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Automate

6
min read
January 29, 2018

The Digital Assembly Line

Kamron Palizban

Kamron Palizban

Curious
medium Link

What is The Digital Assembly Line (or DAL)?

The DAL coordinates agents, with the help of technology, to execute processes for a client through the simplicty of a single touch point.
— A Process is a set of instructions for executing digital tasks.
Agents are the humans that build and execute these processes for Clients.

How does this actually work?
In this post I’ll explain its three (3) primary components.

1. Synthetic Intelligence

Our clients interact with their Synthetic Intelligence (or SI) — a conversational chat bot which is operated by our agents. Clients can email and text their SI, and if they want to do a phone or video call with their SI, they can delegate to our agents live, in real time.

The DAL is invisible to clients. It is the back-end, where operations happen, and the SI is the front-end, where operations are delivered to the client, and delegation is received from the client.

We let you design an avatar to give your S.I. a fun, fictional persona. For example, our company’s SI is named Zeno Elea, after the ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician. And my personal S.I. is named Ambroseus, after the character in Arthurian legend.

This keeps the client experience simple. The client can interface with a single touch point for unlimited processes.

2. Processes

Again, a process is a set of instructions for executing digital tasks. Processes produce a clear outcome for a client — and have a well-defined start and finish. Clients pay per hour and can have an infinite amount of processes. As Invisible’s process library grows, so too does the library of each client’s.

A. Architecture

Processes are organized by Capability. No matter what kind of process you delegate to us, it will fit nicely into our information architecture.

Our latest Capabilities Index.

Suppose you are an NBA season ticket holder of the San Francisco Warriors, and you want us to sell tickets to games you can’t attend. Our taxonomy categorizes this as a process under Events, which is a capability under the Lifestyle set.

This matters because when you ask: “Can you do this?”, the answer is never “No, we’ve never seen anything like it.” As long as your request can be turned into a set of instructions to execute digital tasks, then the answer is going to be “Yes, this request makes sense, and it relates to our other processes.”

B. Components

Processes have both Work and Data components. Think about these as verbs and nouns. Work is the verb component, and data is the noun component. When we name a process, it includes both a verb and a noun: Scheduling (v) a Meeting (n), Sending (v) an Invoice (n), etcetera.

This means we can both “do stuff for you” and “save and organize stuff for you.” Suppose you ask us to help you plan a vacation. We’ll save your ideas and your travel preferences as data; but we’ll also do the work of booking flights, scheduling the trip, making sure your colleagues have you covered, setting an Out Of Office message, etcetera.

C. Instances

An Instance is a single complete start-to-finish operation of a process.
Every instance is tracked in a dashboard, visible to the client, and includes a specific name and the time it took to complete it. If operating an instance takes several hours or more, an agent will give the client an Estimation on when the instance will be completed.

This gives the client visibility. You’ll know how much work is being done for you, for each process and instance.

D. Taskbooks

Each process has just one Taskbook. The Taskbook contains a set of instructions. Instructions may be straightforward, or may include complex business logic: like loops, conditionals, and handoffs.

A Taskbook is a simple, plaintext set of instructions that details exactly how the client’s request should be executed. Taskbooks go through multiple versions, each version improving the efficiency and expansiveness of the process by adding, removing or updating steps, with new client preferences or operator suggestions.

E. Workbooks

If more than one client uses a process, the taskbook becomes a Workbook. A Workbook is like a Taskbook in that it is a plaintext set of instructions, but whereas a Taskbook is customized to a specific client, a Workbook’s logic has been abstracted to such a degree that it can support multiple clients on different teams, and even at different companies.

When a client asks their assistant to perform a process that has been Workbook’ed, they’ll receive a Typeform with questions to set preferences. These preferences then translate into variables in the Workbook. For example, Scheduling a Meeting is a process that has a Workbook and one question in the Typeform asks: “What time of the day are you available to take meetings and calls?

We are working on getting all our Workbooks into a public process library on our website that includes a summary and screen recording of each process.

F. Patches

Processes improve over time through Patches. We treat every process like a Product. Every patch upgrades the Version of a process.

The more we execute a process, the more feedback we collect. Feedback comes in various forms, from both clients and agents. They send in Mistakes, Preferences, and Suggestions — each of which gets incorporated into the process as a patch by an agent.

Mistakes are analyzed, fixed and logged, so we never make the same mistake twice — and can prove it. Preferences allow for customization on the client level — Cleopatra may not want scheduling done the same way that Julius does. Over time, most of the feedback comes from agents, in the form of suggestions — not from clients. Our kaizen culture upgrades forever. Because of our information architecture, we naturally discover opportunities to network processes together to achieve more and more impressive outcomes.

3. Agents

Agents are the humans doing work in the DAL.
They fill a variety of roles on the DAL.

Operators execute processes. Builders design processes. Routers manage communications. Managers provide quality training and coaching. We have a comprehensive promotion structure, and we are experimenting with more positions to improve client relationships and quality.

Let’s imagine these agent ranks as warriors on a battlefield:

A. Operators

Operators are the infantry, the ones on the frontlines. They’re the ones doing the actual work for clients and actioning on the instructions of a process, giving the client they’re desired outcome.

B. Builders

Builders are the tacticians, the ones determining the maneuvers to make on a specific battle front — a specific process. Builders are the ones designing the initial instructions of a process and upgrade it as the battlefield evolves.

C. Routers

Routers are the messengers that travel between the chain of command to relay information and respond to any general questions. A router is the client’s direct line of communication with their synthetic intelligence. They determine whether a message is a new request, an instance of an existing process, a preference, or something else.

D. Managers

Managers are the generals overseeing the battle, they ensure all fronts of the battlefield are adequately manned with the proper arms. Managers set the strategy for their team, ensure that every agent in their team is aligned and learning, and hold regular syncs with the agents in their teams.

E. Direct Assistants

Direct Assistants are an experimental agent position. They are the special forces that can perform all of the positions listed above and report directly to the commander. Direct Assistants interface directly with a client through the SI. By knowing the client personally (frontend) as well as having an in-depth understanding of the DAL (backend), a direct assistant can think strategically for a client, ensuring that they are utilizing the full power of the DAL to match their needs.

F. Reviewers

Reviewers are an experimental agent position. They drill the infantry, scouts, and tactitians and provide them feedback. Reviewers review the work of every single operator, builder, and router, providing a quality assurance step to every component in the DAL.

With the Digital Assembly Line, a client can utilize thousands of human hours to accomplish hundreds of different processes, all through the ease of a single touch point.

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