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The Forrester New Wave™: Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations, Q2 2019 The Eight Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up by Charles Betz and Will McKeon-White April 15, 2019

Why Read This Report

Key Takeaways

In Forrester’s evaluation of the emerging market for standalone chatbots for IT operations, we identified the eight most significant providers in the category — Avaamo, Botpress, EdgeVerve (Infosys), Inbenta Technologies, IPsoft, Kore.ai, Serviceaide, and SnatchBot — and evaluated them. This report details our findings about how well each vendor scored against 10 criteria and where they stand in relation to each other. Infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals can use this review to select the right partner for their IT ops chatbot needs.

IPsoft, Serviceaide, And Avaamo Lead The Pack Forrester’s research uncovered a market in which IPsoft, Serviceaide, and Avaamo are Leaders; EdgeVerve and Kore.ai are Strong Performers; Botpress and Inbenta Technologies are Contenders; and SnatchBot is a Challenger. Chatbot Readiness And Predefined Integrations Are Key Differentiators Forrester found that out-of-the-box (OOB) workflows, language, intent models, and integrations dedicated to IT operations use cases are key differentiators for Leaders in this space. Advanced capabilities such as uncertainty scoring, proactive improvement guidance, and active pathing proved consistent among the strongest performers in language development, which is crucial for successful IT operations use cases.

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The Forrester New Wave™: Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations, Q2 2019 The Eight Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up by Charles Betz and Will McKeon-White with Sandy Rogers, Ian Jacobs, J. P. Gownder, Craig Le Clair, Julia Caldwell, and Diane Lynch April 15, 2019

Table Of Contents

Related Research Documents

2 Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations Automate The Easy Stuff

Cracking The Collaboration Conundrum: Accelerate Customer Focus With ChatOps

2 Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations Evaluation Overview

Get Control Over Your Bots With Forrester’s Automation Framework

6 Vendor QuickCards

Now Tech: Chatbots For IT Operations, Q1 2019

15 Supplemental Material

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The Forrester New Wave™: Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations, Q2 2019 The Eight Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations Automate The Easy Stuff Chatbots augment IT help desk and operations activities by automating repeatable tasks and providing self-service facilities for both employees and operations personnel. Ticket deflection, faster resolution to issues, and improved user experience are just a few benefits that organizations can realize from effective chatbot implementations. Whether they’re pulling information from a knowledge base, fulfilling a password reset, or automating the provisioning of an environment, chatbots relieve IT staff members from mundane tasks and allow them to focus on activities that add more value. Vendors from varied backgrounds are offering chatbot solutions for IT operations in three major forms: chatbot toolboxes, platform-specific chatbots, and virtual agents.1 Most of these solutions currently require some degree of manual development for chatbot language models, intent, entity, and workflows.2 Leading vendors provide more domain-specific assets, such as prefabricated IT operations workflows, and greater levels of intelligence, such as self-optimizing language training. Some vendors are experimenting with actively pathing interactions for even more automated language and workflow development.3 In the future, the process of setting up, training, and optimizing chatbots will be further automated and simplified.

Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations Evaluation Overview The Forrester New Wave™ differs from our traditional Forrester Wave™. In the Forrester New Wave evaluation, we evaluate only emerging technologies, and we base our analysis on a 10-criterion model and 2-hour briefing with each evaluated vendor. We group the 10 criteria into current offering and strategy (see Figure 1). We also review market presence. We included eight vendors in this assessment: Avaamo, Botpress, EdgeVerve (Infosys), Inbenta Technologies, IPsoft, Kore.ai, Serviceaide, and SnatchBot (see Figure 2 and see Figure 3). Each of these vendors has: ›› Common IT operations workflow support. Each vendor’s product provides a preconfigured chatbot or virtual agent with common IT operations workflows (e.g., ticketing, tier 0 support, knowledge-base navigation, and request automation) available out of the box. ›› Advanced language capabilities. The product has advanced chat capabilities such as natural language processing (NLP) and natural language understanding (NLU) provided natively or through integration with more than one external NLP/NLU engine out of the box. ›› Net-new chatbot creation. The product can create and customize a net-new chatbot persona through tooling. ›› Chatbot development GUI. The product provides the capabilities to create and customize complex workflows through GUI-based tooling.

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The Forrester New Wave™: Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations, Q2 2019 The Eight Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

›› Learning capabilities. The product has the capability to continuously learn and improve actions through advanced analytics, machine learning, or AI. ›› English language support. The product provides English language support out of the box. ›› Active customers. The product has more than 10 active, paying customers using it for IT operations and was generally available as of January 1, 2019.

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The Forrester New Wave™: Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations, Q2 2019 The Eight Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

FIGURE 1 Assessment Criteria

Criteria

Platform evaluation details

Chatbot learning

How well does the solution take advantage of advanced language capabilities (NLU/NLP)? How are intent and language models trained, modified, and managed? How are data sets imported? Does the chatbot make use of any predictive capabilities?

Chatbot automation

What tooling/workflow engine capabilities are provided natively or via integrations? How are complex workflows supported? Can the chatbot be configured to take action, independent of invocation? What automation partnerships does the vendor have? How are these integrations handled?

Architecture and integrations

What integration facilities are available in or for the product? How can users create integrations? What API management tools are provided? How are connections into other systems mapped? What prebuilt IT ops integrations are provided? What is the technical architecture of the product?

Chatbot readiness

What predefined intent models and language sets are available? What domain-specific and general out-of-the box (OOB) workflows are provided, and how are these modified? What degree of OOB understanding of IT ops requirements is demonstrated thorough language, intent, and workflows?

Development and tooling

How is chatbot development supported? What type of tooling is provided, and how easy is it to use? How robust is the GUI provided? At what level of granularity can bot functionality be modified? How does the solution facilitate the creation and management of responses? How are data sets managed?

Deployment and security

What solution deployment options are available? What administration efforts are required? How are user permissions granted and managed? How is security and user data privacy handled? How granular are personally identifiable information (PII) protection tools? What is the vendor’s data handling and storage strategy?

Bot management

What does the solution provide in terms of bot operations and reporting? How are bots managed? Does it provide visibility into user journey? What is the process for bot deployment? What optimization tools are available? Does reporting provide any proactive optimization suggestions or capabilities?

Vendor positioning

How well does the product vision and strategy align for the standalone chatbots for IT operations market? How is the vendor positioning its product in relation to other vendors? What differentiating capabilities is the solution or vendor offering?

Road map

How well-defined are planned enhancements, and how effectively do they address the standalone chatbots for IT operations market?

Market approach

Is the company executing a successful go-to-market approach? Does the vendor have a well-thought-out partner strategy?

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The Forrester New Wave™: Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations, Q2 2019 The Eight Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

FIGURE 2 Forrester New Wave™: Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations, Q2 2019

Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations Q2 2019

Challengers

Contenders

Strong Performers

Leaders

Stronger current offering

IPsoft

Serviceaide Avaamo EdgeVerve Kore.ai

Inbenta Technologies

Botpress

SnatchBot

Weaker current offering Weaker strategy

Stronger strategy Market presence*

*Gray marker indicated incomplete vendor participation.

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The Forrester New Wave™: Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations, Q2 2019 The Eight Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

ha tb ot le C ar ha ni tb ng ot au Ar to ch m ite at ct io C u n re ha / tb in te ot gr re D at ad ev io in el ns op es s m D en ep ta lo nd ym to en Bo ol ta tm in nd g an se ag Ve c em ur nd ity en or t po R si oa tio d ni m ng M ap ar ke ta pp ro ac h

FIGURE 3 Vendor QuickCard Overview

C

Company IPsoft Serviceaide Avaamo EdgeVerve Kore.ai Botpress Inbenta Technologies SnatchBot

Differentiated

On par

Needs improvement

Vendor QuickCards Forrester evaluated eight vendors and ranked them against 10 criteria. Here’s our take on each.

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The Forrester New Wave™: Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations, Q2 2019 The Eight Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

IPsoft: Forrester’s Take Our evaluation found that IPsoft (see Figure 4): ›› Leads the pack with robust IT operations chatbot features. With a library of granular prefabricated IT operations workflows and language models, detailed reporting, an automation platform, and extensive language training, IPsoft’s Amelia leads the market in IT operations readiness. ›› Needs to work on appealing to more than just large enterprises. Today, customers view IPsoft’s Amelia is as a significant investment in money and resources. To address a broader market, the firm should continue to work on simplifying cost and bot training requirements. ›› Is the best fit for enterprises looking to make a commitment to cognitive technology. With its workflow automation and active language development features, IPsoft provides an ideal solution for those looking for advanced functionalities such as creating workflows for more-sophisticated help desk interactions. IPsoft Customer Reference Summary Overall, IPsoft’s customers are satisfied with the product and seek to continuously expand their use cases. They noted that the product has significantly improved in usability over time.

FIGURE 4 IPsoft QuickCard

Wave position

IPsoft

LEADER

Chatbot learning

Deployment and security

Chatbot automation

Bot management

Architecture/integrations

Vendor positioning

Chatbot readiness

Road map

Development and tooling

Market approach

Differentiated

On par

Needs improvement

REFERENCE QUOTES “Adoption of our chatbot tool has been surprisingly high [across user ages].” “All L1 support goes through Amelia and is trained on a quarter of top calls.”

Products evaluated Amelia

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The Forrester New Wave™: Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations, Q2 2019 The Eight Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

Serviceaide: Forrester’s Take Our evaluation found that Serviceaide (see Figure 5): ›› Leads the pack with IT operations orientation. Due to Serviceaide’s heritage in IT operations, its chatbot strategy and road map strongly align to supporting the needs of day-to-day IT operations, including granular out-of-the-box IT ops workflows. ›› Needs to expand its visual development capabilities. Missing from the Serviceaide platform are graphical relationship models, e.g., wireframe graphs. Introducing these features will further assist developers in gaining an understanding of the user journey through the chat interface. ›› Is the best fit for organizations pursuing an augmented IT operations team. With its IT operations specificity and easy-to-configure follow-up interactions, Serviceaide’s Luma provides an attractive platform for augmenting IT service delivery capabilities. Serviceaide Customer Reference Summary Serviceaide customers are exceptionally pleased with their experiences, noting the solution’s fast timeto-implementation and time-to-value, thanks to its out-of-the-box capabilities and workflows.

FIGURE 5 Serviceaide QuickCard

Wave position

Serviceaide

LEADER

Chatbot learning

Deployment and security

Chatbot automation

Bot management

Architecture/integrations

Vendor positioning

Chatbot readiness

Road map

Development and tooling

Market approach

Differentiated

On par

Needs improvement

REFERENCE QUOTES “An extra benefit has been, our service desk staff can instantly find the status of a ticket.” “Their out-of-the-box language and intent models met almost all our base needs.”

Products evaluated Serviceaide Luma

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The Forrester New Wave™: Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations, Q2 2019 The Eight Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

Avaamo: Forrester’s Take Our evaluation found that Avaamo (see Figure 6): ›› Provides robust integration and training capabilities. With prebuilt integrations, including legacy solutions, Avaamo can address non-API-enabled environments. It also provides data-cleaning tools model training, using unformatted data for added flexibility. ›› Needs to streamline elements of the development tool interface. While Avaamo provides a GUI-based chatbot development environment, managing multiple language and workflow elements is cumbersome and needs to better support designing multidirectional chatbot conversations. ›› Is best suited for multiple generations of IT systems. Through the platform’s capabilities relating to training and integration, coupled with full security features, Avaamo provides an attractive option for organizations with legacy IT elements. Avaamo Customer Reference Summary Avaamo’s customer references are enthusiastic about their implementations and look to further expand their uses of the solution. They noted, however, that managing user expectations regarding the current bot capabilities is critical.

FIGURE 6 Avaamo QuickCard

Wave position

Avaamo

LEADER

Chatbot learning

Deployment and security

Chatbot automation

Bot management

Architecture/integrations

Vendor positioning

Chatbot readiness

Road map

Development and tooling

Market approach

Differentiated

On par

Needs improvement

REFERENCE QUOTES “Integration was one of the easiest parts of the implementation.” “Avaamo has been able to provide the majority of features requested.”

Products evaluated Avaamo Conversational AI Platform

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The Forrester New Wave™: Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations, Q2 2019 The Eight Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

EdgeVerve (Infosys): Forrester’s Take Our evaluation found that EdgeVerve (see Figure 7): ›› Provides granular language model development tools and RPA coupling. EdgeVerve gives users a powerful language model development and optimization tool set. Additionally, it natively integrates with EdgeVerve’s own robotic process automation (RPA) platform, providing a versatile automation suite. ›› Needs to better market its IT operations capabilities. EdgeVerve provided limited publicly available information related to Nia and its capabilities in the context of Nia’s functionality for IT operations. This may cause organizations to overlook the solution when developing their strategies. ›› Is the best fit for customers looking to expand EdgeVerve functionality. Through its connectivity with the EdgeVerve RPA platform and flexible language models, Infosys’ Nia provides users with a powerful and customizable automation package. EdgeVerve Customer Reference Summary EdgeVerve was a nonparticipating vendor, and Forrester was unable to speak with EdgeVerve customers for this evaluation.

FIGURE 7 EdgeVerve QuickCard

Wave position

EdgeVerve

STRONG PERFORMER

Chatbot learning

Deployment and security

Chatbot automation

Bot management

Architecture/integrations

Vendor positioning

Chatbot readiness

Road map

Development and tooling

Market approach

Differentiated

On par

REFERENCE QUOTES EdgeVerve did not participate in this evaluation and chose not to provide references.

Needs improvement

Products evaluated EdgeVerve NIA

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The Forrester New Wave™: Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations, Q2 2019 The Eight Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

Kore.ai: Forrester’s Take Our evaluation found that Kore.ai (see Figure 8): ›› Provides superior language model visibility and control. Kore.ai provides one of the most intuitive chatbot language management suites we evaluated. It provides a comprehensive intent management portal, multicontextual conversation support, NLU decision-tree visibility and training, and native data sanitation tools. ›› Needs to expand IT ops support. While the platform provides a prefabricated ITSM “smartbot,” the solution assumes an IT environment accessible mostly through open APIs with already-defined workflows to use as templates for automation beyond base capabilities.4 ›› Is the best fit for companies that need a transparent language model. Supporting a variety of general use cases and granular language learning visibility, Kore.ai provides a well-rounded solution to pursue a department-agnostic chatbot strategy. Kore.ai Customer Reference Summary Kore.ai customer references reported overall satisfaction with their experiences and are looking to expand their uses of the platform. They did note that their initiatives have taken longer than anticipated, including some unexpected delays due to integration complexities.

FIGURE 8 Kore.ai QuickCard

Wave position

Kore.ai

STRONG PERFORMER

Chatbot learning

Deployment and security

Chatbot automation

Bot management

Architecture/integrations

Vendor positioning

Chatbot readiness

Road map

Development and tooling

Market approach

Differentiated

On par

Needs improvement

REFERENCE QUOTES “Today, we’re using the bot to provide help desk Q&A and are looking to expand.” “A lot of people have been happy with ease of the interface — it’s easy to train people.”

Products evaluated Kore.ai Bots Platform

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Botpress: Forrester’s Take Our evaluation found that Botpress (see Figure 9): ›› Provides a developer-friendly platform. With its modular platform, code-level access to all elements of a bot, insight into NLU decision making, and overall open source strategy, Botpress provides developers with a comprehensive set of tools to rapidly develop a chatbot solution. ›› Needs to expand its out-of-the-box support for IT ops. Botpress currently provides a limited set of prefabricated assets, in general, and requires more IT operations-centric workflows and language models, a prerequisite for most organizations looking to rapidly implement a chatbot for those purposes. ›› Is best suited for customers looking to pursue a developer-led chatbot strategy. With its developer tools, open source community, and customizability, Botpress provides developers with the materials they need to get a chatbot rapidly up and running. Botpress Customer Reference Summary Botpress’ customers are eager to expand their use of the tool but note that further prebuilt assets would help them more readily expand beyond their initial implementations.

FIGURE 9 Botpress QuickCard

Wave position

Botpress

CONTENDER

Chatbot learning

Deployment and security

Chatbot automation

Bot management

Architecture/integrations

Vendor positioning

Chatbot readiness

Road map

Development and tooling

Market approach

Differentiated

On par

Needs improvement

REFERENCE QUOTES “The customizability of the platform itself was a main selling point.” “Even if [the bot] doesn’t have the right answer, it can assist the agent answering the user.”

Products evaluated Botpress

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The Forrester New Wave™: Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations, Q2 2019 The Eight Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

Inbenta Technologies: Forrester’s Take Our evaluation found that Inbenta Technologies (see Figure 10): ›› Provides tight knowledge-base integrations and functionality. With native integration to its separate knowledge-base solution, Inbenta’s strengths lie in its capabilities to navigate, extract, and summarize data. This makes the solution ideal for developing a robust information-retrieval chatbot. ›› Needs to provide further IT operations oriented functionality. Inbenta is pursuing a broader chatbot development strategy with an emphasis on customer service and, as a result, has limited prefabricated IT operations-focused assets like workflows or language models. ›› Is the best fit for organizations pursuing information-focused chatbot support. With strong knowledge-base capabilities and broad capabilities for internal organization, Inbenta is a good candidate for helping employees rapidly find the information they need. Inbenta Technologies Customer Reference Summary Inbenta Technologies was a nonparticipating vendor, and Forrester was unable to speak with Inbenta customers for this evaluation.

FIGURE 10 Inbenta QuickCard

Wave position

Inbenta Technologies Chatbot learning

Deployment and security

Chatbot automation

Bot management

Architecture/integrations

Vendor positioning

Chatbot readiness

Road map

Development and tooling

Market approach

Differentiated

On par

CONTENDER

REFERENCE QUOTES Inbenta Technologies did not participate in this evaluation and chose not to provide references.

Needs improvement

Products evaluated Inbenta Chatbot

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The Forrester New Wave™: Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations, Q2 2019 The Eight Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

SnatchBot: Forrester’s Take Our evaluation found that SnatchBot (see Figure 11): ›› Provides unique in-chatbot features and marketplace. SnatchBot features unique capabilities such as in-chatbot variable calculation capabilities and provides users with a broad marketplace for sharing premade chatbots. ›› Needs to address IT operations-focused functionality. To better serve IT operations use cases, SnatchBot must provide more options related to reporting, granular security, and prebuilt IT operations workflows and platform integrations. ›› Is the best fit for organizations curious about chatbots. With its free-to-try model and tooling focused on business analysts, SnatchBot provides a fast way to experiment with chatbots. SnatchBot Customer Reference Summary SnatchBot’s reference customers are satisfied with their implementations and are slowly expanding their use of the tool but noted that more pretrained models are needed.

FIGURE 11 SnatchBot QuickCard

Wave position

SnatchBot

CHALLENGER

Chatbot learning

Deployment and security

Chatbot automation

Bot management

Architecture/integrations

Vendor positioning

Chatbot readiness

Road map

Development and tooling

Market approach

Differentiated

On par

Needs improvement

REFERENCE QUOTES “By reducing [context switching], the bot has drastically increased productivity on our team.” “The bot can be used to enter into contact with our team.”

Products evaluated SnatchBot

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Supplemental Material The Forrester New Wave Methodology We conducted primary research to develop a list of vendors that met our criteria for the evaluation and definition of this emerging market. We evaluated vendors against 10 criteria, seven of which we based on product functionality and three of which we based on strategy. We also reviewed market presence. We invited the top emerging vendors in this space to participate in an RFP-style demonstration and interviewed customer references. We then ranked the vendors along each of the criteria. We used a summation of the strategy scores to determine placement on the x-axis, a summation of the current offering scores to determine placement on the y-axis, and the market presence score to determine marker size. We designated the top-scoring vendors as Leaders. For some vendors, Forrester was only able to interview one customer reference. For non-participating vendors, customers were not interviewed, and scoring was based on a briefing, previous analyst experiences, and public supplementary information. © 2019 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law. Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

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The Forrester New Wave™: Standalone Chatbots For IT Operations, Q2 2019 The Eight Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

Integrity Policy We conduct all our research, including Forrester New Wave evaluations, in accordance with the Integrity Policy posted on our website.

Endnotes 1

For more on the specifics of these categories and an overview of the wider market of chatbots for IT operations, see the Forrester report “Now Tech: Chatbots For IT Operations, Q1 2019.”

2

In the context of chatbots, “intents” and “entities” refer to specific concepts. Intents, and intent management, help the language-processing side of chatbots determine what a user is attempting to do or requesting and help make a connection between a user’s sentence and what action or workflow to execute. Entities are keywords or types of keywords, such as a name, a proper noun, or a personal or possessive pronoun, that modify an intent and identify specific components or variables in a sentence. For example, in the sentence “I would like to reset my password,” the intent of the sentence would indicate that someone wishes to kick off a password reset workflow, with the entities of “I” and “my” identifying the user as well as the subject of the password reset.

3

Actively pathing interactions refers to the process of capturing and creating workflows based on agent/chatbot user interactions in an automated fashion.

4

ITSM is IT service management. Kore.ai is currently cooperatively developing connections into RPA platforms to supplement its automation capabilities, with some customers already leveraging these connections.

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