3 Ideas for Designing for Chatbots

Blog Bots Viewpoint

Chatbots are the rage, but we are in the early days.  We are still not sure about how best to design for bots.  Yes, while conversational interfaces have promise to redefine the User Experience, the challenge facing us is to identify the right Use Cases, and the appropriate design.  After reviewing the nascent literature on this, talking to customer end users, and based on our own experience of building chatbots for enterprise systems, here are 3 ideas for Designing for Chatbots:

  1. Minimize Input: The user experience should be the priority.  Expecting users to enter free text has the potential for failure.  Instead, it may be best to have users give structured input.  For example, our developers at Unvired have designed a Command Infrastructure that eliminates lengthy free text input.  For example, Users can select Approve or Reject a Purchase Order in SAP or View Sales order from Oracle EBS with a Get Order Details simple chat command.
  2. Hybrid Approach: In some cases, the user may want to talk to a human at some point in the conversation with the bot. Good design should enable a human to jump in at any time.  Say, for example, you are ordering flowers on Facebook Messenger using a chatbot, but are frustrated because you cannot find what you are looking for.  There should be a way out to reach out to a human.
  3. Simple: The design for chatbots should be simple. One of the advantages of bots is that the need for say, a 3 screen application is eliminated.  There is no GUI.  Bots interactions should be kept simple and short—the user should give minimal input, and receive the output.

Let me know if you have other ideas for designing for bots.  These are early days, and we can all learn from each other.

This blog was first posted on LinkedIn.

Chatbots for SAP: Talk to SAP and Disrupt the User Interface

Blog Bots Mobile Use Case

Lately, there has been a lot of buzz around bots.  Bots are the lightweight programs that will make our work easier, and help us escape the multitude of apps that users have to navigate.  Bots have a simple text interface that eliminates the need for a Graphical User Interface (GUI).  Bots talk to systems, applications, and things- hence the term chatbots.   Much has already been written about bots, machine learning, AI, Natural Language Processing, and so this blog discusses a very specific sub-topic: Chatbots for SAP.

Interfaces with SAP come in many forms—the SAP GUI, Personas, and SAP Fiori among others. That is till now-enter the conversational interface.  At Unvired, we have developed chatbots for SAP to enable various Use Cases:

1.SAP ERP-Workflow: How about SAP messaging you an alert that a Purchase Order needs to be approved?  You look at the details, and approve.  Your text “Approve” gets the PO approved in SAP.

2.SAP ERP-Sales: The Sales leader needs to report to the CEO the latest sales figures. A quick text to SAP, and the answer comes right back. How about looking at a sales chart—that can be viewed too.

There are so many chatbots for SAP that would be a must have—for SAP ERP, S/4 HANA, SAP CRM, Cloud for Customer (C4C), SuccessFactors, and others.  Customers in industries including Manufacturing, Chemicals, Financial Services, and Real Estate have indicated interest in exploring Use Cases for chatbots.

Chatbots for SAP enable receiving alerts from SAP, taking actions/decisions on those alerts, and  searching/querying all with the intent to streamline workflow, and make work easier.

If you are an SAP customer or SAP partner, and want to collaborate with Unvired to build chatbots for SAP, please send me an Inmail or email me or comment on this post.  We would love to jointly define some Use Cases for chatbots.  These are exciting times indeed.  As always, looking forward to others sharing their experience with and thoughts on bots.

Four Themes from the Best Practices for Chemicals (SAP) Conference

Blog Mobile Use Case Viewpoint

Earlier this week, I attended the Best Practices for Chemicals (SAP) Conference hosted by The Eventful Group in Houston.  It was a great conference attended by several CIOs including from Huntsman, Nova Chemicals, PLZ Aeroscience, and Americas Styrenics among others.  There were many great presentations.  Here are the top themes:

1.Digital: Chemical companies are embracing digital.  Mobile applications, Internet of Things (IoT), Predictive Analytics, and the Cloud is being adopted by this industry.  Agricultural chemical companies are combining sensor data, soil data and weather information to increase crop yield. HANA is beginning to be adopted as a database and SAP S/4 HANA is also making headway as the digital core. Customers, Suppliers, Employees, and Assets are the four pillars of Digitization.

2.Outcome based: Chemical companies are also innovating and defining new business models. For example, instead of selling compressors, they are selling “Compressed Air” as a service. It is all about Outcome based models.

3.Cyber-security: Chemical companies are very concerned about being hacked.  Given the nature of the products they make, a cyber attack can be very dangerous.   There are regular meetings held where Chemical companies discuss how best to implement cyber security.

4.Global Compliance: Chemical companies have to ensure that their products comply with various regulations. Also, they have to register each product in the country where they plan to sell. Regulations change frequently, and it is critical to stay on top.

This blog first appeared on LinkedIn

Unvired is on Google Compute Engine!

Blog Technology

At Unvired we have always prided ourselves on providing choices to our customers.  We were the first to offer Unvired Mobile Platform (UMP) as both an on-premise and cloud platform for mobile application development a few years ago. Taking that journey ahead in cloud neutrality, we are delighted to announce that UMP now runs natively on The Google Compute Engine aka Google Cloud.

GCE instances can be leveraged to run multi-node, horizontally scaling UMP instances.  For database you can create an instance of the Cloud SQL engine and link it to the UMP compute engine nodes conveniently via the Google Cloud Console.

For storage we leverage the Google Cloud Storage and store data in the buckets that are created there.  This provides for both stateless access from any of the UMP nodes and redundancy in terms of storage / backup etc.


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UMP can now run seamlessly within your datacenter, AWS or on Google Cloud.  More innovations are underway to support other cloud providers in the next weeks.

If you are interested in taking UMP for a spin, submit a trial request now and we would be delighted to spin a couple of instances for you.

LNS Research’s Asset Performance Management (APM) Report names Unvired


Unvired Inc., a Digital Solutions and Mobile Application Development Platform company announced today that it has been featured in a Research Spotlight report on Asset Performance Management (APM). The report, dated, November 19, 2015, is titled: “The Role of Service Providers and Specialized Solution Vendors in APM”.

Read more about the press release here: PR release

The full report can be accessed on the LNS Research website at the link: Access the LNS Research report here.

The UMP 3.2 travelogue

Blog Technology Viewpoint

The Unvired Mobile Platform (UMP) 3.2 includes a number of innovations that enable faster digitization and mobility.  Whether your company wants to mobilize enterprise backends like SAP or databases or legacy systems, UMP has made that easy, fast and cost effective with a plethora of adapters that enable out of the box integrations.  UMP 3.2 now includes a powerful REST API that allows you to leverage the same functionality to also develop web apps.  So whether you want to go digital via web or mobile or both, UMP is your platform of choice.

In a series of blog posts starting today I will explore the new features and the transformations in the platform.  This post will focus on the high level features and some under the hood changes that have been made to UMP to make it faster and better.

Features of note in UMP 3.2:

  1. Single infrastructure that runs within your datacenter or on cloud IAAS like Amazon Web Services (AWS).  Absolutely identical, even the binaries are the same!  This gives you enormous flexibility to go on premise and switch to cloud later or vice versa
  2. Fully load balanced, High Availability setup supported both within your datacenter and on cloud infrastructures
  3. Improved performance and scalability (see under the hood section below for more details)
  4. Enhanced REST API to easily build applications for web and mobile, supports both XML and JSON
  5. New enterprise adapters for OData and SAP HANA.  SharePoint, REST and all other adapters have been further enhanced
  6. Enhanced push notifications for APNS and GCM (including follow up actions), support for browser push to notify web applications
  7. Error console to help administrators process data errors, backend submission errors etc.  Your users will never need to see errors any more, just save and forget!
  8. Conflict management on submission, handle concurrent submissions, and multi-channel updates without breaking a sweat
  9. Enterprise App Store to distribute your enterprise applications, applications can also auto update without admin intervention
  10. A brand new dashboard that helps administrators know the pulse of the mobile deployments
  11. Isolate your deployments and administration control for subsidiaries, locations, departments with a single central instance
  12. Transport configurations and code across Development, Quality and Production landscapes of UMP.  No more manual administration tasks
  13. Time zone (user or company) based distributed scheduler to periodically refresh mobile data, no need to run battery hogging threads on devices checking for updates
  14. And …

Under the hood: UMP 3.2 core has undergone significant reengineering.  The new UMP is now based on Spring backed by Level 2 distributed caching of data.  This allows lightning fast reads and writes. UMP uses async servlets for maximum scalability with  configurable thread pools to optimize resource needs based on your individual needs.

UMP supports deployment on any enterprise operating system such as Unix, Linux, Windows etc. with a MySQL, Oracle or MS SQL Server backend.  For test and demo purpose,UMP can also be run with a H2 embedded database.

The UI has been spruced up with keyboard shortcuts to simplify administration and management.  For those Unix/Linux administrators who love the command line, a command window allows you to quickly enter commands.  The new UMP runs on JBoss 7.2 EAP and open source editions and deploys in seconds.  UMP is also certified by SAP for NetWeaver deployment and is deployable on SAP NetWeaver 7.x all the way up to 7.4.

UMP 3.2 is also supported on Docker containers and the official images will be available on the Docker Hub shortly.

Related tools: A brand new Unvired Modeler works hand in glove with the UMP infrastructure to enable development of applications easily.  The modeler is installed as an Eclipse plugin with auto discovery of UMP development landscapes.  Model, Design, Develop, Debug and Deploy from a single place.

There is much more to talk about the new UMP.  Watch this space for a series of blog posts that will expand on each of the features and how exactly you can benefit from it.

Unvired delivers Digital Retail Solutions to Enhance Store Operations


Unvired Inc., a Digital Solutions and Mobile Application Development Platform company announced today that it has delivered Digital Retail applications for Scanning Solutions LLC, a leading Houston based software provider for Retail Convenience stores.

The highlights of the Digital solution include:

  • Goods Receipt Process: Barcode scanning
  • Item Maintenance: Add New Products, Change Pricing
  • Inventory Adjustment:  Inventory Counting, Reconciliation

Read more about the press release here: PR release

Enterprise Asset Management: Mobility Readiness Checklist


Stuart Baker is the head of maintenance of a large manufacturing company. Stuart is attending his monthly meeting with his maintenance leads and his operations assistant Shelley Hudson.

Shelley has spent the last week compiling the data required for this monthly meeting. Shelley dreads the last week of the month when she has to compile these reports from various data points in the SAP system – top 10 spends, cumulative vs. planned costs, top 10 visits, labour vs. material costs, backlog job orders, etc.

Stuart asks his maintenance leads about the repeated same locations visits, huge backlog of job orders and cost overruns.

The maintenance leads complain about the inefficiency in the system – technicians having to drive across plants to collect their job orders, time taken to fill their PM audit documents, lack of work breakdown by technician, delay in status reporting from technicians and may others.

Shelley complains about the amount of time she has to spend compiling all this information for a week every month.

Stuart has heard these complaints before. He wants to bring in efficiency in the system and change the way his department works. He has heard about mobile apps and starts thinking if he can get all his maintenance data – orders, notifications, warehouse material movements and reports on mobile devices on demand anywhere any time.

Stuart approaches his IT head Andrew Hughes. He explains his problems and proposes mobile apps. Andrew knows about mobility but wonders if their company is ready for mobility. They have not done mobile projects before. So he asks for a week’s time to do his research before giving an answer to Stuart.

Andrew’s research leads him to lots of mobile apps, mobile devices, MDM, etc. in the mobile heap. He finds lots of mobile apps for EAM. He reads about the business challenges these apps solve and the benefits. But this does not satisfy him as he is thinking of a sustainable mobility strategy, holistic solutions and the approach to mobility.

Does this sound like a familiar problem you have faced while embarking on mobility for Enterprise Asset Management? This is a common challenge that many organizations have faced.

We would like to solve this puzzle for you. So we have prepared a comprehensive check list that helps you with your mobility readiness check for Enterprise Asset Management. Unvired mobility check list for Enterprise Asset Management is a compilation from experience in implementing Mobile EAM for more than a decade across the globe.

Click here to download the Enterprise Asset Management – Mobility Readiness Checklist.

Unvired Mobile Platform 3.2 Release

Blog Technology


Unvired Mobile Platform (UMP) 3.2 is here! This is our latest and greatest version. Unvired understands that customers would like to minimize the number of platforms that are run in their enterprises. Our customers have demanded a single platform that can meet all their digital, mobility and integration needs. We are proud to announce that we have achieved all these in UMP 3.2. Now UMP is all of the below:

  • Mobile Application Development Platform
  • Mobile Backend As A Service (MBaaS)
  • Offline and Conflict Resolution Framework
  • Internet of Things Platform
  • Digital Platform

Click here to download the whitepaper on UMP. We will follow up with a series of blogs describing the use cases and features of UMP separately. Watch Unvired blogs for a deep dive on UMP.