Amazon Alexa: Add skills to Alexa for Business


Alexa skills powered by Cognigy.AI can be deployed to Amazon Alexa for Business (A4B).

This tutorial covers the necessary steps for adding your Cognigy.AI powered Alexa Skills to an instance of Amazon Alexa for Business. For information about deploying an Alexa Skill with Cogngiy.AI , see the earlier articles listed above.

Using Amazon Alexa for Business outside of North America

Amazon Alexa for Business is currently only available to deploy in a North American region. However, you can still use Amazon Alexa for Business from outside of North America by having your account whitelisted. Please contact Amazon support to discuss account whitelisting.

Note: After your account is whitelisted, new rooms must be created for the whitelisting to take effect.


This guide assumes you have the following already setup:

*Any custom Alexa Skill must pass a certification process before it can be published. See the Amazon Alexa Documentation for more info.

Three Step Preparation Process

  1. Get your Alexa for Business IAM ARN in Amazon Alexa for Business
  2. Add Skill Access for your A4B Organization in the Amazon Developer Portal
  3. Deploy your skill in Amazon Alexa for Business

1. Retrieve your Amazon Alexa for Business IAM ARN

πŸ”— in Amazon Alexa for Business

βœ” Access to your Amazon for Business (A4B) portal

1.1 Find your IAM ARN

In order to connect an Alexa skill to an A4B instance, you must use the IAM ARN which is a unique identification string. This token allows your Alexa skills to know which A4B instance is yours and provides approval to deploy there. 

To access and retrieve your IAM ARN login to your A4B portal and from the left menu, click on Skills under the Resources sub menu. Select the Private skills and then Show IAM ARN to reveal your unique identifier. 


Figure 1.1.1: The Alexa for Business Private Skills Menu

Copy this string for use in a later step.


Figure 1.1.2: The IAM ARN path in A4B (example)

2. Add Skill Access for your Amazon Alexa for Business Organization

πŸ”— in Amazon Alexa Developer Console

βœ” Amazon Developer Account
βœ” Alexa Skill

2.1 Ensure your skill is live

Open the Amazon Alexa Developer Console. From the console, your list of production and development skills will be available under the Skills tab. To deploy a skill to A4B, your skill must be in production and therefore showing live in the status column.


Figure 2.1.1: Alexa Skills Developer Console showing a live skill and a development version of the same skill

If your skill does not show that it is live, it means your skill requires the certification. Find out more about skill certification in the Amazon Alexa Documentation.  

2.2 Provide the IAM ARN to your Alexa Skill

For the Live skill that your want to deploy to A4B, select Manage Access from the dropdown menu in the Actions column. 


Figure 2.2.1: Alexa Skills Actions dropdown menu

This will take you to the Availability section of the Distribution tab inside the skill development console. Here you can add the IAM ARN path that was retrieved from A4B earlier. 


Figure 2.2.2: Adding the IAM ARN in the Alexa skills developer console

Once you have added your IAM ARN, click Add and then Save. This is all that is required in the Alexa Development Console as your skill can now be accessed in A4B.

3. Deploy your Skill in Amazon Alexa for Business

πŸ”— in Amazon Alexa for Business

βœ” Access to your Amazon for Business (A4B) portal

3.1 Review and Enable your new A4B skill

Each time a skill is added to A4B it must be enabled by the organization administrators. This can be done from the Skills menu found under Resources in the list menu on the left of the screen. Select the Private Skills tab to view all privately developed skills that have been granted access with your organization's IAM ARN.


Figure 3.1.1: Accessing your private skills in A4B

Click on the Review button for your Alexa skill which will activate a pop-up menu showing a summary of the skill's abilities and invocation phrases. If your skill requires access to user data, this will also be visible in this summary.


Figure 3.1.2: The review menu for a skill in A4B

Click Enable from this menu to approve the skill for use in your A4B organization. Visit the Amazon Alexa Documentation for more information about managing skills in A4B.

3.2 Deploy a skill group

The final step to deploying your skill in A4B and making it invoke-able on your devices is to deploy a skills group. An A4B skills group (similar to the concept of user access groups) contains a list of enabled Alexa skills that can be deployed to an A4B room as a group. Access the skill group menu from the Configuration sub-menu in the list on the left of the screen. You can either create a new skill group or add your skill to an existing skill group (skip to 3.3 if you already have a skill group).

To add a new skill group, click the orange Create skill group button in the top right of the screen.


Figure 3.2.1: The skill groups menu in A4B

A pop-up menu will appear where you must give a name and an optional description of the group. Once you have completed these fields, click Create.


Figure 3.2.2: Creating a new Skill Group in A4B

3.3 Edit a skill group

Edit your skill group by clicking the name of the group from the skill groups menu. This will open the skill group configuration menu where you have the option to add skills and add rooms to the group.


Figure 3.2.3: Configuring a skill group in A4B

To add your skill to the group, click the add skills button. Tick your enabled skill in the list and select Add. If your skill does not appear it means the skill has not been successfully enabled for your organization (see 3.1 Review and Enable your new A4B skill)


Figure 3.2.3: Configuring a skill group in A4B

The final step to enabling your skill on your A4B devices is to add a room to your skill group. Select Add to Room from the Skill group configuration menu. Tick your A4B room in the list and select Add. If there are no rooms available, you will need to create a new room (see the Amazon Alexa Documentation for more information about managing rooms). 


Figure 3.2.3: Configuring a skill group in A4B

Once you have successfully added your skill and selected rooms to the skill group, you should be able to see them listed in the skill group configuration menu.


Figure 3.2.3: Configuring a skill group in A4B

Congratulations! You have successfully deployed your Cognigy.AI powered Alexa Skill to Amazon Alexa for Business. You can now invoke the skill on any of the devices linked to the rooms that you added to the skill group.  (For more information about managing devices, see the Amazon Alexa Documentation).

You can also check which skills are deployed to each room by navigating to the Rooms menu found under the Resources sub-menu in the list on the left of the screen. Here you can select one of your rooms and see all individual Alexa skills that are available in this room based on the skill groups that the room has access to.



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