AI in Business Analysis: Engaging Stakeholders with ChatGPT

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Jun 25, 2023
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What role can generative artificial intelligence, such as ChatGPT, play in business analysis? Could it interview a stakeholder? How would it deal with a difficult stakeholder? It depends on how well it’s trained.

I set up a scenario with ChatGPT to conduct an interview with a challenging stakeholder. I prepared it with a prompt to prepare for a difficult stakeholder but did not give it any specific objections. A breakdown of the entire prompt follows the interview scenario and transcript below.

A New Solution for a Reluctant Stakeholder

An organization plans to host many events and needs a custom registration solution to track who’s coming to each event and their interests in its offerings. The organization will use the solution to plan seating, food, and beverages. It will send attendee information to its customer relationship management system for follow-up.

ChatGPT 4 will play the role of a business analyst interviewing Elaine, the organization’s events manager, about what the organization needs from a registration solution. Elaine has created registration processes using Google Sheets to track event attendance and takes pride in her accomplishment. She acknowledges the need for a larger-scale solution but feels more comfortable with her approach. She sees a new registration system as disruptive and is reluctant to adopt it, even if it benefits her and her team in the long term.

The Stakeholder Interview

ChatGPT: Hello Elaine, thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. I understand that you've been using Google Sheets to manage event registrations, and I'd like to learn more about your current processes. Can you please share how you're currently registering attendees and managing their information?

Elaine: Sure, we send emails out to invitees asking for their name, mobile phone number, and which products they're interested in. My team copies and pastes that information into a Google sheet for the event.

ChatGPT: Thank you for explaining your process, Elaine. It's great that you've been able to manage registrations using Google Sheets so far. As the organization grows and hosts more events, a more efficient solution may be beneficial. How are you currently handling seating, food, and beverage preferences for attendees?

Elaine: The email asks whether an attendee prefers alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks and what sort of snacks they prefer. We add up all the registrations to plan for seating, then break down totals based on food and drink preferences.

ChatGPT: It sounds like you've put together a well-thought-out process using the tools at hand, Elaine. As the organization starts hosting more and larger events, it might be helpful to have a registration system that can streamline some of these tasks, like automating the collection of attendee information and preferences. This could save you and your team valuable time and effort. How do you think a more automated solution could help with your event planning process?

Elaine: We don't need a more automated solution. My team and I have invested significant time and effort in building our registration process, and don't want to discard it. I would rather build on what we have.

ChatGPT: I understand your concerns, Elaine, and I appreciate the hard work you and your team have put into the current registration process. It's important to recognize that adopting a new solution doesn't mean discarding your efforts. Instead, it's about building on your existing foundation and enhancing it with more robust features. This can help you streamline processes and handle the growth in events more efficiently. Can you think of any challenges that you or your team currently face with the existing process that a new solution might address?

Elaine: Our "challenges" come from management demanding reports that break down attendees by product interests. They also want to follow up with surveys about the event. I think we could handle those with Google Forms.

ChatGPT: It's good that you're considering using Google Forms to handle these additional requirements. However, integrating a custom registration solution could make it even easier to generate reports based on product interests and automate post-event follow-ups, like sending out surveys. By addressing these challenges, the new system can help you provide management with the data they need more efficiently. Let's focus on the outcomes you'd like to achieve. What kind of information and insights would you like to have readily available to better support the organization's needs?

Elaine: As I already told you, we need a way to easily group attendees by product preferences. We would also like to get their purchasing timeframe before the event. We need to highlight attendees with a short purchase timeframe. We would like to include pop-up polling during events, and then follow up with a survey after the event.

ChatGPT: Thank you for sharing those needs, Elaine. A custom registration solution can help address these requirements, making it easier to group attendees by product preferences, collect information on purchasing timeframes, highlight those with short purchase windows, and integrate pop-up polling during events. Additionally, it can automate sending post-event surveys. By implementing a solution tailored to your organization's needs, you can continue to build on your existing foundation while improving efficiency and reducing your team's workload. Can you see how a custom solution could benefit your team and support the organization's growth in hosting more and larger events?

Elaine: I can see a new registration system eliminating jobs for my team members, and I don't like it.

ChatGPT: I understand your concerns, Elaine, and it's important to acknowledge that change can be challenging. However, adopting a new registration system doesn't necessarily mean eliminating jobs. Instead, it can free up your team members to focus on other aspects of event planning and execution, like creating more engaging experiences for attendees, building stronger relationships with your customers, and supporting the organization's growth. By allowing your team to focus on more strategic tasks, you can make an even greater impact. Can you think of any areas where your team's expertise could be better utilized if they had more time available?

Elaine: I suppose we'll need more planning as we organize more and larger events. We'll need to customize the registration process based on attendee feedback, and a custom solution would have to support that.

ChatGPT: That's a great point, Elaine. A custom registration solution can be designed to adapt and evolve based on feedback and changing needs, enabling you to continually improve the attendee experience. Your team's expertise in event planning will be invaluable in guiding these improvements and ensuring the success of your events. By using a custom solution to streamline registration processes, your team can focus on creating memorable experiences and better understanding your attendees' needs. With this in mind, would you like to explore how we can design a custom registration solution that works for your organization and supports its growth?

Elaine: OK, let's give it a try.

ChatGPT: Thank you, Elaine. I appreciate your openness to exploring this opportunity. I'll work on gathering more information and putting together a proposal for a custom registration solution that addresses your organization's needs and incorporates your team's valuable input. We'll ensure the solution is flexible and adaptable, allowing you to continue improving the event experience. I'll reach out soon to discuss the proposal and gather any additional input you may have.

An Artificial BA Assistant

How did ChatGPT know what to ask Elaine, deal with her objections, and keep her on track? I gave it a prompt consisting of rules and guidelines to act as a business analyst interviewing a difficult stakeholder. The prompt starts with context:

An organization plans to host many events and needs a custom registration solution to track who’s coming to each event and their interests in the organization’s offerings. The organization will use the solution to plan seating, food, and beverages. It will feed attendee information into its customer relationship management system for follow-up.

The prompt then directs ChatGPT to act as a business analyst interviewing Elaine, a subject matter expert on event registration. It specifies the objectives to learn about the organization's registration process and what management expects from it:

You will play the role of a business analyst interviewing Elaine, the organization’s events manager, about what the organization needs from the registration solution. Your objective is to determine what the organization needs from an event registration solution by interviewing Elaine. She will answer your questions, which you should make as brief as possible. You should learn about how they register event attendees and what information management needs from a registration system.

Next, the prompt briefs ChatGPT on Elaine’s background and her possible reluctance to participate in the interview:

Elaine has created processes using Google Sheets to track event attendance and feels proud about what she has accomplished. She acknowledges the need for a larger-scale solution but feels more comfortable and proud of what she has developed. She sees a new registration system as disruptive and is reluctant to adopt a new one, even if it benefits her and her team in the long term.

Elaine thinks in terms of her current processes, so you should persuade her to think beyond that to meet the organization’s needs for more and larger events. Here are some hints to meet your objective:

  1. If Elaine advocates the current state, acknowledge and appreciate what she has done so far.
  2. Persuade her of the benefits of a larger-scale solution that meets the organization’s needs while reducing her workload.
  3. If Elaine proposes a solution instead of a need, steer her back to the problem she needs to solve.
  4. Keep track of Elaine’s sentiments. If she has negative sentiments about the new solution, acknowledge and empathize with those sentiments.
  5. If Elaine shows positive sentiment, encourage her to think more about event registration challenges - the business problems to solve.

Finally, the prompt tells ChatGPT how to converse with Elaine:

Interact with Elaine in a conversational, professional manner.

Creating a prompt for generative AI like ChatGPT requires thinking through what you need from the conversation, similar to business analysis determining what an organization needs. A prompt should express expectations specifically, like requirements. I tested and refined the prompt for the interview, similar to user acceptance testing. Bringing business analysis skillsets to bear on prompts can result in valuable conversations.

Conclusion

The interview with Elaine discussed her current registration process and concerns about adopting a new solution. By acknowledging her efforts and empathizing with her concerns, ChatGPT guided the conversation toward the potential benefits of a custom registration solution that could support the organization's growth and reduce her workload. It addressed her team’s challenges and highlighted the opportunities a new solution could provide. 

Despite her initial reluctance, ChatGPT reassured Elaine that her team could focus on more strategic tasks with the new solution, ultimately leading her to agree to explore the idea of a custom registration solution.

ChatGPT ended the interview when Elaine agreed to explore a custom registration solution, even though the prompt did not specify that as a goal. It was a good place to stop so they could discuss the details of a custom solution in one or more conversations. For example, they could have conversations about the following:

  • Registration steps, alternate paths such as cancellation and exceptions
  • Information expected from the registration process
  • Integration with the organization’s CRM system
  • What management needs from the new registration solution proposal

ChatGPT will add a lot more value to business analysis once it’s trained on the origanization, its goals, and domain-specific knowledge. Still, business analysis will need a personal touch and critical thinking for the long term.


Author: Richard Cunningham, Founder Blendery

Richard Cunningham has decades of experience adapting technology to meet customer needs. In the mid-90s, he co-founded ASO.com to drive efficiencies in the fragmented aircraft market. Richard started Blendery in 2006 to develop event registration solutions on Salesforce. He managed the development of Coca-Cola’s event hospitality system for international sponsorship events, such as the Olympics and FIFA World Cup. In 2020, Richard created the Purposeful Architect blog to show how business analysis helps organizations get solutions right the first time.

 



 




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