Impact of virtual assistants on the Sustainable Information and Corporate Governance on a British University


Gartner’s hype cycle forms a report and annual trend curve that depicts the advancement of any new technology in the market (Kyle Maxey 2013). According to a recent report, the relationship between technology and humans has advanced to higher levels with more indications of necessitated interactions being noticed. For instance, virtual customer agents and research assistants have been seen to be more preferred to human agents due to their efficiency and conveniences. This therefore, raises the question how best technology can be applied to improve and develop a sustainable Information and Corporate Governance in institutions and departments. This year trend has among other things, depicted a three state model that includes;

  1. Augmenting humans with technology. This model increases productivity by introducing new workforce that is efficient and sustainable.
  2. Machines have addressed numerous institutional and organizational challenges by replacing human personnel with virtual assistants. These challenges include but not limited to dangerous working conditions, high personnel turnover and high cost jobs.
  3. Machines and humans working relationship has been seen to improve productivity since emotional and intelligence challenges are addressed.

Gartner’s hype cycle model therefore structures down the stages of technology adoption and the best time for the adoption of institutions and organizations. These stages include; new invention to trigger technology, the climax of inflated expectations, trench of cynicism, and rise of clarification and area of stability of efficiency.




  1. Introduction and Benefits…………………………………………….…..2
  1. Evaluation and Governance Issues…………………………………..…..4
  2. Governance strategy Proposal………………………..…………..….……6
  3. Conclusion and Recommendations………………………………………9
  4. References………………………………………………………………..10

Introduction and Benefits

Any institution will be driven by the desire to increase productivity, reduce cost of operation, increase customer satisfaction and increase efficiency when making decisions on whether to adopt a new technology or otherwise.

Gartner’s hype cycle model, in its stages of technology adoption, guides any institution on the several stages to take while adopting a new technology. However, the decision to adopt the technology or not should be based on the benefits that will arise from the said technology.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle helps in identifying new technologies investments. Hype Cycle ensure that only the commercially viable technologies are invested into. There might be numerous technologies that with bold promises, but Gartner’s Hype Cycle help in discerning the hype from what is commercially viable.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle also helps indentifying the duration to be taken for the technology to pay off. Hype cycle therefore provides representations on maturity and integration of technologies and how they are viable in solving the organization/institution/business problems and discovering new opportunities. In a nutshell, Hype Cycles shows how the adopted technology change and evolve over time thus giving a clear knowledge of how best to manage its integration within the context of the specific organizations goals.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle therefore helps us to separate hype from technology’s commercial promises real drivers, reduce technology investments decisions risks and comparison of our comprehension of a technology investments and adoption with objectivity.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle model depicts a four stages technology evolvement cycle over a period of time to maturity. These stages include; new invention to trigger technology, the climax of inflated expectations, trench of cynicism, and rise of clarification and area of stability of efficiency.

Fig. 1: The Gartner Hype Cycle

Hype Cycles have however been criticized on different accounts. Some critiques argue that it is not a cycle and that the results do not depend upon the nature of the technology implying it is not scientific in nature and also that it doesn’t show fluctuations over time in the same rate at which the technology grows.

Other critiques argues that it has no real derived benefits to the development of an emerging technology and only points out on the pre-existing states and trends.

Many scholars also have questioned the use of terms like disillusionment, enlightenment and expectations in descriptions of the Hype cycle stages and raises a serious subjective reaction in that this cannot be exhaustively and conclusively described objectively on the current state of technology. The term misleads and many technology users would not want to be disappointed and this would try to avoid and rather crucify any desire to adopt and invest new technology.

The Hype cycle seems to clearly point out so many phases, some good others worrying, but does not provide an action perspective to move to a next phase.

Adoption of virtual assistants in British Universities will give rise to new a breed of productivity levels and efficiency. Cost of operation will also reduce while students satisfaction and performance increasing. This will lead to a Sustainable Information and Corporate Governance since all the players in the University will live a satisfied component of the university.

The university management should find questions first to the following questions;

  1. Are Virtual assistants going to undergo full Hype Cycle?
  2. If we are on the cycle, in which phases are we?
  • How much time would it take for the cycle to reach maturity?
  1. How should traditional universities, and academics, respond to this progress?

If the questions find real answers that can be quantified and verified, then the management should undertake to adopt and integrate the Virtual Assistants technology to in the university.

The benefits would include;

  1. (Kyle Maxey 2013 )Creation of an effective labor for the University. Virtual assistants would help human employees have access to virtual systems respond to any type of student’s queries and give automated student information, generate any student data, carry out research on behalf of lecturers, and serve students much better. This implies that the productivity of the human capital would otherwise increase as a result of the interactions with machines.
  2. If machines replace human capital, this would therefore translate to the fact that less human workforce is engaged, less salaries are paid, improved productivity, dangerous working conditions are catered for, more efficiency and cost of doing repetitive tasks is reduced.
  3. Machines working together with humans leads to increased speed, increased productivity, rise in efficiency, ability to handle what humans alone would not handle and emotional intelligence. Virtual assistants have been proved to work alongside human workforce, for instance, (Jean Ford 1971) IBM’s WATSON, an artificially smart computer system that answers questions that are posed in a natural language more used by doctors to conduct research and diagnosis. This has proved that, mobile and virtual assistants would work alongside human capital to improve the quality of work and help in handling what would be hard for humans to handle if left alone.

In a nutshell, adoption of technology in an institution would ease information sharing, efficiency, increase productivity and thus improving and reducing the cost of governance.

Hype Cycles and depicts a picture of the relative maturity of technologies, IT methodologies and management disciplines. They point out overhyped areas, average technologies maturity duration, and help institutions decide when and how to adopt.

Therefore, British universities should consider adopting Virtual assistants in their institutions for a Sustainable Information and Corporate Governance.


Evaluation of Governance Issues

Gartner’s hype cycle model breaks down the stages of technology adoption and the best time for the adoption by institutions. These stages include; new invention to trigger technology, the climax of inflated expectations, trench of cynicism, and rise of clarification and area of stability of efficiency.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle would help the management to by creating awareness of an emerging technology just about to be adopted within the universities’ contexts and the risk behaviour of the top management. The management would be fully aware that risky investment would not always payoff and thus combining risky investments with risk taking would not always be beneficial but still decide to make an early reap of the rewards generated. Management would also find it important to carry out a cost-benefit analysis as opposed to taking risk and doing things that are not fully proven. Management should also consider the answers from the analysis. If there are too many unanswered questions, then the management could decide to wait until others have invested in the technology and have proved to have generated tangible value.

The university management may decide to adopt Virtual Assistants in the university to increase efficiency and performance. However, the university may be faced with a number of governance challenges which may range from ethical issues to risks.

Before making a decision to embrace the new technology, the management should among other things carry out a SWOT analysis of the new technology. The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and time to adopt should be clearly spelt out.

Embracing a new technology would start with innovation to trigger the adoption of the technology. The management should seal all the ethics issues involved that may make the new technology not to be accepted by the university players. Students should be ready to embrace it as well as the human capital. At times human workforce refuses to embrace a new invention in an organization. However, sensitization and training should be carried out to ensure the players feel part of the decision.

Management may also be faced with a hard time to convince human capital in the event that the adoption of the Virtual assistants would replace some of the human workforce. Labor unions have been seen globally to reject any attempt to lay off human workforce to in quest of adopting technology leading to compliance concerns. The management should try to relocate or redeploy the affected workforce in other departments. Redeployment of the affected human workforce would otherwise imply more training costs on the redeployed workforce in order to fit in the new departments.

Efficiency and performance would increase as a result of new technology. However, several risks are involved. The human-technology agents’ relationship would pose a major challenge of incompatibility that would lead to poor quality output. It may be hard for some human workforce to work with the virtual assistants. This may be as a result of beliefs, fear or incompetence to handle the machines. This would definitely result in low quality of the output or even decreased performance.

Students may also find it difficult to get satisfactory training especially where robots and virtual assistant are used to replace class lecturers. This would be because of a simple reason that students would not have a chance to ask questions and earning would be more of a passive than active. This would lead to a crisis between the management and the unsatisfied students.

However, these risks can be addressed through involvement in the decision making, forums and discussion with all the university stakeholders and players to ensure there is goodwill, compliance and acceptance of the new development. Proper training and security measures should be adopted to ensure the security of the information especially where virtual assistants have to generate student data. For instance, security of student’s examination systems should be of high quality to ensure that no hacking and manipulation is done.

Governance Strategy Proposal

The existence or fear of the emergence of new challenges and risks should not form a basis of failure to adopt a new technology. Proper strategies should be spelt out to ensure the new innovation leads to the attainment of the benefits and forms solutions to the challenges.

British Universities should adopt virtual assistants in their institutions. This would lead to increased performance, high productivity of human workforce, increased efficiency and reduced cost of operation.

The management needs to develop a strategic framework that would help introduce effect and evaluate the performance of the assistants with little cost. The framework should include the following stages;

  1. The management should carry out a cost-benefit analysis that would evaluate the profitability of the new adoption. It should be beneficial for the University to embrace any new technology. The management should consider being risk takers in order to ready to take the risk of the new adoption.
  2. Involvement of all the participants in the University should be paramount. Every party should be represented in the decision making to ensure that the acceptance and compliance risk is solved. This would result to full acceptance of the adoption, support and goodwill.
  3. The management at this stage would now be free to introduce a new invention that would see the university form as the basis to trigger adoption. For instance, engineering students would be introduced to virtual assistant lecturers. This would form the basis of testing the new technology. This assumes that engineering students have basic education on the technology.
  4. Secondly, I would recommend that the management takes into account the new developments. Early publicity depicts a lot of success ideas and stories which are accompanied by failures. It would be wrong for the management not to take action. Management should therefore keep a record and take necessary measures. For instance, use of virtual assistants in research would be a great idea but at some instances it may result to fear of retrenchments and this would make personnel not to fully cooperate in the integration process. The management should therefore carry out sensitization and informative education to its personnel.
  5. There would follow a trench of cynicism where the high expectations conflicts with reality. Panic and emotional challenges may arise. At this point the management should invest in sensitization and training to ensure that the parties’ remains encouraged. More workshops and engagements should be carried out to ensure the morale and zeal remains charged. Some human capital would feel challenged and replaced in action by the virtual assistants. Management should however move in to assure them of their jobs and train them.
  6. A rise of clarification on the new technology would now see the university performance start to increase. Every player would feel catered for by the management efforts to involve everyone. At this stage, identification of possible risks and challenges should be carried out. This would help to ensure the new technology does not fail the last minute. It’s worth noting, at this stage, the technology will have already received some acceptance but not enough to leave it to the subordinates.
  7. Area of stability of efficiency is the last stage of any technology adoption according to Gartner’s hype cycle model. At this level the technology is fully functional and the University at this stage would be reaping benefits from the new technology. There would be increased efficiency, performance and smooth running of the university operations. The management at this level should carry our evaluation test to check the applicability of the new technology and its effectiveness.

To ensure smooth cycle the management would be bound to design a Virtual assistant’s adoption and investments hype cycle projection similar to this.

Fig. 2: A projection of the Hype Cycle for Virtual assistants

The above proposal would be suitable for any technology adoption to ensure its efficiency, effectiveness and applicability in any form of institution. Collective participation forms the basis of the strategy to ensure the effectiveness of the technology.

Conclusion and Recommendations

As proposed in the Gartner’s hype cycle model, new technology would bring efficiency and high productivity in the business. However a proper cost-benefit analysis should be conducted before any such decision is reached at. All the players in a business and institution should collectively be involved in the decision making to ensure goodwill and acceptance of the adoption.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle therefore helps us to separate hype from technology’s commercial promises real drivers, reduce technology investments decisions risks and comparison of our comprehension of a technology investments and adoption with objectivity.

Adopting a new technology and innovation in a University setup can be extremely difficult. Research virtual assistants that already exist, for instance, (Jean Ford 1971) IBM’s WATSON and are already facing their difficulties would form the basis of adopting new technology. They would for a case study for the new invention.

Use of Gartner’s hype cycle model can anticipate changes in the university environment and growth trends and thus help in making necessary changes that would lead to a Sustainable Information and Corporate Governance on a British University.



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Flew, Terry (2008). New Media: An Introduction (3rd ed.). South Melbourne: OUP Australia and New Zealand. ISBN (10) 0195551494, (13) 978-0195551495

Dyson, Esther (1997). Release 2.0: A Design For Living In The Digital Age (1st ed.). New York: Broadway Books.

Aranda, Jorge (October 22, 2006). “Cheap shots at the Gartner Hype Curve”. Retrieved 2013-10-30

Weinberg, Gerald; et al (September 5, 2003). HypeCycle. AYE Conference. Retrieved 2013-10-30




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