ANT Internship: Beyond Coding Boundaries

Hello, I’m Tiban Razvan, a student at Babes Boyali University, studying computer science in German. Unlike some of my colleagues, I didn’t find coding all that exciting. It felt boring and monotonous. But I wanted to see if there was more to the world of IT, something beyond just writing code. That’s why I decided to join an internship, at ANT.

Back then, I had some free time and a curiosity about IT. Instead of sitting around, I thought, “Why not try and learn something new?” So, I signed up for this internship to learn, explore, and discover what IT had to offer beyond those code lines.

In this story, I’ll share what I learned and how my view of the IT industry changed during my time at ANT. This internship wasn’t just a job; it was an eye-opening adventure that showed me that IT is more than just coding. It’s a world full of surprises and opportunities.

At first, I struggled to understand everything, but as the days went on, things started to make more sense, and my journey into the IT world began to take shape.

The project

Our main task was to create a chatbot that could fetch information from Salesforce, with the assistance of Jitterbit. For the chatbot, we used SAP Converstional AI. It was like putting together different pieces of a project to make it work.

  • Salesforce contains the products with the information that needs to be retrieved.
  • Jitterbit has here the role of the service that retrieves data with help from an API.
  • SAP Conversation AI has just the role of an interface where the user can write.

Intro to Jitterbit

Vio set me on a path to learn about Jitterbit, the platform we used. In the beginning, it felt a bit challenging, and my colleague Radu and I bombarded Vio with questions.

The first week mainly involved watching tutorials on Jitterbit and trying to wrap our heads around how the platform functioned. It was a bit like trying to solve a puzzle.

Jitterbit is an integration platform that facilitates the connection and communication between different software applications, databases, and systems. It is designed to streamline data and process integration, making it easier for businesses to share information and automate tasks across their various software systems.

Here are 3 solutions proposed by Jitterbit

Predefined Connectors:

Jitterbit simplifies integration challenges by offering a wide range of predefined connectors. These connectors act as pre-built bridges between different software applications, databases, and systems. They eliminate the need for complex custom coding and enable organizations to quickly and effortlessly establish connections, ensuring smooth data exchange and process automation between various platforms.

Low Code Programming Interface:

Jitterbit provides a low-code programming interface that empowers users with varying technical backgrounds to create custom integrations and workflows with ease. This user-friendly interface allows for drag-and-drop functionality and visual design, significantly reducing the reliance on extensive coding skills. This democratizes integration development, enabling a broader range of team members to contribute to and accelerate integration projects.

API Management:

Jitterbit offers robust API management capabilities, enabling organizations to efficiently control, secure, and monitor their APIs. With this feature, organizations can define access policies, track API usage, and ensure data security. It helps businesses expose their services to external partners or customers while maintaining control over how these services are accessed and used, enhancing overall data security and governance.

Intro to SAP Conversational AI

At the end of the first week, on Friday, we had a retrospective call. During this call, I met Sorin and Cosmin, two great guys. Cosmin specialized SAP, while Sorin specialized in Salesforce. Vio continued to guide us through Jitterbit.

During the second week, we teamed up with Cosmin to dive into SAP Converstional AI. Fortunately, this part was relatively smooth sailing because the platform was quite user-friendly.

SAP Conversational AI is a platform that allows businesses to create chatbots and conversational interfaces. It enables natural language interactions between users and applications, enhancing customer service, automating tasks, and providing a more intuitive user experience.

Sap Conversational AI can solve the following problems:

  • Customer Service by improving customer engagement offering 24/7 support and quick responses to inquiries.
  • Automates routine tasks, reducing manual effort and increasing efficiency.
  • Rises up the user experience by adding a user-friendly chatbot

By the end of that week, I managed to create my very first chatbot interface. I felt proud of what I had achieved.

Implementing the solution

However, I soon realized that the real challenge lay ahead. The following week was all about implementation, and let me tell you, it was a super tough and stressful phase.

Initially, creating an API from Jitterbit proved to be a challenging task. We were stumped and didn’t quite know how to go about it. The tutorials weren’t covering the part that we needed and we were supposed to learn and try without a concrete direction. Thankfully, Vio, Cosmin, and Sorin helped us. They managed to show us some examples and give us some of their thoughts regarding how the chatbot should be made.

The main struggle was how we could connect the API to SAP Conversational AI. We tackled this and other issues during our team calls, seeking solutions and learning from our mistakes.

Finally, on a Thursday our bot came to life, functioning as intended. It was a moment of triumph after days of persistence and problem-solving.

The final solution implemented the following use cases:

  • Users had the capability to retrieve information about a product directly from Salesforce. This allowed them to access detailed product data effortlessly.
  • Another useful feature was the ability to inquire about the status of a quote within Salesforce. This meant that users could easily check the progress of a sales quote.

To make SAP Conversational AI respond appropriately, we had to set up a special trigger. This trigger was designed to recognize specific keywords or actions that we had defined earlier. When the user mentioned these keywords or performed those actions, it signaled the system to initiate a request.

This request then traveled through the Jitterbit workflow, using the Jitterbit Managed API as the intermediary. Think of Jitterbit as the bridge between SAP Conversational AI and Salesforce. Once we set up the connection, Jitterbit gained the ability to access data stored in Salesforce.

When Salesforce provided a response, it came in a structured format called JSON. JSON is a way to organize data for computers to understand. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we couldn’t make this response look more user-friendly. In other words, the information from Salesforce was there, but it might not have been as easy for regular users to read and understand without further formatting.

And the results were shown to the final user ….

Final thoughts

In retrospect, my internship experience at ANT was remarkable. The challenges I encountered, and the knowledge I gained, were great experiences. Now I understand much better what integration is and how a process that retrieves online data works.

The people at ANT were not just colleagues; they were welcoming mentors. They made this experience much more enjoyable.

As I reflect on the great memories I’ve collected, I can’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment. From struggling with Jitterbit to witnessing our chatbot come to life, every moment was a valuable lesson in perseverance and teamwork.

I highly recommend this internship to anyone seeking to extend their horizons in the world of IT. It’s an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, learn, and grow in an environment where your efforts are genuinely valued.

And, as I look to the future, I hope to cross paths with my mentors and colleagues from ANT again in the next internship.