Generative Artificial Intelligence

Smart Assistants: Why many enterprise AI chatbots are struggling

Generative artificial intelligence has arrived in the boardrooms of German companies. They want to use the new technology to increase their company's knowledge base. There are now test projects with ChatGPT, Gemini and the like in all sectors. But widespread use in offices and factories is still a long way off. Many companies are finding that projects with intelligent assistants are not as easy to implement as they had hoped. First, there are many obstacles to overcome. The experience of Lufthansa Industry Solutions, an IT service provider and consulting company, shows how AI chatbots can be deployed quickly and legally compliant across the enterprise.

Norderstedt, March 26, 2024 - Individualized AI chatbots or smart assistants offer great potential for all industries. They enable companies to communicate quickly and clearly with employees and customers. All available data can be used, including internal information that ChatGPT, Gemini and the like have not been trained on. "Generative AI will be a game changer. Whether in internal knowledge management, customer service or logistics - AI chatbots will be indispensable in the future," says Julian Staub, Business Manager AI & Data Analytics at Lufthansa Industry Solutions (LHIND). However, only three percent of German companies are already working with generative AI in their business, with another six percent planning to use it this year. These are the results of a recent survey by the digital industry association Bitkom.

What companies need to make intelligent assistants a success

But where are the stumbling blocks in the adoption of smart assistants? LHIND's experience from projects with AI chatbots shows: Companies face the same challenges with smart assistants as they do with other artificial intelligence projects.

  1. Data must be available and of high quality. This is often less of a problem when an AI chatbot is fed information from the company's internal wiki or website. However, when it comes to more sophisticated and numbers-based data from the data warehouse or SAP system, many companies still need to take action.
  2. The company needs to have data governance in place. Then there are no problems with document rights management. This is because the company's own sharepoint, which is often the basis for the AI chatbot, contains a variety of data that not everyone should have access to, such as sensitive or personal information. Access to such data via the AI assistant must also remain prohibited.
  3. In addition to the AI, employees must also be trained: "Many projects show that people are not trained to communicate with a chatbot," says LHIND manager Staub. "They are expected to work in a completely new way, and that has to be learned." For example: How do I talk to an AI? How should I ask questions? How should I structure the sentence? How much information should I provide? Employees need to be educated and trained, otherwise there will be a lack of adoption of the intelligent assistant.

How companies approach intelligent assistants

It is important to involve business departments in the development of the AI chatbot from the beginning. The circle should not be limited to IT experts. Companies should also start small. "Just uploading ten terabits and then just testing doesn't work," says AI expert Staub. "Instead, a department should start with a few selected employees. The testing phase begins with them, and their feedback then forms the basis for adjustments to the intelligent assistant. Such a project can be up and running within two weeks.

The future of smart assistants is (almost) limitless

But then there are few limits to smart assistants. "Small individual projects can soon become multi-agent tools. This means that several agents, i.e. AI systems with a fixed task, work together," adds Max Pillong, Director AI & Data Analytics at LHIND. One assistant finds information on the Internet, a second uses information from the company's own CRM system, a third has an overview of the key figures from the data warehouse, and a fourth solves mathematical tasks. Together, they will be able to solve even more complex challenges in the future.

About Lufthansa Industry Solutions

Lufthansa Industry Solutions is a service provider for IT consulting and system integration. This Lufthansa subsidiary helps its clients with the digital transformation of their companies. Its customer base includes companies both within and outside the Lufthansa Group, as well as more than 300 companies in various lines of business. The company is based in Norderstedt and employs more than 2,500 members of staff at several branch offices in Germany, Albania, Switzerland and the USA.