Digitization is progressing more and more and advances into all areas of companies. There are also numerous potentials in purchasing that can be improved through digitization and, above all, automation – especially with the help of digital assistants. A market study to validate the fields of application of a digital assistant in purchasing, in which similar solutions and competitors were also highlighted, shows this potential. With the help of a student team made up of Ronald Balekics, Yi-Jun Daniel Dai and Marcel Keller, under the direction of Professor Roland Heger from ESB Reutlingen, an overview was given of the whole market for digital assistants in the B2B area in general, and in the purchasing area of industrial companies in particular – with exciting insights into the digital future of B2B.
Analysis and Distinction
In principle, the use of digital assistants to support employees is possible in almost every department. In strategic purchasing, however, there is very high potential in terms of applicability for several reasons:
- The availability of enormous amounts of data that are generated every day in purchasing,
- At the same time, there are strong external dynamics such as volatile raw material prices or currency risks.
The high response speed required needs such data to be harmonized. In this way, a consistent database can be created, whereby savings potential and cost drivers can be identified – which in turn creates a clear competitive advantage for these companies. Medium-sized to large companies were the target for the 2018 market study.
Digital Assistants for Businesses – a Global growing Market
The global market for digital assistants is still very young – the assumptions of the market research study are therefore based on estimates based on data from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). With around 40 million medium-sized to large companies worldwide and around 380,000 such companies across the EU, the B2B market offers a great deal of potential for the spread of digital assistants.
Special Features and Market Developments
There is high growth potential in 2020 – estimates assume a potential market volume of 7.7 billion USD by 2025. For comparison: in 2017 the market volume was around 750 million USD. Because even today, a large part of the market for digital assistants in the corporate context is still untapped. Increased demand was already evident in 2018.
In addition to the number of active users of digital assistants in private, more and more companies want to give their employees a digital assistant. A large part of sales can be achieved in purchasing as well as in customer service and marketing, as well as e-commerce and sales if digital assistants are successfully implemented in company processes. Partnerships between providers of digital assistants such as Neo and medium-sized, globally active companies can create real added value for both sides in a constantly growing market.
Competitors and Position Model
In 2018, the number of providers for digital assistants in the B2B area was identified as relatively small in the market study by ESB Reutlingen. In addition to the large software companies such as Oracle, Amazon or Cisco, some start-ups have also established themselves on the market alongside Neo, such as Susi & James or Botfriends.
The current market for digital assistant providers basically consists of:
- Personal assistants in the private sphere,
- AI assistants who have specialized in a sub-area (e.g. especially for meetings or for market research)
- generalist AI assistants.
With the providers, it must be taken into account that various products only provide partial aspects, such as natural language understanding or the chat interface.
Neo as a Predestined Assistant for Businesses
The Neohelden GmbH provides Neo, the digital AI assistant for business.
Similar to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, Neo supports its users, not in their own four walls, but in the office: With a focus on B2B applications, Neo can easily support employees with their relevant software systems via their computer, notebook and smartphone thanks to its user-friendly and multifunctional user interface. The users can write and speak with Neo. What also differentiates Neo positively from other competitions is the high level of data security and strong data protection. Neo can be hosted in the cloud as well as on-premise.