One of the challenges at Jikei Gakuen is the many regular inquiries asked by current students, such as questions about graduation determination and tuition fees. Their staff needed to respond to these basic questions, wasting time and killing productivity.
Working with IBM Business Partner JBCC, Brain Staff Consultants built “Yurayura”, an AI chatbot in the cloud that responds to various inquiries from students with effectiveness, saving time for both the students and staff as well.
Improvedstudent experience and service
Chatbotcan be used 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
Increasedproductivity for school staff
Business challenge story
Streamlining Student Communication
Brain Staff Consultants (BSC) provides outsourcing support for the construction, operation and management of Jikei Gakuen (Jikei School). Jikei Gakuen is a college group that operates 70 educational institutions nationwide, including vocational schools, technical colleges and graduate universities. To meet the needs of the Jikei Gakuen Group, BSC has improved their technical capabilities while incorporating the latest technologies. Many of the services provided by BSC have been adopted by the Jikei Gakuen Group.
One of the challenges at Jikei Gakuen is the many basic inquiries from students such as questions around graduation determination and tuition fees. Time was being wasted by staff who had to answer basic questions again and again. Jikei Gakuen Group needed a solution to streamline student communication and avoid wasted time by staff. They started to think about how new technologies could be utilized.
In recent years, AI has attracted attention from BSC as a solution to solve business challenges for Jikei Gakuen. There are many organizations utilizing chatbots for improved customer service, and a solution was proposed for Jikei Gakuen. A chatbot can answer frequently asked questions by users with high accuracy and provide document search results as well. It can also respond to a wide range of questions.
BSC started to look at how to develop an AI chatbot solution for Jikei Gakuen. They partnered with JBCC, an IBM Business Partner. BSC and JBCC have been working together for more than 25 years with Jikei Gakuen. This would streamline communication with students and improve productivity for staff. The cloud could be utilized for AI, and on-prem data from their IBM i environment could form the basis for questions and answers. BSC teamed with an IBM Business Partner to get started.
Utilizing AI for Improved Efficiency
Working with IBM Business Partner JBCC, Brain Staff Consultants built “Yurayura”, an AI chatbot in the cloud that responds to various inquiries from students. Mr. Asanuma, Chief Executive Officer of Brain Staff Consultants, picks up the story. “Previously, the Jikei Gakuen Group had each school build and operate their own core system, but we felt that the distributed system had poor management and operational efficiency. So we decided to integrate those systems into one centrally located IBM i on Power Systems environment.”
“Based on this core IBM i and Power Systems environment, we decided to introduce a cloud AI chatbot, a solution that utilizes the latest AI technology. It was a very efficient and effective construction that could integrate existing systems with the latest solutions.” The chatbot is connected to the IBM Cloud to utilize Watson from their IBM i and Power Systems environment. The data to train the chatbot for responses is stored in their Db2 for i database.
“Yurayura”, as the chatbot is called, responds to various inquiries from students. It has been developed as a core system of the Jikei Gakuen Group. The original question set uses the information accumulated so far. We assumed the answers would fluctuate before the development, but when we actually developed it, the replies were higher than expected.”
Mr. Asanuma continues the story, “Yurayura is still learning, and BSC staff has added new information to questions that could originally not be answered. Repeating this work continues to improve the accuracy of responses. Yurayura is more accurate the more it is used. Therefore, in order to have many people use it, we have adopted an easy-to-use web interface.”
Improving the Student Experience
“It is popular with our users” says Mr. Asanuma. “BSC is also developing a library collection search system using the chatbot. There are more than 200,000 books in the Jikei Gakuen Group, but searching for books is not easy. We are trying to achieve a simple search using AI.”
The chatbot has improved the student experience and increased productivity of staff for Jikei Gakuen. It has an adopted web interface, meaning it can be utilized from desktop or mobile device with a user-friendly UI and UX. The chatbot can also be used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This is critical for the student experience of getting help when needed.
The Jikei Gakuen Group is already thinking about how else AI can be used to improve their organization and the educational experience for students. They are developing AI education curriculum for students which will give them an opportunity to work with IBM Watson hands-on. This will give their students an advantage when entering the workforce. Students will have AI experience needed with many tech jobs of today.
With the new chatbot, AI has been used mainly for inquires by current students, but Jikei Gakuen is also preparing a solution for responding to inquiries by potential future students as well. An external chatbot could help onboard new students faster or increase attention from prospective students by answering questions in a timely manner. This will help increase interest in their universities by potential students. BSC and Jikei Gakuen are excited to continue to innovate for their organization with AI and IBM i.
About Brain Staff Consultants
Brain Staff Consultants (BSC) provides outsourcing support for the construction, operation and management of educational institutes. One of the institutes is Jikei Gakuen (Jikei School). Jikei Gakuen is a college group that operates 70 educational institutions nationwide, including vocational schools, technical colleges and graduate universities. The group was established in 1987. They have brought approximately 6,348 graduates of international students into many professional industries.
Take the next step
To learn more about IBM Power Systems, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit https://www.ibm.com/it-infrastructure/power
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