Exploring Success Factors in Chatbot Implementation Projects
Kousa, Eeva (2019)
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Chatbots are digital agents which can be used to automatize an organization’s customer interactions and internal business processes. This conversational software is powered by artificial intelligence and utilizes natural language processing to communicate with human users via text or voice. The aim of the study was to explore success factors in chatbot implementation projects and develop a best practice framework based on the findings. The research questions were selected around the chosen themes of success definition, critical success factors, risk management and overcoming challenges. The study was designed in the project management context and taking the service provider’s perspective on the topic. The purpose was to understand how success can be defined in chatbot implementation projects and what are the expected benefits, which critical success factors can be identified and which best practices applied to bring forth the expected benefits, control risks and overcome challenges. A literature review was conducted to introduce the history and basic concepts around artificial intelligence and existing applications, followed by a review on project management principles and existing best practices for chatbot implementation projects. For the empirical research, semi-structured interviews as a qualitative research method was applied. Five chatbot implementation experts around Europe participated in the study. The data from the research was processed, analyzed and categorized based on the research questions. The results were then triangulated and turned into insight with the main outcome of forming a project management best practice framework for chatbot implementation. The results show that the main contributors for chatbot implementation success include: Defining clear goals for the project, involving all relevant people in the organization, forming coherent teams, obtaining sponsorship from leadership, using an agile project management methodology, involving the client from early on in the validation and testing of the product, building knowledge and capabilities on the client’s side, employing conversational designers, UX practitioners and copywriters for the project and implementing analytics to be used as basis for continuous improvement of the chatbot. The limitations of the study were the lack of existing academic research on the subject and the absence of standardized terminology around the research subject.