June 11, 2020 TeamsHub by Cyclotron: Collaboration using Bots on Teams Introduction How can we skip bots when we talk about collaboration in Teams? There are times when you have plenty of questions in mind which have the simplest answers. However, it unnerves you finding the right person in your team or organization to clarify your doubts. Moreover, you can never be certain about someone’s availability when you need it most. This is exactly when Microsoft Teams bots come into play! Human-bot collaboration With Teams’ extensive capabilities, collaboration is not restrained to human-to-human interaction. Using Teams, users can now interact with machines or bots and obtain information in text format. We already know about Intelligent Assistants taking over HR activities, AI-based Chatbots helping users to manage timesheets, leaves, etc. All such bots can be hosted within Teams for communication. With Teams, developers cannot just create bots but also personalize them for adding various business scenarios. Teams bots fall under three categories that you can add to Teams. Firstly, there are some which are free and available to use.Secondly, there are some which can be purchased.Lastly, there are some which you create using Azure framework. Now, let’s take a look to some of the popular Microsoft Teams bots: Whobot: Using Whobot, you can search for anyone and anything in your organization to have a quick reference. RemeberThis: Using RememberThis, you can set a reminder for upcoming date/time. This way, you don’t forget follow-up actions when coversation threads grow. Polly: Using Polly, you can conduct surveys and polls to collect users’ feedback, and comments. It helps in analyzing data and making informed decisions. Calendar BOT: Using Calendar BOT, you can check availability of your team members through calendar comparison. This way, you get the most suitable meeting slots depending on everyone’s schedule. Bot development For all aspiring developers who want to build their own conversational bots, Microsoft offers a comprehensive framework called the Microsoft Bot framework (MBF). MBF is an open source platform with number of tools to explore and experiment with. That’s how, it gives full control over user experience. It also facilitates integration of bots with Language Understanding Intelligent System (LUIS), Azure Services, Cognitive Services, QnA Makers, etc. What’s more exciting is that developers can easily build intelligent bots that can understand user commands, sentiments, and needs. Apparently, Microsoft’s goal is to simplify the process of bot creation and customization with an end-to-end development tooling. Subsequently, publishing chatbots in Teams is also straightforward. So, if you are excited to build a bot, here’s what you need to do: Use Microsoft BotFramework SDK 3 or SDK 4 to develop a bot.Give your bot NLP capabilities.Publish your bot on Azure Bot Service.Deploy your code on a Virtual Machine and provide https endpoint for bot channel registration.Publish your bot on available channels. Then, select Microsoft Teams Channels in the channel list.Configure Microsoft Teams Channel to provide the bot name and other description. Publish changes and get html embed codes. Run that embed code as an HTML file on browser and then add bot to your Teams. TeamsHub by Cyclotron and bots We, at TeamsHub by Cyclotron understand that employee engagement is central to business strategy of successful organizations leading with high velocity and scale. Employee engagement is critical, especially when and where remote workforce is concerned. Hence, stepping into the future of work, we have leveraged advanced engagement engine tailored to your brand. TeamsHub by Cyclotron proudly presents the following bots to you to build a highly engaged workforce: Times Off bot: Request for vacation, leave or PTO with the Bot. This bot also provides information about people off work for a given time period. Details include employee name, ID and duration of vacation Site Provisioning bot: Use this bot to provide zero-touch workflows in site provisioning. Get automated solutions for the execution of user site requests without the needing of an administrator. HR Assistant app: Get answers to your employee benefits, employee handbook codes and HR policies pertaining to a general or specific topic. Company Announcement bot: Use this bot to publish and discover company information, press releases and internal announcements pertaining to your organization. Personal Assistant & Conversational bot: Use this bot to assist your employees in finding answers allowing them to focus more on complex tasks and be productive. Mark Yourself Safe app: Stay safe in a state of emergency through updates on location, instant notifications, two-way texting, monitoring services and much more. Icebreaker bot: Use this bot to schedule a meeting each week by pairing up members randomly to foster togetherness and collaboration within your organization. Café Meal Menu bot: Get personalized meals delivered to your employees by letting them choose their favorite food item from a curated menu. Summary Transform your digital workplace with these amazing bots using TeamsHub by Cyclotron and let your team create and innovate. Additionally, TeamsHub by Cyclotron lets you integrate ServiceNow platform seamlessly with your applications to unleash productivity at large. You can empower your Service Desk by building advanced bots that enable you to create incidents, problems, or change requests, and be alerted to activity. Using ServiceNow, you can automate complex business processes for users with an easy-to-use interface. Also, automating commonly requested services frees up employees to undertake value-added tasks. Though you can integrate ServiceNow with Teams, it has some major disadvantages that over-weigh advantages of its implementation. We will discover more about ServiceNow integration with TeamsHub by Cyclotron in our next blog. Stay tuned!