NAB Employee Chatbot Helps Improve Colleague Experience and Save $1.2M in Costs Within 7 Months of Deployment

A fluid and collaborative partnership

NAB decided to create a chatbot that would serve as a single source of truth to answer employee IT questions. After comparing four chatbot services, the bank selected Azure Cognitive Services and Microsoft’s Bot Framework.

“We looked at UI and user authentication, required integrations, usability, and even the scalability that we wanted to achieve at NAB,” says Ghuliani. “On top of that, the key criteria were the security of our data and our colleagues, and then any additional considerations from a cost perspective.

“We looked into all of this and learned that if we had used other bots, we would have had to do a lot more work and spend a lot more time and money compared to what we had to do with Microsoft because it was already part of our journey to the cloud.

NAB signed a five-year multicloud partnership with Microsoft in 2020 to build resilience, speed, and innovation. The bank also uses Microsoft 365 services, including Microsoft Teams, to improve productivity and collaboration among its staff.

Working closely with Microsoft engineers and architects, NAB developed and deployed a primary employee chatbot. Staff members can access the NAB Bot using the Teams app on their computer or mobile phone. The bot is also available as a web interface with access limited to NAB employees.

Integration with ServiceNow means that the NAB Bot can tap into a knowledge repository of the most frequently asked questions from employees. It also allows the bank to easily transfer employees to live chat with its 24/7 support team.

However, it is the approach to security that makes this chatbot unique. Through this project, NAB has become one of the few large companies in the world to deploy Azure Cognitive Services using private endpoints. These are private IP addresses that are only accessible within a specific virtual network and subnet.

“It was a remarkable achievement [moving from public to private endpoints] because it was new territory for all of us, including the Microsoft engineers assigned to us,” says Ghuliani. “But this journey has become much easier and smoother thanks to the workshops and the collaboration that we have had.

“Microsoft engineers have been very transparent and open in sharing their knowledge with us, and that has helped us get to where we are today.

Since the NAB Bot went live in November 2021, employees have used it more than 53,000 times and gave it an average rating of 4½ out of five.

“From a usability and performance perspective, the chatbot certainly exceeded our expectations,” says Ghuliani. “What’s really nice to see is that over 50% of all NAB Bot interactions come from our customer-facing colleagues, because we want to make a difference for our customers.”

Donald E. Patel