With Q, Amazon Takes Gen AI to Work

Amazon Q aims to do for workers what ChatGPT has done for the general public.

It’s somewhat surprising that technology companies haven’t largely tapped into the communications power of Generative AI for the workplace.

Think about. While customers are getting used to asking chatbots about their purchase delivery times or if they can work out an installment plan on a big phone bill, companies rarely use ChatGPT-like communications platforms internally for their own workers.

That scenario may be changing this week as Amazon has just rolled out its new Amazon Q chatbot that aims to deliver Gen AI tools to workers on the job.

Amazon Q is a “new type of generative artificial intelligence-(AI) powered assistant that is specifically for work and can be tailored to a customer’s business,” according to Amazon Web Services (AWS), which released the new product.

AWS calls Q “the future of work”, noting the AI chat platform “empowers employees to get answers to questions, solve problems, generate content, and take actions using the data and expertise found at their company.”

Q seems fairly easy to access and use.

Customers can connect Amazon Q to their business data, information, and systems, “so it can synthesize everything and provide tailored assistance to help employees solve problems, generate content, and take actions relevant to their business,” AWS states. The platform has 40 built-in connectors for widely used workplace data sources, including Amazon S3, Dropbox, Confluence, Google Drive, Microsoft 365, Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Zendesk. Or Q customers can create their own custom-built connectors for internal intranets, wikis, and to run books, among other uses. “Once Amazon Q synthesizes all the information it’s connected to and a customer is ready to deploy their own assistant,” AWS notes.

With Q, a customer service representative, for example, can leverage the AI chatbot to grab fast, relevant answers to pressing questions, generate content, and take action—”all informed by a customer’s information repositories, code, and enterprise systems” presented on the Q platform. “The chat platform personalizes its interactions to each individual user based on an organization’s existing identities, roles, and permissions,” Amazon adds. Currently, Amazon Q is available to customers in preview, with Amazon Q in Connect generally available and Amazon Q in AWS Supply Chain “is coming soon,” AWS reports.

Barriers to Growth

Why is Gen AI so late to the workplace digital communication party? Amazon cites several reasons in its product rollout.
“Generative AI chat applications have captured the public’s imagination and helped people understand what is possible, but there are still barriers that prevent people from using these solutions at work,” AWS states. These barriers lead that list, according to Amazon.

— In general, chat applications don’t know an organization’s business, data, customers, operations, or employees—the work they do, who they interact with, what information they use, and what they can access.

— AI chatbots were also not initially built with the security and privacy features that organizations need for employees to safely use them in their day-to-day work. This has led to companies adding these features to their assistants after they were built, which does not work as well as incorporating security into the assistant’s fundamental design.

Amazon Q wants to unlock those barriers for employees.

“By bringing generative AI to where our customers work—whether they are building on AWS, working with internal data and systems, or using a range of data and business applications—Amazon Q is a powerful addition to the application layer of our generative AI stack that opens up new possibilities for every organization,” notes Dr. Swami Sivasubramanian, AWS vice president of data and artificial intelligence.”

Early customer reviews on Q seem promising.

“BMW teams need to ingest and interpret new data quickly to deliver the precision experiences our customers expect,” said Christoph Albrecht, data engineering and analytics consultant at Germany-based BMW Group. “New Amazon Q capabilities in QuickSight help our analysts build dashboards in hours when it used to take days.”

Albrecht says BMW is seeing an even greater impact on the company’s business users.

“There, Amazon Q in QuickSight is accelerating critical business decisions at the highest levels of our organization by enabling on-the-fly answers to time-critical questions,” he notes. “The stories feature also enables us to present a clear picture of the business for board meetings, building insightful, professionally formatted stories fast. Amazon Q in QuickSight is the high-performance fuel our demanding teams consume to get precision answers fast.”

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