#55 Conversational Business Applications with DRUID AI’s Irina Dochitu

Interview

#55 Conversational Business Applications with DRUID AI's Irina Dochitu

In today’s episode, we are having the amazing Irina Dochitu, she is the Channel Alliance Director at DRUID AI, discussing all things about Conversational Artificial Intelligence with The Automation Guys.

DRUID AI is an AI-driven, no-code, conversational AI platform, that allows at this moment, the development of  conversation business applications for any industry, any process, any role.

Druid chatbots empower employees, customers and partners to communicate with your business and enterprise systems in the most intuitive and efficient way.

$3.6B of annual cost savings derived from the adoption of chatbots in healthcare, by 2022

2.8B interactions per year with healthcare chatbots driven by Artificial Intelligence, by 2023

2.5B customer service hours saved using chatbots in the banking sector, by the end of 2023 and many more.

Listen now to learn how DRUID AI closes the gap between humans and the systems within the organization, especially within enterprise organizations for both employees and customers.

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Irina Dochitu LinkedIn 

Sascha: Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Process & Automation podcast The Automation Guys. Today’s episode is again, one of our interview specials, which are the, yeah, I think the most popular episodes we have with our audience. And, um, you know, usually you hear myself and Arno talking about all things, process and automation, but today we have a great guest here with us who is as passionate about process and automation as we are.

It is a great pleasure to welcome Irina, she is the Channel Alliance Director at Druid AI and is on a mission to empower enterprises with the art of conversation. Hello Irina. Thank you for joining us today.

Irina: Hello, both. It’s a pleasure to see you here and to be part of this conversation because I am quite a fan of your podcast and I was wondering when you were going to invite us.

Sascha: Yeah, so we wanted to make it very special. So we kept, you waiting.

Sascha: Please tell us a bit more about you and what you’re doing at Druid AI.

Irina: Um, well, as the title speaks for itself, I am managing the partnership network because DRUID is, as a company is a partner focused company and we are, on a mission to enable our partners to promote the great solution and to provide the services for their customers in order for their customers to benefit of the DRUID services. So, this is what I’m doing. I’m friend with all the partners in the network.

Sascha: Great. Yeah. Thank you. Arno and myself, we are working with, various intelligent automation vendors to support companies with all things, process and automation. Where do you see the sweet spot for Druid AI in the market?

Irina: Well, DRUID AI wants to close the gap between humans and the system within the organization, especially enterprise companies, enterprise organization, because we have identified this need of the humans, and I am talking here about both employees and also, customers of that company, they have a need to access faster, the information that resides in the system.

So the goal of DRUID is to close that gap and to provide all the tools necessary in order to facilitate to both the employees and the customers, an easy access to the information, in various system. So actually DRUID AI is a conversational, platform, a no code platform that allows at this moment, the development of what we call conversation business applications.

That are a step ahead of what is usually known as chatbots. More than that, the step ahead of what is usually known as virtual assistants, there are basically, DRUID platform is a means to create real conversation business applications.

Sascha: Okay. So you’re basically creating a new, a new sort of category. That sounds interesting.

Irina: Yes, yes, yes, yes. This is, and we are actually working with Gartner, the analyst in the area to help us in developing that, uh, that new category in this conversation today is space that is crowded, but still in need of more enterprise solution, if I may say so.

Sascha: Yeah. Amazing. And now with the new investment you can really push on that new category.

Irina: Absolutely. Absolutely. We are expanding you to this, uh, this new round of investment. Uh, we have already opened the offices in US and UK. Uh, we also have will in focusing in opening an office in the APAC area. Well, most likely in Singapore or Japan. So, uh, yes, we have a goal to extend globally to extend our global presence, by opening offices, but also supporting the partners in the regions.

Arno: Great. Yeah. Just, um, looking at, uh, you talk a bit about the Gartner analyst. It looks like this big numbers involve in the rise of AI driven, conversational automation. I’m sort of just looking at a few numbers here. That’s been published on your website. Um, 7.3 billion operational cost savings. Using chatbots in banking by 2023, 87% of CEOs are looking to implement chatbots in their HR departments.

Um, there’s many more, 3.6 billion annual cost savings from using automations with chatbots in healthcare by 2022. Um, interesting one – 95% of customer interactions will be managed through chatbots by 2025. I mean, the list is just endless, so it’s, it’s, it’s a very exciting space you guys are in Irina.

I, I think it’s from, from, from the beginning of, DRUID, of course, we, as a partner, we’re involved in some of those conversations. Um, you know, we, we, we’ve got an eye on, on chatbots, Sascha, myself, automation guys, um, It’s a topic that’s obviously been discussed a lot on our show. It’s a topic that actually gets a lot of interest from our listeners because it’s something new, it’s a different channel to communicate, um, you know, with, with automation processes in the background.

Um, so, so we talk a lot about use cases because we feel use cases are very important way to frame, you know, how these tools can actually, um, uh, benefit businesses. And again, we talked. HR departments and having virtual HR assistance, helping. And I guess the question that I have for you for myself, and I guess also on behalf of our listeners is if you look sort of back in the last 12 months at Druid, what do you think was the most exciting, or I guess the most impactful use case delivered with the Druid AI platform?

Irina: Okay. Good question, interesting I haven’t thought about it, but what comes to mind is the project that we have delivered in healthcare because, uh, this is one of the reasons why it convinced us to move towards conversational business application. The, the, the topic that I was mentioning prior, because as I told you, we started out with Chatbots, what is actually understood by, by chatbots. Just simple, uh, simple, uh, agents that would respond to certain question. Right. Some of them are smart enough to, to respond correctly. Some of them are not. With Druid what makes them smart is the NLP engine, the natural language processing engine that we have in, we deliver in our platform that covers 52 languages. So this is one of the reasons why our chatbots are smart. Uh, the other one is the ability to integrate within those systems and your organization. So it’s another feature that moved us from chatbots towards virtual assistants. So basically not only able to respond to questions, but also perform tasks.

And the step ahead was in conversation, business application, when in healthcare, and I’m going back to the, the impactful use case that we have delivered. Uh, we not only responded to question, not only had the ability to route to the agents within a call center, for example, when they had, I’m talking here about, um, healthcare, but private healthcare, we are working with one of the largest private health care clinics in Eastern Europe.

And they, they asked us to deliver a virtual assistant that would take the load of their call center. And the biggest load was with patients or what they understand by customers, uh, responding to certain questions, right? So various questions and the virtual system was able to deliver that. Then the next step was the, uh, the, uh, route to a human agent. So the three part, which took place, uh, which was facilitated by the virtual assistance. So routing to the right agent in the call center that took part of the load from the call center. And the, the final step was the automatic doctor’s appointment. Meaning that. Uh, the, it was not the need anymore to have a human in the loop.

So everything was delivered automatically by the virtual assistant. So by integrating with the CRM system, by intergrating with the core system, in their own enterprise, the virtual assistant managed to do the doctor’s appointments. So. Basically, this is what we understand by a business conversation, business application.

We delivered an appointment application, but in a conversational way. So I would consider this as one of the most impactful use cases that we have delivered because after this, uh, this project, uh, took, uh, took life, we, uh, successfully delivered other similar projects to, to our, um, to our other customers.

Arno: Yeah, very exciting. And I, I must say, this sort of conversational centric way, um, is a very convenient way for a lot of people to do business, um, whether or not you’re booking an appointment. Um, so it, it is just something that makes sense to implement. And if you do it right by the sounds of it, you’ve you’ve you’ve guys absolutely nailed it.

Um, and you can do the sort of integration into, let’s say that the patient care system to book the appointment, you can send out the reminders. Um, it sounds like a very exciting use case for it. And obviously for, for patient care itself, appointment management, um, w we in the UK, uh, there, you know, just thinking about the NHS, there’s, there’s a lot of cost constraints now, healthcare system at the minute.

Um, so any, any bit of efficiency you can squeeze out of it is, is, is very welcomed. And I can potentially see a, you know, solution like this, probably, um, being rolled out in our local health care system as well in the not so distant future.

Irina: Yeah, absolutely. And, uh, imagine a similar solution for other industries as well, because DRUID is industry agnostic, even though we have a sweet spot for financial services, I would have to mention that.

Um, imagine this type of customary engagement in any other industry. So automation of, of the onboarding process, price, or end to end onboarding process, it can be done conversationally, facilitated, by the platform or tools. So, um, so yes, this is, uh, this is the future, what the future awaits us and actually what brings, uh, what brings for our customers ROI as well, because more contracts are being signed by the virtual assistance, the customers are happier and with DRUID You can also deliver an omni-channel approach because nowadays companies are looking to also provide this and DRUID facilitates as well with some new channel approach. Because whenever you build a virtual assistant on DRUID, You can have the virtual assistant available on multiple channels.

And this is very important because you open new ways, new channels to communicate with the users on the channels that actually they are very accustomed to using like Facebook messenger or WhatsApp, or especially the younger generation WhatsApp, it’s something that they can’t live without. So, so having a way to communicate with, uh, with a certain company on WhatsApp is the preferred way.

Yeah.

Arno: Yeah. I believe we probably only surface or scratching the surface of the capabilities and what’s possible with this. Um, I think it’s, it’s, it’s definitely one of those technologies that’s ever evolving. I mean, you talk a bit about the omni-channel approach, awake and reach people, um, on a device that they used to WhatsApp, Facebook messenger.

And it’s just incredible that this sort of thing actually exists. And I think sometimes when we look at Druid, for example, and there, you know, AI driven, uh, sort of conversational chatbot. There’s so much power behind it. And you know, there’s so many use cases and especially when you have got pre-existing automations that already exist, this is just another thing that you can plug in and open up automation to the masses.

Sascha: and there was a huge shift anyway, isn’t it. So I believe there there’s no company out there in enterprise world, which is not using teams or slack these days. Isn’t it? So everything is now on these Chat panels, I have probably reduced my email workload down to 10% of what it used to be before MS Teams and Slack, which is incredible. So it just makes sense to, to put the chatbot into those conversations.

Irina: Yeah, absolutely. Imagine having a virtual assistant on Teams like you have a regular colleague, but a 24/7 available that would, uh, respond to your needs to request a certificate or take a leave request for a leave request or as for certain information.

Uh, regarding, work from home or any other HR related topics. So imagine having, having this available, it will not only provide you with satisfaction as an employee, but also take a lot of loads out of the shoulders of the HR department who had to do these repetitive tasks that they didn’t bring any value to it, but took a lot of time for them to, to deliver.

So, um, that’s, that’s really, powerful. The customers that we have that are using HR virtual assistant have become addicted to it. And they are really pleased to, to use them.

Sascha: I touched a bit on, on, on, on the future, um, uh, previously. Um, so when we talk about intelligent automation, hyperautomation, and looking into that, that future a bit, where do you see things developing for companies in, in, in, in the areas of automation, hyperautomation, and maybe a very particular, in the area of conversational AI.

Irina: Well, starting with the regular automation with RPA processes that are already in place, and we need to leverage those automation, by adding this conversation, the layer on top, so that the automation that used to happen in the backend will be triggered by the final customers or other employees.

So that’s part of the hyper automation journey. So RPA plus conversational AI, and, uh, even more than that, DRUID is considered as an AI Hub, meaning that we are able to integrate, other third party solution, like a OCR solution for extracting information from documents that, uh, document understanding, uh, electronic signature, payment.

So any type of solution that would it be part of either an employee journey or a customer journey. Those would come together in a single solution, a conversational AI solution so that we deliver this hyper automation that everyone is, is talking about and then considering, so this is where Druid steps in and has the ability to integrate those various solutions into, uh, into the journey dedicated to the users.

Sascha: So, um, with all these, uh, innovative technologies available, we often get the question from our listeners what’s your advice for companies getting started with chatbots, but not chatbots because we are already evolving here in conversational AI projects.

Irina: Well, they are either starting from the automation that is already in place, so that it makes sense to add a conversation layer on top so that you can trigger a process and get human feedback during the process, or just start small consider a process that actually takes a lot of time and there is no real value added from, from the owner of the, of the chatbot, right? So a process that can be easily automated and the real beauty of the virtual assistance is that they can learn from the experience.

So basically, uh, either you start with a very, very smart virtual assistant or just one with that has the ability to respond to certain questions. It gets smarter by the usage. So, uh, we have in the platform, a whole set of tools that allows for the virtual assistant to get smarter and smarter in an easy way.

So going back to the question, you don’t have to be scared that, uh, if you set up an initial scope, you won’t be able to, uh, further on build on that scope is the exact opposite, you can start small, see what the users are requesting or expecting from a virtual assistant and build on top of, of those, those requests.

So that would be an approach.

Sascha: Okay. Yeah, that sounds easy enough. And very good.

Irina: Actually, actually also another way to, to start is from the pre-configured solutions that we offer because. Uh, having this experience in various domains, in various business processes and in various industries in DRUID, we also have some pre-configured, conversation pre-configure functionalities that, in certain cases, make the life easier of a, of the business owners of the virtual assistants, because, uh, we are just doing a gap analysis between the processes that they already have and what we cover, they can start with more, more, skilled virtual assistant.

Arno: Okay. So these are sort of just, I guess pre-configured conversations, bots that you’ve trained and pre preloaded with, I guess, best of breed responses. And these are off the shelf included in the DRUID platform. And these are the ones you can literally on day one install and customize it towards your needs and for your specific requirements, uh, which is a great way to start.

Um, I think that a lot of things, Sascha, I’m thinking about HR onboarding. It’s a, it’s an old favourite on the, on the podcast. It’s, it’s one of the, Where do I start with automation? Well, why don’t you automate your onboarding process? Okay. I didn’t think about that. Let’s do that. Um, it’s, it’s a, sort of the, the go-to one for the, where do I start conversation?

And. Obviously, it sounds like the benefits of this accelerator approach really get you kick-started into, into using, um, conversational AI. It’s tied to business. Um, we would love to talk to you a lot longer, Irina, about so many things. Um, I think for our listeners out there, we talk a lot about, um, the hyperautomation space and of course, the conversational AI is just one of the, the main growing pillars with inside it and, a very exciting, technology to, to watch out for, um, you know, uh, Druid, especially, I’ve heard about a very good investment you guys have received, so it seems like this is just growing from, from strength to strength for you.

Irina: Well, yes. Yes, we, we gained, we gained so much experience out of the projects that, uh, that we deliver and also coming from our world, our partners. So each partner has a major thing to, to say regarding our, our solution.

And we very much appreciate the feedback that’s coming in and try to adapt to constantly adapt the solution to the needs, we find in the market and I think we successfully managed to do so in a short time, I would say.

Arno: That’s, that’s a really, really incredible story and thanks for sharing that with us.

So, um, usually at this part of the podcast, you know, our listeners like to get to known our interview guests a bit more, um, you know, and, and, and we talk a lot about the technical side of things, but, and the business side, but if that’s okay with you we would like to ask you a couple of quick questions, just, just for our listeners out there too, to understand who you are as a person outside of DRUID, is that all right with you? Okay, well, I’ll kick off with the first one, the old favourite, um, who is your idol and why do you say that?

Irina: Well, um, I haven’t thought about it at all. Um, considering that the talk that we have today, one of the idols that I have would probably be, uh, our, our current CEO, and not because it’s our current CEO, but, uh, because of, uh, the fact that he has a way with, with people and, uh, that he managed to keep together a team who is very loyal, who is following him, with trust. He has my respect for, for that, because actually the team behind DRUID, comes from his former company, which he has built, uh, more than 10 years ago, there is a core in the DRUID team that has been following for 20 years now. So I think that’s pretty impressive, So I will call him an idol today.

Arno: Absolutely. Absolutely incredible. And we’ll pass the message on maybe your next appraisal you’ll get, especially.

Sascha: Yeah. Imagine you could get all the contents and knowledge of a book instantly. Which book would you choose?

Irina: Well, the one that I’m reading at this moment is a HomoDeus, a brief history of tomorrow, and I’m really passionate about the topic that he’s, uh, he’s presenting in the book, I would love to have all that knowledge about human history, because, uh, this is what help us, help us understand not only the past, but the future.

So, yeah.

Arno: Well, check that one out and Sascha, what’s on your reading list at the minute?

Sascha: Nothing. Just staring at my monitor and programming. No reading at the moment.

Arno: No, the bayzos letters or anything, Interesting. That,

Sascha: That sounds intriguing. Are you reading that?

Arno: Well, it’s on the shelf. Um, I always get these books for Christmas and I never, I was promised myself to read them when I’m on holiday but it never happens. So, um, but yeah, I’m, I’m reading actually quite interesting book at the minute about, um, uh, where we, as humans, why we live in homes that look like homes, you know, why do we have a dining room? Why do we have a sitting room? And it’s a book by Will Bryanston, sorry, it’s a bit off topic here, but he talks a lot about, you know, the evolution of our homes, because everybody obviously worked from home these days and I thought, well, you know, why does homes, why are they configured the way they are?

So the answers, the last of my questions, I’ll pause. I’ll pause this one with you Sascha.

Yeah. Okay. Um, I’ll move on to the next question Irina, if that’s okay. Um, so what’s the best advice you’ve ever received from somebody?

Irina: Oh well, from actually from one of my former CEOs, I was like 27 something. Yeah. And, I used to work in media, selling good publicity in media, and somehow they call me to an interview.

The former company I used to work was a partner of SAP in, Romania, one of the largest partners of SAP. And he pitched SAP to me, he said that this is one of the, biggest trends that you’ll ever job jumping in, and this is the time for you because you are quite old by now, me being 27 and he said, you should, you should get on this train because this is a, it’s a great train. So jump in and do the marketing for us. Actually, this is what led me here at this point. So yeah, I think that would be one of the best advice that I have ever received to, to get on the, on the train at that age.

Arno: Sascha do you want to do the last one?

Sascha: Yeah. So our last one is, is if you could be an Olympic athlete, what sport would you choose?

Irina: Volleyball without a doubt.

Yeah, actually I used to play volleyball for 10 year, and I was a junior champion and national champion for three years. So even though I’m not that tall, and this is why, I remained as a junior level, but nevertheless volleyball was one of the loves of my life. So without a doubt, volleyball would be the sport I would pick.

Sascha: Do you find time these days too?

Irina: No. No, not at all.

Sascha: So we need more robots to free up your time.

Irina: Yeah, absolutely. I’m building one myself actually.

Arno: I can imagine. I can imagine you probably going to build a lot of robots in your life, but oh, that’s interesting. So you don’t have to be tall to be a good volleyball player, is that what you are saying?

Irina: Yeah, the role I was, uh, I was playing, uh, on didn’t have the need to, to have a tall person that tall. So, uh, so, uh, I managed to, to play for, for a while, but it stopped when, when, I had to go pro.

Arno: I never knew that about volleyball. So thanks for sharing that useful tip shall remember that for till the end of my days. I’ve got no more questions for you. I think you’ve been a wonderful guest. Thank you very much.

Sascha: It was a real pleasure to have you on the podcast, and before we end the recording, what would you say to your listeners or to our listeners, how they can, reach out to you the best? What would the best way to get in touch?

Irina: By talking to you guys, reaching out to you.

Sascha: Okay, talking to us reaching out to us, okay that’s good.

Irina: Uh, nevertheless, I can share my email address, my contacts. You can find me on LinkedIn, Irina Dochitu, please reach out to me, have any questions regarding DRUID and not only maybe volleyball as well.

Yeah.

Sascha: We’ll put that into the show now and then everyone can reach out. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Thank you very much again. Uh, it was a pleasure to have you on the show and, maybe we do another episode with you in the future.

Irina: Yeah. For me as well, it would be great, I enjoyed it very much. Thank you for having me here.

Sascha: Unfortunately, that’s it again with this episode of The Process and Automation podcast. If you liked this episode, please give us a five-star rating and don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast, so you don’t miss any upcoming episode. We hope you will tune in next time and until then let’s automate it.

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