What was the scope of their involvement?
R1: The idea was that it was an existing software that Korah Limited had and that they were looking at enhancing and bringing it to market. I think they may have had different forays with other partners, banks, or still some pilot phases at that point. We were working with their existing software to see how it suited our possible needs, and how it could or would need to be modified to fit out service delivery model. It wasn’t built from scratch.
R2: The Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) is to support these types of vendor innovations. The idea is that it is not a fully baked innovation yet, but it is there enough to be tested, used, and then in that testing, it is further refined.
It’s an opportunity for us to build in Canada, and to invest in these innovations that are happening here, and also give them an opportunity to test their software and to have a client on the other end of all these things that they are trying to test out. It works for both of us, and it has been pretty good.
I think there has been a lot of Build in Canada initiatives. We only knew about this one, and I believe IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada) is also involved with this one. The two other departments that we are in contact with over chat specification is the Canada Revenue Agency and IRCC.
R1: At the core, it has remained the same project, which is to have a chatbot software to provide service delivery. It has changed throughout the years based on the different types of information we have tested with the chatbot. Initially, our scope revolved around passport applications and information, and that is what started the project back in 2017. All of the conversations, interactions, and development revolved around supporting that type of service delivery.
Since then, we have also stood up another version of the chatbot to support a different stream of information and a different stream of clients with its own specific needs and requirements that differ from what would have been required from the passport project. Both are still operational, available, and continue to be supported.
Throughout the course, there have been additional requirements from simple client interaction improvements that we have recommended and seen, operator requirements and improvements that Korah Limited has worked on, specific reporting requirements that we have brought forward that they have supported, and certainly other enhancements and streamlining of the tool itself that have been brought about.
R2: The objective of the BCIP is to test various enhancements, but also to test the backend, the accessibility; the readiness of it for primetime. There was a lot of innovation in the backend that may not be apparent, but then there was also some customization of the frontend too.
For example, we did put it through accessibility, did a lot of work on areas like the code for chat specification. It works differently than a webpage, and it evolves and progresses.
R1: There were several ad hoc type requests that have come up throughout the project where specials have come up either through our service delivery needs that Korah Limited has had to respond to and provide solutions in short order.
What is the team composition?
R1: As far as meetings or interactions, I would say there are four different individuals from them during the course of this project that I’ve directly interacted with. Korah Limited has a specific team in their Toronto office that we never had interactions with, but I’m sure they helped when needs came up.
How did you come to work with Korah Limited?
R2: The way that Korah Limited works is very agile. The government direction now is really towards agile, and they fit in very nicely.
We were able to pull together a multidisciplinary team including Korah Limited to get something up and out the door fairly fast. They were also helpful because they have some expertise to share in the design of the content for the call as well. They’re technical people that are a good fit for the multidisciplinary type of government teams.
What is the status of this engagement?
R1: It started around November 2017, and it is ongoing as we speak.