Collaboration between Accenture Finland, boost.ai and three Finnish government agencies resulted in groundbreaking innovation allowing conversational AI to connect multiple virtual agents via a single chat window.
Attracting foreign entrepreneurship is an enticing proposition for any government. It can lead to economic stimulus and important breakthroughs in innovation that benefit both a country and its citizenry. This was the impetus behind the Finnish government’s drive to attract forward-thinking new businesses to its shores in alignment with its Aurora national AI program.
Part of streamlining the process of starting a new business required the rethinking of existing systems - making them less fragmented and more accessible via a single, user-friendly place where entrepreneurs can find the answers they need. To achieve this goal, three key agencies within the Finnish government - the Immigration Service, the Patent and Registration Office and the Tax Administration - partnered with Accenture Finland and boost.ai to develop a unique implementation of conversational AI that can easily facilitate inter-agency collaboration.
This innovation, called a Virtual Agent Network, helps to break down departmental silos by connecting three independent conversational AI-powered virtual agents together via a network. Visitors to any of the agencies’ websites can interact with their respective virtual agents individually to find answers to their questions related to immigration, business registration and patents, and taxation. The magic happens when a user asks one virtual agent about a topic that is best answered by either of its digital colleagues. Rather than not being able to help, the virtual agent identifies that the topic is outside of its scope using Natural Language Understanding (NLU), and offers to transfer the user to the correct department. If accepted, the new virtual agent takes over within the same chat window for a seamless, unbroken interaction.
“Accenture – together with boost.ai – responded to innovation challenge given. There were no virtual assistant networks available before. They created something unique from innovation to implementation.”
— Vesa Hagström, Chief Digital Officer, Finnish Immigration Service
The Virtual Agent Network has helped to set a new standard for cross-departmental customer service within the Finnish government. Entrepreneurs are no longer required to make multiple calls to each agency and, instead, can get the answers they need in one place, when and how it suits them.
The Virtual Agent Network gives users access to information 24/7 and is designed to meet strict EU privacy and data security requirements with no personal data actively shared across the network. Employees working within each agency also benefit from each virtual agents’ ability to assist users in an efficient manner. Customer support staff can rely on the virtual agents to answer the most frequently asked questions that entrepreneurs have about starting a new business in Finland, as well as automate various additional processes, freeing them up to focus on assisting with more complex cases that require human support.
An initiative born out of a need for collaboration, the Virtual Agent Network is a unique example of combining the expertise of a globally-renowned professional services firm and the forward-thinking outlook of one of Europe’s digitally-leading governments, with the industry-disrupting technology of Norway’s leading AI scale-up.
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