Pocket Buddy resolves OCBC’s HR queries


OCBC Bank is putting HR in the pockets of its employees with a mobile app and chatbot integrated with the bank’s human resources information system.

Singaporean bank Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) has come up with an innovative chatbot and HR mobile app solution that solves HR related queries of its employees. The app is connected to the human resource information system of the bank.

The chatbot, called Buddy, enables employees to ask HR-related questions based on their profiles. They get accurate answers to questions like ‘how much holiday do I have outstanding?’ and ‘what happened to my expense claim?’.
Employees can use the app to track and submit expense reimbursement claims, apply for holidays, receive notifications on internal job postings and access the employee directory.

Buddy is like Apple’s virtual PA ‘Siri’, which has human-like qualities.  Like humans, it can converse and has natural language processing capabilities. It can interpret the questions asked and can answer them in simple English.

A team of five members developed the app and the integrated chatbot in two months. They used agile methods to develop it, in coordination with the HR department and feedback from the staff.

According to Jason Ho, head, Human Resources at OCBC Bank, OCBC already has well developed, innovative and useful apps for its customers. The company wanted to leverage its digital capabilities and technological expertise to develop apps to solve the simple issues of its employees, too. Everyone uses mobile phones and so having an HR app was just an addition to the modern lifestyle, Jason adds.
Currently the HR mobile app is available for iOS devices only, and accessible via biometric touch ID. Work is already on for an Android version of the app.

Later, Buddy will be integrated with the learning management system of the bank. This will help the employees to view and apply for different educational courses through their mobiles.

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