Create an Alexa Skill for Your Organization with Alexa for Business Blueprints

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The below quote comes from the introduction of the Voice Computing Risk Advisory created by the ACT Changing Nature of Risk workgroup.

Alexa Skill Blueprint Landing Page

“The ACT Changing Nature of Risk workgroup feels that Voice Computing, also known as Conversational Computing, is the next major step in user interfaces. It is now changing the way people interact with and use computers.

“The advent of mobile technology added new users and required a redesign of existing processes. Voice Computing will require similar modifications to create voice friendly platforms and services. New services that were not thought of will become common. Probably the most significant new service will be conversational commerce.”

We continue to see the rapid adoption of various smart speaker options, including Amazon Echo/Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomePod. Based on several recent reports the multiple Amazon Echo/Alexa devices controls about 70% of the market.

Your organization should be experimenting with how to incorporate smart speakers into your marketing and operations. Fortunately, Amazon is making it easy to get started with Alexa for Business Blueprints.

Alexa for Business Blueprints allows a business to publish private skills to their organization within minutes and without writing a single line of code.

Private skills are voice-powered capabilities that enhance the Alexa experience while remaining private to members of an Alexa for Business organization. Skill Blueprints are so easy to use that people have used them extensively to create Alexa skills for their households. Now anyone at the office can do the same for their workplace, by merely filling in custom requests and responses in one of dozens of easy-to-use Blueprints. IT administrators can then review and enable that content for the company’s users and managed Alexa-enabled devices.

Business Blueprints

Currently, two business skills blueprints are available:

  • Business Q&A – Use to provide answers to common workplace questions.
  • Onboard Guide – Use to provide new team members with a guide to your organization.

A Business Q&A allows questions such as “Alexa, ask Office Helper, what days are we off for Thanksgiving?” or “…how do I process my contractor’s invoice?” Skills created from these blueprints can answer work-related questions such as “What’s the guest Wi-Fi password?”, “What are the hours for IT?”, or “When does open enrollment start?

How It Works

Organizations of any size can create private skills using Alexa for Business Blueprints, regardless of budget, without needing developers to write a single line of code.

Using a link provided by the company’s Alexa for Business administrator, anyone, whether an executive assistant, salesperson, line of business owner, or IT admin, can use any available Skill Blueprint on the Alexa Skill Blueprints website to create, test, and then publish a private skill to their organization. Once distributed, the company’s IT admin can then review and enable the skill for the organization’s shared devices and enrolled users.

Alexa for Business has also added two new Skill Blueprints to the Alexa Skill Blueprints website under a new category called “Business,” including a Business Q&A blueprint for custom questions and answers, and an Onboard Guide blueprint to handle “How do I” and “Where is” types of questions. Skills created using the Onboard Guide blueprint could be used by new hires at an organization, for example. No coding is required to use these Skill Blueprints. All that’s needed to submit a skill to your organization is an Amazon account and the Alexa for Businesses organization identifier (also known as an ARN) provided by the organization’s IT admin. That means that anyone at the office can contribute to creating useful Alexa skills for the organization.

How to Get Started with Alexa for Business Blueprints

Alexa for Business Blueprints

There is no limit to the number of skills you can create. Getting started is as simple as filling in the blanks. Learn more on the Alexa for Business Blueprints page. Alexa for Business Blueprints is now available in the U.S.

Here are the steps to get started:

  • Create an account.
  • Pick the Blueprint you want to use as a template.
  • Create a list of resources or common questions with answers.
  • Pick a name for your skill.
  • Edit any time to add more information.
  • Share your skill for others to use on their Alexa-enabled devices.

Let me know if you experiment with creating a customized Alexa skill. How did it go?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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