It’s safe to say that 2017 was a flop for the chatbot. All the predictions made out that this was going to be the year that we saw enterprise-wide adoption of bots. That hasn’t been the case, primarily, because enterprise is not paying close attention to its own behavior. Consumers have already adopted bots as a part of their lives and use them on a daily basis. From telephones to social media, new technology makes businesses more accessible to everyone, and bots are no exception. So, why is enterprise behind on this?

Over the past year, bot choices for enterprise have been limited in their functionality outside of the general “assistant” use cases. The move to intelligent conversations is inevitable and approaching fast.

According to a recent report by Grand View Research, the global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.23 billion by 2025, a CAGR of 24.3 percent. Interestingly, these projections show growth over the forecasted period as chatbots have proven to reduce operating costs for enterprises.

In the coming year, enterprises will adopt strategic and unique ways to weave AI into their day-to-day interactions and automate conversations for maximum efficiency. Here are my top predictions for enterprise chatbots in 2018.

Insights-as-a-service

With advances in natural language processing and the adoption of new chatbot applications and AI capabilities facilitating the redesign of analytics and data management roles, 2018 will witness the emergence of the insights-as-a-service market. Iterative advancements in text-to-speech, voice-to-text, deep learning, and AI in 2018 will generate a growing enterprise chatbot industry, creating a much more immersive environment and leading to the advancement of conversational interfaces.

Sophisticated human-machine interactions

Enterprise chatbot platforms and AI will fundamentally change the way we do business in 2018. A new Forrester Research report, “Predictions 2018: The Honeymoon For AI Is Over,” predicts that in 2018 enterprises will finally move beyond the hype to recognize that AI requires hard work to plan, deploy, and govern it correctly. Forrester also foresees improvements: better human and machine collaboration due to improved interfaces that enhance business intelligence and analytics solutions by moving resources to the cloud.

Intersection of AI and big data

More enterprises will adopt new technologies to improve application management. The number of applications used in enterprise is not slowing down. Bots can help users multitask by enabling work on different tasks within native messaging solutions rather than switching back and forth between apps. This is appealing to users because it allows them to cut down on app installations, signups, and password resets on applications they only use occasionally. With technology driven by AI and natural language processing (NLP) powering tasks that used to be performed by humans, enterprises will aim to optimize their time and resources to get quality collaboration at greater speed and lower costs in the coming year.

Intelligent collaborators

As chatbots become more intelligent, they can access statuses, recommend actions, perform tasks automatically, respond to text or voice commands, plan and schedule interactions, and contextualize events within internal and external business processes. As a result of intelligent bot collaborators, enterprises will need to be strategic in devising their chatbot integration, compliance, and security strategies. Concurrently, as bots become mainstream and an ongoing integrated component of conversations, the demand for a stronger policy management will also increase in 2018.

Today, advances in cognitive technologies make it possible to provide more accurate and relevant automated dialogues, propelling the use of chatbots within enterprises. Forrester shared another interesting insight in its report: Within the global chatbot market, approximately 45 percent of end users prefer chatbots as the primary mode of communication for customer service inquiries. This reflects our comfort level with bots and how they’ve become part of our personal lives. And now, the time is ripe for chatbots to disrupt our workplaces.

Farzin Shahidi is founder and CEO of Nextplane and Intrprtr.