I have written about Workato before, the startup that makes it easier for business users to integrated business applications with each other – with no coding skills. But there is more than interfaces that connect systems with each other, there is also a need for business users to access information on an ad hoc, single transaction, atomic data level.


So let’s take a look what Workato just announced, the press release can be found here:

Today we see a new trend emerging how business is done. Instead of working with single, siloed information systems, most prominently email and enterprise solutions, business people are gravitating towards more ad hoc, informal ways of communicating, chat being one of the communication platforms of choice… one of them capturing a lot of mind and market share is Slack, which recently has passed two million users. One of the many things the Slack team has done right is to make the chat platform open and extensible for partners and third parties.

This openness has allowed Workato to build a ‘microservice to interfaces’ a workbot that operates on a single interface item level, e.g. a customer, a lead, an opportunity or a service request. Instead of the business user having to switch context – from the collaboration application (here Slack) to the business application (e.g. Expensify, Salesforce, ServiceNow, QuickBooks, Zendesk, etc.) – Workbot does that work for the business user, as part of the chat.

Take a look at the following example, where Workbot gathers more information to provide the business user a richer content in a more productive way:

Workato Constellation Enterprise Software Musings Holger Mueller

The above chat between Maddy and Workbot makes Maddy’s work life not only easier – but also more productive:

  • Alert Function – Workbot alerts Maddy of an event (from Zendesk).
  • Information Gathering – Workbot gathers more information as Maddy requests it (from Salesforce, Zendesk).
  • Action Support – Workbot adds information to the systems on Maddy’s request (into Github, Salesforce and Zendesk).
  • Collaboration Support – On Maddy’s request Workbot sends a SMS message to alert a colleague of the situation (using Twilio). 
Note that Maddy never had to leave Slack, staying in one and the same user interface, on one and the same platform. Assuming Maddy is a customer service representative and tuned to reasonable multi-tasking speeds, she will likely have 3-5 of these conversations open, but resolving them more efficiently thanks to Workbot.

As mentioned Workbot is built on top of the Workato integration platform, that build on user friendly recipes for integration. This is why how the first version of Workbot supports a substantial number of applications with Saleforce.com, Zendesk, Eventbrite, Expensify, ServiceNow, Intercom, QuickBooks Online, Jira, Github and Mailchimp.


Implications for the Future of Work

We already know that the enablement of the business end user is key for success of an enterprise. Central IT functions react too slow and often too late to support business users whose workday gets more and challenging year over year. More work needs to get done with less people and less time available, so business users are clamoring for any productivity gains they can get a hold of.

We recently took a look how Workato enables the integration of different business applications in an easy, no technology understanding requiring way (see here), now Workato uses the same technology, not only to transport data en masse, but to interface business information as the business user is ‘in flight’, in a business transaction or collaboration scenario.

At the end of the day this means

  • Information goes from bulk load to atomic data item – Interfaces become more granular, resolving latency and recency challenges as well as addressing performance and scalability questions.
  • Information finds the business user – not vice versa – Instead of switching context and searching for relevant information, information ‘finds’ the business user as needed.
  • Collaboration is where the work is done – At the end people solve business problems, to do so they need to collaborate. Breaking down traditional moats between e.g. enterprise applications and collaboration tools is a key move to make business users more productive.
  • Conversation becomes the new interface technology – Instead of thinking in IT dimensions such as interfaces, files and processes, the conversational query of data and creation of actions will make business users more effective than ever before. And different users are doing different things in an enterprise, use a different lingo, all things a conversational approach can reflect well.
  • The Robots are coming – and business users will love it – A lot has been said and abundant fear has been mongered about the arrival of robots. And concerns may be valid in the long run, in the short term robots like Workato’s Workbot will be highly welcomed by business users – making them more productive and allowing them to focus on what matters, their business’ success. The robot’s ability to learn and suggest actions will be highly welcomed – as long as they work as expected and delight the business user. 


Workato has created a new product, Workbot, effectively a smooth ‘scale down’ of its interface capabilities, with full re-use of platform, recipes etc. – while achieving what ultimately matters – making business users more productive and with that more successful. Workato can implement Workbot on other open chat platforms (e.g. the also popular HipChat) and bring more of its interface repertoire to the market in the near future.

Workato Workbot should do well in the market, as it makes every party a winner: Slack gets more actionable chats, more loads on its platform, Workato re-uses existing capabilities and gets more eyes on its software, partner apps of Workato find more usage beyond their traditional user interface and thus increase value for their customers, but most importantly business users win, as they become more productive. And it’s the latter that really matters. We will be watching… 

More on Workato

  • First Take - Apple wants to change the Future of Work. Works with cloud apps vendors and Workato - read here

More Musings Posts
  • Musings – Time to re-invent email – for real! - Read here
  • The Dilemma with Cloud Infrrastrcture updates - read here
  • Are we witnessing the Rise of the Enterprise Cloud? Read here
  • What are true Analytics - a Manifesto. Read here
  • Is TransBoarding the Future of Talent Management? Read here
  • How Technology Innovation fuels Recruiting and dsrupts the Laggards - read here
Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.