Discourse is a conversational AI/chatbot development platform optimised for employee support. It is designed so that authors can focus on content management rather than natural language understanding, and uses database and flow-chart type tools to rapidly author content. Full analytics are provided, and an API supports any UI.
- Entity based management of information akin to database records
- Drag and drop flowcharting design of complex conversational flows
- Front-end API to interface chatbot to almost any user interface
- Back-end APIs to request and import data from other sources
- Full analytics of user conversations
- Customisable session start to promote ideas or survey users
- Customisable user survey bank to drip-feed employee survey questions
- Time based questioning for both time-of-day and onboarding sequence
- Standalone mobile app to support employees out of comms
- Integrate video and audio content for employee training and briefing
- Help employees with day to day issues, removing friction
- Support longer term resilience, well-being and career development
- Offer bite-size learning on a variety of organisation specific topics
- Support users through a library of mental well-being content
- Access from almost any PC or mobile device
- Instantly user familiar text-chat interface
- Extensive analytics to understand usage
- Develop and manage content quickly and easily ensuring relevance
- Leverage "anonymous intimacy" - people can reveal more to bots
- No need for specialist staff to maintain or grow
£0.003 to £0.006 per transaction
- Education pricing available
- Pricing document
- Skills Framework for the Information Age rate card
- Service definition document
- Terms and conditions
|Software add-on or extension||No|
|Cloud deployment model||
|Email or online ticketing support||Email or online ticketing|
|Support response times||Within the day during the week. On mondays at weekends unless urgent.|
|User can manage status and priority of support tickets||No|
|Phone support availability||9 to 5 (UK time), Monday to Friday|
|Web chat support||No|
|Onsite support||Yes, at extra cost|
Discourse has three support levels:
Bronze (Standard commercial licence)
UK Working Hours reporting
2 working day response
UK Working Hours reporting
Dedicated account manager
1 working day response
25% per annum
Dedicated account manager
2 hour response
+35% per annum
|Support available to third parties||Yes|
Onboarding and offboarding
|Getting started||There is a full Wiki that completely describes the use of the system, including all authoring and user management - including video tutorials. We provide worksheets so that authors can learn how to use the system in a self-paced manner. For learners/users tutorial exercises are provided on the key elements of the system, but most chatbots should be relatively self explanatory. Daden can provide both alongsider training during initial content creation or dedicated training sessions (typically 2-3 x 1/2 day) if required.|
|End-of-contract data extraction||All content can be exported as JSON which the client can use as they see fit. All logs are exportable as JSON or plain text.|
|End-of-contract process||At end of contract the client can take copies of their JSON content definitions as described. They can also export user logs. Accounts are then typically disabled by not deleted for at least 6 months in case the user decides to return. After 6 months the client will be given a final opportunity to return and then the account and all associated data deleted.|
Using the service
|Web browser interface||Yes|
|Application to install||No|
|Designed for use on mobile devices||Yes|
|Differences between the mobile and desktop service||Mobile is optimised for user's chat interface. Authoring is possible, but may be a challenge on a smartphone but should be OK for tablets.|
|What users can and can't do using the API||
Discourse has two API forms, front and back end.
The front-end API is a REST/JSON API which is used to pass under input to Discourse, and send the Discourse response to the user. Clients are free to implement any actual user front end, and we can provide templates for common forms such as web text chat, web avatar and speech chat, SMS, Email, Messenger, IM, Virtual Worlds etc.
The back-end APIs are used by Discourse to retrieve information from other sources. Discourse has a generic REST/JSON requester, and other APIs can be supported as part of custom-builds, and also as added to the core service.
|API documentation formats||HTML|
|API sandbox or test environment||Yes|
|Description of customisation||
All chatbot content can be customised as it is based on what data is entered.
There are some generic string templates which are used (e.g. "Their phone number is ..."), but this also become customisable.
The UI is completely user definable as at core Discourse is accessed via a REST/JSON intreface.
|Independence of resources||Discourse runs on a cloud platform provided by a reputable cloud hosting company (currently IONOS) and we regularly assess the service load and configure the cloud system accordingly. For users with high service demands we can move them to a dedicated instance still in the cloud, or to their own server.|
|Service usage metrics||Yes|
The system provides metrics on:
- How many sessions each user has had and when and which topics/intents/entities thy accessed
- How much each topic/intent/entity has been used and when
We are conscious that anonymity may be an issue in some applications and so can constrain analytics to only show aggregate data at an appropriate level, or non-sensitive user activity.
|Supplier type||Not a reseller|
|Staff security clearance||Other security clearance|
|Government security clearance||Up to Developed Vetting (DV)|
|Knowledge of data storage and processing locations||Yes|
|Data storage and processing locations||United Kingdom|
|User control over data storage and processing locations||No|
|Datacentre security standards||Supplier-defined controls|
|Penetration testing frequency||Less than once a year|
|Penetration testing approach||In-house|
|Protecting data at rest||Physical access control, complying with another standard|
|Data sanitisation process||Yes|
|Data sanitisation type||Explicit overwriting of storage before reallocation|
|Equipment disposal approach||In-house destruction process|
Data importing and exporting
|Data export approach||We support REST/JSON for data export.|
|Data export formats||
|Other data export formats||JSON|
|Data import formats||
|Other data import formats||
|Data protection between buyer and supplier networks||Legacy SSL and TLS (under version 1.2)|
|Data protection within supplier network||Legacy SSL and TLS (under version 1.2)|
Availability and resilience
Uptime excluding planned outages has a target of 99.8% annual availability.
Uptime including planned outages has a target of 99.6% annual availability.
|Approach to resilience||Reslience information is available on request. Our data centre provider features georedundant infrastructure so that data is mirrored in two data centres, and is therefore always available.|
|Outage reporting||Outages are flagged to clients by email and to users when attempting to log in to the application. There is also a service status page on the Wiki which is updated for any extended outages.|
Identity and authentication
|User authentication needed||Yes|
|User authentication||Username or password|
|Access restrictions in management interfaces and support channels||Access to live servers is restricted 2-factor authentication which requires a username and password as well as an authentication code that is obtained from an Authenticator app present on mobiles phones that are password protected and only available to 3 senior members of staff. Remote desktop requires a username and password stored and with the server only accepting connections coming from Daden’s Birmingham office.|
|Access restriction testing frequency||At least every 6 months|
|Management access authentication||2-factor authentication|
Audit information for users
|Access to user activity audit information||Users have access to real-time audit information|
|How long user audit data is stored for||At least 12 months|
|Access to supplier activity audit information||Users have access to real-time audit information|
|How long supplier audit data is stored for||At least 12 months|
|How long system logs are stored for||At least 12 months|
Standards and certifications
|ISO/IEC 27001 certification||No|
|ISO 28000:2007 certification||No|
|CSA STAR certification||No|
|Other security certifications||No|
|Named board-level person responsible for service security||Yes|
|Security governance certified||Yes|
|Security governance standards||Other|
|Other security governance standards||CyberEssentials|
|Information security policies and processes||Daden has its own internal information security policy which meets CyberEssentials requirements. Security is overseen by a Security Manager who reports directly to the Managing Director and works with the IT Manager to ensure that processes are up to date and being followed through regular review and checks.|
|Configuration and change management standard||Supplier-defined controls|
|Configuration and change management approach||Services are tracked through the use of protected documents; the format of the documents and processes for updating them are well understood by existing staff. Changes that will affect security are done in consultation with development manager who ensures that security is configured correctly.|
|Vulnerability management type||Supplier-defined controls|
|Vulnerability management approach||
A risk management review to assess potential threats and identify vulnerabilities and impacts is conducted at least bi-annually or on change or threat report.
All high-risk or critical security updates for OS, firmware and applications are installed within 14 days of receipt. This is implemented via PCs and servers set to update latest software/OS patches automatically. Other systems are updated at least weekly, one day or less for anti-virus, firewall, OS etc.
Information about potential threats including patch updates where available, are received via email alert to IT Manager from registered suppliers and public monitoring services.
|Protective monitoring type||Supplier-defined controls|
|Protective monitoring approach||
A risk management and impact review of all systems, data and relevant business processes is conducted to identify requirements for protective monitoring. This is reviewed annually for all systems or whenever an element is changed / updated.
Any potential compromise and impact is reviewed by the IT Manager and Security Manager. Actions to prevent or reduce the impact are reviewed with the MD (on weekly team meeting agenda) or sooner if required.
Incidents are reviewed within 1 working day (during office hours Monday to Friday) and respond to in a timely fashion based on the impact (severity and urgency).
|Incident management type||Supplier-defined controls|
|Incident management approach||
Common security incidents/events are reviewed with the MD as an item on the weekly team meeting agenda, or sooner if required based on the impact (severity and urgency).
Users report incidents directly to the IT Manager or Security Manager via email or verbally if appropriate. These are reviewed with the MD as an item on the weekly team meeting agenda, or sooner if required.
Incidents reports and responses are recorded on the internal Wiki system which is available to all staff
|Approach to secure software development best practice||Supplier-defined process|
Public sector networks
|Connection to public sector networks||No|
|Price||£0.003 to £0.006 per transaction|
|Discount for educational organisations||Yes|
|Free trial available||Yes|
|Description of free trial||There is a free 30 day trial to try out the authoring system and the existing public chatbots. All features are available but the trial system may not be used to deliver live support or services.|
|Link to free trial||Www.chatbots.co.uk|