BCG’s first digital employee under training currently, ‘Miku’, made her debut at the at IBM THINK 2019 (Sydney) where, using UneeQ’s AI interface, the audience was able to experience BCG Senior Partner and Managing Director Miguel Carrasco interacting with her in real-time.

Miku was designed to assist BCG’s PTO facilitators who make sure the company’s consultants achieve their workload sustainability goals. PTO stands for predictability, teaming and openness.

On stage at THINK, Miku explained her role to Miguel: “I help the PTO coaches to support teams by giving advice on work-life balance issues and sharing our top tips on project management. Speaking of which, have you had a busy week? I can set up a few reminders in your calendar to prioritise some down time.” 

“PTO is ‘the way we work at BCG’ – and in many ways, it represents the core of our business. It made sense to use Miku to embody and support effectiveness in this area, especially as it’s an area we believe is crucial to our success as a company,” says Miguel.

Deploying BCG’s digital human

So, how easy is it to deploy a digital human?

“From persona design through to integration with their chatbot, Miku took only a matter of weeks to stand up – an impressively fast implementation,” adds Miguel. 

“Miku automatically takes spoken text and speaks and behaves appropriately in context to the conversational data. We also had the ability to override the AI engine with our own design and behaviour instructions. It truly was EQ by design – with incredible AI awareness, making the platform very easy and fast to implement.”

Miku’s implementation forms part of BCG’s journey to explore the most compelling technologies in the digital transformation space, including the potential of a digital workforce. “Training our digital human, Miku, to help consultants with critical project tasks has helped us understand digital human technology and how they can help enterprises gain an edge on efficiency; and their potential to radically improve customer experience.”

Hermann Ruiz, the BCG Project Manager and renowned design thinker who spent in-depth time with the UneeQ team during the implementation process, writes on LinkedIn that “Rather than thinking of digital employees as robots operating independently on AI, organisations will unlock the potential of digital employees by thinking of them as an experience continuously crafted by humans, for humans, using AI. A digital workforce designed with this approach in mind can be refined and tuned as contexts, needs and technology change.”

He goes on to say that organisations have become aware of the experiential limitations of impersonal and transactional chatbots. Which is true; our research found that 42% of brands were focussing on making their chatbots more human as a priority.

“Like advanced chatbots, digital employees use machine learning to deliver effective interaction. They recognise the intent of the user from unstructured user requests; they break down large content into common themes and recognise critical information; they integrate sensitive functions like booking flights or coordinating meetings.

“Current machine learning can even understand emotions by inferring them from your word choices or intonation.

“Unlike chatbots, though, digital employees can respond to those emotions with gestures of acknowledgement, empathy and warmth.”

He adds: “Customers prefer to reach out to humans to address their questions. The most daring of these organisations have decided to lead the development of a new generation of human-machine interaction and customer experience by giving hyper smart chatbots a digital human face.

“These organisations know that human communication is rich, full of emotional feedback and body language. They are leveraging this awareness to experiment in the design of more natural and relatable experiences where customers not only get what they need done, but they experience friendly, relatable and personalised care.

“Digital employees are not just a piece of tech. They are a medium to enable highly crafted empathetic human experiences at scale.”