Business goals are targets or outcomes that a business wants to achieve in the short or long term,* and every company needs them. Business goals can vary widely, for instance a business goal can be to increase revenue, or to become a thought leader in your space. The product or service use cases must fit in with the business goals, and the business goals must be reflected in the use case.
For instance, if a company's primary short term goal is to maximize profits, then the cost associated with developing a use case is a top consideration. If implementing a certain use case will boost the company's position as a thought leader, but be too costly, and hence risks profit maximizing, then a decision to implement must be reconsidered.
Setting business goals for conversational AI, especially longer term goals, is not easy. The industry is not very mature yet, and this results in lack of understanding of skill sets, tools and time needed.
Once business goals are set, there has to be a way to measure progress and success against the goals. A number of aspects of measuring need to be defined: what to measure (e.g. business KPIs, user satisfaction/adoption, ...), how to measure it (e.g. numbers, rating scales, ...), and the threshold for defining success (e.g. x percent, or a change of y percent, ...). Defining meaningful metrics and realistic threshold goals can be tricky and more than just the business goals need to be taken into account. This requires participation from different parties across the organization.
A conversation designer needs to be aware of business goals. Many will argue that user needs are the priority of a conversation designer. That said, business needs have to be considered, and where user and business needs oppose each other for a design solution, thought and discussion are important. There are aspects of design where business needs can be addressed without impact to the user. For instance, items in a list may all be of equal importance or logical order for a user, but one item may be more important than another for the business, and can be prioritized.
Setting business goals gives an organization and team members targets to strive towards. Without goals, a business doesn't have a clear sense of direction and this could limit a company's success.
In short, business goals provide clarity and a common goal, inform decision making, keep teams accountable, and allow progress to be measured.
Another reason why business goals are essential is that they help inform decision-making. When you have a goal, your decisions will be geared toward achieving said goal. That way, you don’t even bother taking specific actions since they don’t align with your business goals.
Define metrics at the start of the project, so that they can be tracked right away.
Defining common business goals can be achieved through collaboration and workshops with the relevant parties. It can also include stakeholder interviews that inform decisions made by a smaller collaborative team.
Cross-organizational workshops are a good way to define the appropriate number of metrics that are meaningful and comprehensive. Good practice around collecting and interpreting metrics must be owned by a team or person to ensure that metrics
LLMs as a brainstorm partner. Some organizations do not have a mature corporate data-driven environment yet. It may be helpful to explore what metrics could be collected to use as input to workshops.
LLMs can help discover public benchmarking metrics, although an internet search may be a better alternative, since a search provides links to sources with details.
LLMs can provide ideas for visualization of metrics; this is important because metrics generally make it up to the executive level.
Defining metrics that are right for your organization is a very specific activity. LLMs and internet search can help with exploration, but they will need to be customized in order to be meaningful in a specific organization.