Everyone is looking for ways to develop their skills and abilities. By building up our skills, we become more capable. We use tools and rely on the help of others to better ourselves. To a certain extent, software is quite similar: it needs tools and people to become more capable and to be able to do new things.

As part of the evolution towards the conversational user experience, SAP is introducing SAP CoPilot Skill Builder for SAP S/4 HANA on premise. SAP CoPilot Skill Builder helps developers to create additional skills for SAP CoPilot so that users can more naturally interact with SAP CoPilot.

Let’s look at a few concepts behind the SAP CoPilot Skill Builder in detail.

What’s an intent?

When we talk to others, there’s always a reason for what we’re saying – a purpose, or, in other words, an intent. Sometimes, we speak to someone to have that someone do something for us. In a store, for example, you might ask the sales assistant to show you a specific product, like a shirt. Thus, an intent might be: show me shirts that are blue and medium.

In Skill Builder terms, an intent is no different. The user input has a purpose or intent behind it, and there is an expected or anticipated outcome; the user expects some sort of response. In our example, “show me shirts that are blue and medium,” you’d of course expect the sales assistant to get you medium, blue shirts and not large, green coats.

Intents correspond to an action, like a CRUQ operation (create, read, update, and query), business object (for example, Product), and maybe a couple of parameters (such as, size and color).

Example of elements in an SAP CoPilot Skill Builder intent

What’s a skill?

A skill is a way that you can put your intents together that makes sense from a domain, application, or business-content point of view. For example, in a skill about managing products, you could put together intents like create products, show products, update products, and so on. You can think of a skill as similar to an SAP Fiori app in terms of scope.

What’s involved in building intents and skills?

SAP CoPilot Skill Builder helps you to create intents and skills based on entities from an available OData service. You would consider which entities might correspond to the input of end users. In our example, you would probably need not only the main product category, such as clothing, but also sub-categories, like shirts. The end user wants a specific color, size, but might also want to know if it’s available and maybe the price. It might also be nice to display an image of the product, too. You would then select these parameters.

Once you’ve got all relevant intents, you put them in a skill and build it. During build, SAP CoPilot creates internal dictionaries that help it identify words from a sentence as potential values for a particular entity or to recognize the entire intent. If the build is successful, you can test your skill in the SAP CoPilot UI in the development environment right away.

With the help of SAP CoPilot Skill Builder, you can help SAP CoPilot build up its skills to speak end-user better.

Many thanks to Rahul Choudhary, SAP Design area product owner, and Jim Edenstrom, User Experience Content Strategist, for reviewing and editing this nugget. 

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