Challenge

Accenture applies innovation not only for its clients, but also for itself. Accenture in India looked at its challenge of addressing the experience of its many employees who often had to work through a maze of websites, products and services to find and get a wide range of human resources-related information. There was opportunity to create a better experience.

An Accenture internal IT team came up with the idea to develop a Digital People Advisor, or chatbot, ultimately named DiPA. The idea was to leverage artificial intelligence to make this experience more modern and digital—and one suited for an employee demographic that is predominantly Generation Y and Z.

Strategy and solution

The development of DiPA revealed that the hype and expectations around chatbots are high, but that not every idea is suitable as a use case. Moreover, when developing a chatbot, it is important to avoid aiming for perfection from the start and instead evolve the product based on user feedback. One aspect to account for is recognizing that the bot personality is an important part of the experience.

DiPA is built on the Microsoft Bot Framework and Microsoft Cognitive Services product stack and hosted in Microsoft Azure. At the heart of the chatbot solution is Microsoft Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS) and question-and-answer service Microsoft QnA Maker. In the beginning, internal IT was extensively involved with the Microsoft product team as the products were in the early adopter channels and not yet available for enterprise use and scale. Accenture shared its requirements and feedback, and this active involvement helped enable the maturing of Microsoft Cognitive Services to become scalable.

After receiving internal seed funding, the idea for DiPA went through the following steps:

Working prototype

Prototyping began with the question: What information is important to employees that can be delivered virtually and without human intervention?

Scope definition

Scope spanned the employee life cycle—from hire to retire. Processes were mapped out, info needs analyzed, and content added to the knowledge base.

Rapid innovation

A five-step approach and new framework enabled quick innovation, from prototype to production, and delivery of an enterprise-scale solution at speed.

Deploy to production

The ready prototype was deployed into production, answering Accenture India employees’ common HR questions and becoming a key information source.

Continued development

Next steps: Incorporating personalization capabilities such as contextual personalized responses, filtering possibilities, and topic prioritization.

Make fit for purpose

Next efforts include making the solution fit for purpose and powering the bot intelligence with Accenture company context, user context, and more.

Ongoing improvement

The next phase: Coaching employees on career, wellness and learning as the technology enables DiPA to grow more intelligent with every interaction.

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Transformation

DiPA is an innovative digital tool for a digital workforce and in use by all Accenture entities in India. Whether an employee is in the office or on the go, DiPA is available online 24/7 in India. It has become the go-to Digital People Advisor for new joiners providing them relevant information as they acclimate to Accenture, as well as for all employees.

The journey for DiPA is being driven by the maturity model that maps future possibilities. On an ongoing basis, the goal is to ensure new Accenture company-related topics continue to be added and that insights are driven based on employees’ chat conversations to help process owners make improvement and address gaps, resulting in an enhanced employee experience.

For Accenture, the development of DiPA is an example of innovating by seed funding an idea, moving or failing fast, and when the outcome is successful, as in the case with the DiPA work, leveraging the innovation for other purposes. The experience also serves as significant input for Accenture’s enterprise chatbot strategy.

"We did something innovative and did it quickly with very few dollars. It’s now turning into usage, but just as important, it is informing a go-forward Accenture-wide chatbot strategy that we can leverage, from both business and technology perspectives, having learned where chatbots work and do not work."

– SANGITA AGARWAL, Managing Director – Human Resources Technology, Accenture

 

196,000

Employees deployed in India

50%

First-year deployment goal for adoption

55%

Initial adoption for employees in India

2M

Number of questions asked by 110K employees, answered in the first year

Meet the team

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