig deep to find a dense PDF that was difficult to navigate and time consuming to get an answer from. As we invested in world-class compliance programs and embraced digital transformation across our company, it became clear that our Code of Business Ethics needed a digital makeover too.
Design for a global workforce
We joined forces with our colleagues at Fjord to co-create a solution that would give our people—425,000 strong and predominantly millennials—access to ethics information whenever they need it. The team included experience designers, creatives, content strategists, technologists, legal experts, HR and learning specialists, and marketers—spanning different geographies, nationalities and career levels.
Chad Jerdee, General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer,
explains how COBE helps our people become better leaders.
“The team had great chemistry
and skills that complemented
one another. We were ‘in the
zone.’ It felt great to be a part
of such a talented and selfless
group of individuals.”
Program Management Lead at Fjord
Drawing from the team’s unique perspectives and using a design thinking approach, Fjord researched what people expected from the Code of Business Ethics and how they wanted to use it. A three-step solution emerged:
1. Simplify the Code, by organizing it around desired behaviors, not policies and add topics relevant to the new digital world we live in.
2. Create an easy-to-use, accessible internal website and chatbot that guides Accenture employees to relevant information in the Code.
3. Reinvent the ethics and compliance training to be more engaging and tailored to how people learn today.
We designed and built a user-friendly Code of Business Ethics website embedded with the chatbot, which we named COBE. The bot is built on an intricate content matrix of potential keywords and context, which fuels a decision tree.
While COBE works hard sifting through the matrix in the background, users navigate their way through complex subject matter anonymously and seamlessly. We wanted to ensure the interactions felt natural to people, but also make it very clear that the user was engaging with a bot, not a person.
“COBE brings the magic
of digital engagement to
an unexpected topic.
It's a great example of
human decision making.”
Deputy General Counsel
increase in daily visits to the Code of Business Ethics internal website
chatbot session in the first 4 weeks
increase in training completion rate within the first week compared to the previous year.
Responsible people make responsible business
To be a truly great company we know that we must go further than mere compliance. The simplified Code of Business Ethics and the chatbot COBE are designed to do just that. They empower us to make good decisions a natural part of what we do every day—for our clients, business partners, the communities where we live and the environment.
What’s next for COBE
The team reunited in early 2018 to kick off Phase 2 of COBE’s expansion, which includes adding a natural language processing engine to analyze user intent and increase the accuracy of the bot’s responses. The chatbot framework will also be leveraged as an anything-as-a-service (XaaS) solution for Accenture clients.
“We wanted to give our people an easier way to access the Code. We regularly develop innovative solutions with and for our clients. Why shouldn’t we do the same for ourselves?”
Global Ethics & Compliance
Managing Director, Accenture
“The chatbot not only gives our people answers, but also integrates seamlessly with the other tools and resources they need. We wanted a useful tool that people would keep coming back to.”
Ethics & Compliance
“Chatbot user interaction patterns are still emerging. Designing a chatbot today is a bit like designing a mobile app 10 years ago.”
“We put our people at the center of the design process and asked ourselves, how could we inspire and empower them to make good choices and responsible decisions?”
Deputy General Counsel, Accenture
“The bar for visual design was very high. Our initial pass at the chatbot identity was met with some tough love, but we listened to each other really well and pivoted to the right direction.”
Design Lead, Fjord
“We wanted COBE’s aesthetic to convey openness and feel distinctively Accenture, so we chose simple shapes, inviting colors, and generous white space.”
Chief Creative Officer, Accenture
“Our people already have expectations about how bots ‘sound’ thanks to Alexa and Siri. So we asked our writers to make sure to read the bot responses aloud to see whether it felt like natural conversation.”
Managing Director, Content Marketing, Accenture
“The design thinking process—centered on the end user—helped us shape COBE’s voice, one word at a time and with a great deal of empathy.”
Content Strategist, Accenture
“A ton of consideration went into writing the bot’s interactions. We had to turn legal content into simple and engaging responses that still were in the spirit of the Code.”
Content Designer, Fjord
“We introduced the new Code to employees using conversational language, relatable stories and new digital channels—mirroring the overall Code and chatbot experience.”
Corporate Internal Communication Lead, Accenture
“Our team transformed the training approach to focus on relevant, bite-sized content to engage our people and bring the Code to life for the everyday moments that matter.”
HR Learning Ethics & Compliance Lead, Accenture
“The XaaS chatbot is seamlessly working with Accenture-developed technology components. We’re already planning new features, including natural language processing enhancements.”
Product & Offering Lead, Accenture
“The development team worked hard to customize the XaaS (Anything-as-a-Service) platform and seamlessly integrate it with our enterprise systems.”
Application Development Lead, Accenture
“Rapid development of chatbot solutions using XaaS will always be a fun and engaging experience for any developers out there.”
Tech Architecture Delivery Lead, Accenture
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