Learnings from the first Botness survey

A few weeks ago the Botness community launched a survey asking bot builders to share information with other bot builders and platforms providers. After receiving over 130 responses, we decided to tally the results so far. If you haven’t taken the survey yet, we invite you to do so now.

This article presents the preliminary results from that survey, with some analysis from the community leads.

Who are we?

Here are are some charts that give an indication of the makeup of the current Botness and bot-maker community.

Where is your company based?

What native languages are you developing for?

This is very common to early stage technologies, and also might be skewed by survey distribution. Over time, we hope to see more evenly distributed representation of global bot builders in multiple languages.

What native languages are you developing for?

How far along are you?

As this question was mainly aimed towards bot builder communities, we think that these answers are slightly skewed and that most developers out there are still in the discovery stage of the technology. (130 responses)

How far along are you?

Do your bots generally focus on consumers or businesses?

It’s interesting to note that within the bot community there is a nearly even distribution between B2B and B2C bots. (130 responses)

Do your bots generally focus on consumers or businesses?

What industry verticals are you focusing on?

Most bot makers are focused on retail and ecommerce, productivity, customer service, and news and media. In this case “Other” includes HR, social communication, learning, personal agents, education, local information.

Bot toolsets

Which bot frameworks are you using?

Although we were quite surprised that so many bot developers roll their own framework — the general sentiment in the comments around bot frameworks was positive. Developers acknowledged that frameworks change rapidly to add new platform functionality, and expressed the need to “create once, publish everywhere”. They also commented on the limited functionality of current AI toolsets. (128 responses)

What bot frameworks are you using?

Which platforms are you developing for?

This is more or less aligned with the B2B/B2C distribution of bot builders, with Facebook leading the B2C bot platform and Slack leading the B2B bot platform. The Other column was quite surprising with a lot of proprietary, niche platforms. (130 responses)

Which platforms are you developing for?

In terms of feedback and requests for improvements from the platform vendors, bot builders want:

  • Improved bot discovery (improved social discovery, contextual suggestions, reviews)
  • More interactive/GUI elements
  • Design standards
  • Customer success stories
  • Consistent standards and roadmaps for group messaging
  • Deep linking into bots
  • Standardization across platforms in general

Issues facing bot makers

Discovery/awareness and monetization/payments were the highest scoring feature requests, which may change now that Facebook has announced beta payments.

Requests from the Botness community

Here are the top request we heard from the developer community:

  • Training
  • Networking
  • Best practices (esp. design)
  • Directories
  • Investor connections
  • Events outside of Bay Area
  • Guiding narrative, avoiding overhyping

We are planning to address these requests in the next Botness Summit happening later this year in New York City.

Share these results and take the survey

We found the results of the survey so far to be illuminating and are eager to have more folks take the survey so that we can increase its applicability. If you haven’t taken the survey, please do. If you know someone else working in the bot or conversational software space, please encourage them to do so as well. We’ll be providing updates to these insights ahead of our next event coming up in November in New York.

Amir Shevat (Slack) 
Chris Messina (Uber) 
Jon Bruner (O’Reilly)
Andy Mauro (Automat)