Wanda is the world’s first true enterprise Digital Assistant. She was the brainchild of Thomas Staven, Unit4’s Global Pre-sales Head.
Customers can add her as a contact and access all their business applications through a conversational interface. Wanda is always there for you – pervasive, but not intrusive. She automates routine operations across the business and learns preferences to become even more useful over time.
Since her launch, Wanda has received a lot of attention from the press, Unit4 competitors and customers. While we all love Wanda, Thomas has built a special relationship with her, as he describes in this short interview…
Digital assistants like Wanda promise a completely new way of working with business applications.
When was Wanda conceived?
I’m still astounded by the potential this technology offers. It’s changed the way we look at business applications and how customers work with them.
I should say that, initially, Wanda wasn’t called that and wasn’t a woman – so her persona has developed over time.
The initial proposal for Wanda came in Sept/Oct 2015 when intelligent agents in procurement first caught my attention.
My first idea was for a kind of digital twin – a digital clone of the user in the system. Following discussions with the Unit4 People Platform team, we decided that it could be quite annoying and intrusive. At the same time, digital assistants like Siri/Cortana/Alexa were becoming more prevalent, so we agreed on the direction we wanted to take.
How far has Wanda come since then?
Everyone in the business could see the potential of this technology in customer scenarios and so we started developing Wanda in earnest.
First we developed a proof of concept and quickly knew she would go far. We were pretty early to start developing something like this by enterprise standards.
Wanda was a name we just started using.
Actually it was named after the first resource that was added to the Unit4 test database back in 1987. That user was called Wanda, so it seemed fitting.
She hasn’t aged a bit, of course, unlike me...!