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Barista: Chatbots for a Digital Transformation

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Barista Employee Language Cloud Signals a Paradigm Shift from ITSM Incumbents,Third-Party Providers and Start-Ups

SANTA CLARA, Calif., February 18, 2019Espressive, the pioneer in AI for enterprise service management (ESM), today announced new innovations to its AI-based virtual support agent (VSA), Barista, which include the new Barista Employee Language Cloud. With today’s announcement, Barista goes beyond conversational chatbots to enable digital transformation of Enterprise Service Management (ESM), representing a paradigm shift in the delivery of AI-based employee self-help. While ITSM incumbents, third-party providers and start-ups require custom development on platforms or toolkits, or implement searchbot technology that requires a solid knowledgebase foundation that most organizations do not have, Barista comes with an extensive vocabulary tailored to the workplace. Barista understands over 15 million phrases and 4 thousand topics out of the box and growing, making Barista the leader in fast deployment without the need for expensive and rare AI talent. The company also debuted workflow-based experiences and QR codes that take Barista beyond conversational chatbots to deliver employee experiences that solve real business issues. In addition, continuous learning and omni-channel capabilities speed employee adoption, which in turn automates the resolution of ever-growing help desk call volumes. Together, these new innovations represent the next gen approach for redefining how employees get help.

“According to the Pulse Report released today, 62% of ITSM leaders are considering or actively pursuing AI projects to reduce help desk call volume so they can divert CIO budget to strategic initiatives,” said Pat Calhoun, CEO and founder of Espressive. “AI is well positioned to enable digital transformation in IT and beyond, but it could just as easily turn into a lengthy, expensive, failed proposition. We believe that AI for employee self-help needs to advance from platforms and searchbots to pre-built consumer-like apps to gain widespread adoption.”

Espressive is challenging how incumbents, third-party providers and start-ups approach AI for employee self-help. Barista design imperatives include: (1) intuitive and accessible; (2) fast to deploy; (3) no requirement for specialized AI talent; (4) extensible across the enterprise; (5) gets smarter over time; and (6) built on an architecture designed to scale with the heavy requirements of AI versus AI bolted on. As a result, Espressive leads the way in delivering next gen AI-based self-help for ESM.

“According to recent Ovum research, the need for organizations to become as efficient and effective as possible is a key business driver,” said Roy Illsley, Distinguished analyst at Ovum. “The Espressive solution addresses efficiency by enabling employees to spend less time hunting down answers to questions and resolution to issues, and more time focusing on initiatives that add value to the business.”

Barista Employee Language Cloud Represents a Paradigm Shift vs. First Gen Approaches

Unlike first gen approaches that have long deployment times and are dependent on continuously adding and updating knowledge base articles, the Employee Language Cloud makes Barista smart out of the box, enabling the fastest deployment on the market without hiring expensive AI talent or engaging professional services. The Employee Language Cloud incorporates leading AI technologies that enable Barista to understand what employees are saying in workplace language, provide a personalized response and uses machine learning to identify the correct team or department when a question can’t be immediately answered. Equally as important, the Barista Employee Language Cloud is constantly growing, because as employees ask questions, Barista learns new phrases, phrase structures, synonyms and topics. This ever-expanding cloud is constantly available via a crowd sourcing model to all Espressive customers, while anything specific to a given customer remains their intellectual property.

The Employee Language Cloud also contains answers to topics that can have a significant impact during times of change. For example, if an organization is transitioning to  G Suite, the most common questions and answers related to those events are already in the Employee Language Cloud, which keeps help desks from being inundated with questions and keeps employee productivity high. As new use cases are developed, content is available to all Espressive customers, while proprietary answers are never shared. In fact, the flexibility of the Employee Language Cloud permits the addition of a customer’s proprietary application, or internal buzzwords, acronyms and app names, ensuring employees can use their own language versus learning something new.

Barista Goes Beyond Conversational Chatbots to Deliver Experiences that Matter

When topics such as employee onboarding and laptop refresh deserve more than a basic answer, Barista delivers workflow-based experiences to guide employees every step of the way. For example, when Okta, the leading independent provider of identity for the enterprise, recently went through a headquarters move, they implemented an experience to guide employees to the new headquarters building. When employees asked Barista how to get to the new campus, Barista responded asking whether they would be using public transportation, bike or car. Then, depending on the answer, Barista provided detailed instructions with interactive options, including up to the minute traffic alerts.

“When we decided to leverage artificial intelligence in our ITSM initiative, we expected a long and expensive deployment,” said Christopher Flynn, VP of Employee Enablement at Okta. “With Espressive, we were able to go live in just three weeks, and in the following two weeks, we automatically addressed 20% of our help desk requests submitted via Espressive — ultimately increasing team efficiency, and freeing us up to focus on strategic initiatives. The added bonus was finding immediate value outside of IT by leveraging Barista to respond to employees’ questions about our upcoming headquarters move.”

Barista QR codes also deliver a new way to engage with employees, eliminating the friction associated with reporting problems, checking into events, providing feedback, and more. A common issue across all organizations is when employees go to conference rooms and find that the TV or phone is not working. All too often employees simply locate the next available conference room and the problem goes unreported. With Barista, employees simply use any iOS or Android device to scan a Barista QR code located in the conference room. Barista immediately knows the location and details about the conference room and asks the employee to pick from a list to identify the problem. After asking for any other relevant information, Barista creates a request for resolution with the appropriate department.

Barista Intercepts Employee Questions Through Multiple Channels to Drive Adoption

Barista delivers a true, consumer-like experience by being intuitive and accessible as a native app across Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, and macOS, as well as through a browser. In spite of this accessibility, old habits related to getting help can be hard to break, so Barista is able to intercept employee questions through multiple channels including email, Slack, Microsoft teams, QR codes and even calls to the help desk. Over time, employees learn that Barista is the one place to go for help.To maximize call deflection, Barista has an opportunity to learn every time help desk agents respond to tickets. That means Barista learns while help desk agents do their regular jobs versus requiring agents to find time to continuously write and update knowledge base articles. Barista gets smarter every day, so employee experiences are continuously improved, increasing adoption. Espressive customers report that they are able to achieve employee adoption of 50 to 60 percent and reduced help desk call volume of 30 to 50 percent.

About Espressive

Espressive, the pioneer in automating digital workplace assistance, and a 2022 Forrester New Wave Leader, redefines how employees get help by delivering exceptional employee experiences. Barista, the company’s virtual support agent (VSA), brings the ease of consumer virtual assistants, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, into the workplace. Barista automates resolution of employee questions, issues, and requests with personalized experiences that result in employee adoption of 80 to 85% and reduced help desk call volume of 50% to 70%. Espressive is backed by Insight Partners, General Catalyst, and Wing Venture Capital, and is headquartered in Santa Clara, California. Visit for more information.

Media Contact

Pam Njissang
Bhava Communications for Espressive