VentureBeat’s Bots Channel tracks the most important news and analysis from the exploding field of bots and messaging. Each week, we select the top stories and present them in our free weekly newsletter, BotBeat. We include news stories by VentureBeat staff, guest articles from leading figures in the bots community, and a good number of posts from a wide variety of other outlets. You can subscribe to our BotBeat newsletter to receive this information in your inbox every Thursday.

Here’s this week’s newsletter:

While consumer-facing chatbots seem to grab the lion’s share of people’s attention, business chatbots have been steadily making inroads into many enterprise applications. After all, more people can relate to ordering Domino’s pizzas or Starbucks coffee with a Messenger bot than to a chatbot that ties together lumbering enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications.

But the arguments for business bots are obvious: existing customer bases, use cases with measurable results, and the promise of greater efficiency and productivity. It’s also an area where investors see strong, easy to understand opportunities.

“The enterprise ones are just easier to see what they would look like, [but] they’re not necessarily easier to build. There’s so much crap in the enterprise space that can be replaced with conversational UX. it’s not hard to see where those would be,” Phil Libin of General Catalyst had told VentureBeat this Fall.

This week, for instance, SAP began introducing Slack bots for its enterprise customers. And Slack, itself, expanded its bots from teams to entire companies with a new product called Enterprise Grid. These announcements come the heels of multiple offerings from several companies, across many industries.

As always, please send news tips to Khari Johnson and guest post submissions to John Brandon. Be sure to visit our Bots Channel for comprehensive news on bots and messaging. Thanks for reading,

-Blaise Zerega

Editor in Chief

P.S. Please enjoy this video reviewing the Swelly bot from Qwazou the bot explorer.

Swelly bot Qwazou the bot explorer

From the Bots Channel

Slack launched Enterprise Grid that evolves communication from teams to whole organizations

Slack expands beyond teams to entire organizations with Enterprise Grid

After observing the groundswell of adoption by employees in individual teams, Slack has set its sight on making its productivity platform available across entire organizations. It has launched Enterprise Grid, a new product that not only scales the core Slack experience to hundreds, if not thousands more, but gives IT administrators the regulatory and security […]

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SAP logo

SAP starts making Slack bots for its enterprise software

Enterprise software company SAP announced today that it has created chatbots for users of its Concur expense tracker and SuccessFactors HR software. The bots will initially be available exclusively to users of Enterprise Grid, a new service from chat app Slack for large corporations that also launched today. More bots are on the way from SAP, a company […]

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Starbucks

Alexa will now take your Starbucks order

Owners of Amazon Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices can now use the Starbucks Reorder skill to order coffee, the company announced today. To make orders, customers must create a Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay account so orders are preset and paid for before entering a local Starbucks location. Select users of the Starbucks iOS app may also […]

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Will you hire Eli?

Can a chatbot replace your resume?

Elizabeth Nieves is looking for a job. And, so is her chatbot. On Facebook, you can send a message to the Hire Eli bot and learn about Nieves’ skills and experience. There’s a photo, and the bot can tell a joke. You can click a button to find out where she has worked and learn […]

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investing coins stack counting

How a bot could automate 80% of startup investment screening

I have a 100-step checklist that I use to screen new investments. I’ve backed about 70 companies, but I’ve evaluated 40x that many — a dizzying amount of research. The fact is, a bot could do 80 percent of that work for me. After all, I have a series of questions, and I need to fill […]

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Amazon Echo

5 Alexa skills to try this week

In a recent estimate, Morgan Stanley said it believes that 11 million Alexa devices have been sold so far, and a lot more people are expected to get their own intelligent assistant this year. Intelligent assistant analytics company VoiceLabs estimates that nearly 25 million voice-enabled devices with assistants like Cortana, Alexa, and Google Assistant inside will be sold […]

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Beyond VB

WhatsApp: 16 tips and shortcuts to make the most of the messaging app

WhatsApp needs little introduction. A constant presence on Google Play and the App Store’s top apps charts, it’s one of the first apps you’ll download when you buy a new phone and almost certainly your biggest source of notification on a typical day. (via The Independent)

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Trump aides’ use of encrypted messaging may violate records law

Senior Trump administration aides communicating over encrypted messaging apps may be violating federal record-keeping laws. The Wall Street Journal reported that political aides close to the president are using Signal, an end-to-end encrypted messaging app. And it’s not just in the White House. Aides close to the New York governor and the mayor and Obama administration staff also use the encrypted messaging app. (via ZDNet)

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Artificial intelligence can now identify skin cancer as accurately as experts

A new artificial intelligence system can spot the tell-tale signs of skin cancer just as accurately as human doctors, say researchers, and the next step is to get the tech on a smartphone, so anyone can run a self-diagnosis. (via Science Alert)

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You can now send GIFs in Allo with Google’s new chatbot, Lucky

While they might not be what everyone has been asking for, Google has been working hard to bring a number of fun new features to its smart messaging app, Allo. We’ve seen new Star Wars and Stranger Things-themed sticker packs, Chrome Custom Tabs support, and much more. If you’ve been waiting for SMS support, a web client, or any other useful feature, we’re sorry to say those still aren’t here. What is present in this new update, though, is a new way to send GIFs to your friends. (via Android Authority)

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