What Problem Can a Virtual Advisor Solve?

July 19, 2019
4 min read
Microsoft Italia and iGenius bring the Generative AI into the world of numbers

When you call your product a solution, you have to be clear on what problem it’s solving. That takes knowledge of the market — the driving force of our VP of Product’s approach.

“To recognise the right problem, you have to do a lot of research and understand patterns across industries, not just yours, and keep your mind open to all sorts of inputs and signals”, Shy said.

His outlook is pragmatic, but he insists that “doesn’t mean you can’t be innovative at the same time”.

Our virtual advisor, Crystal, does exactly that. It makes analytics simple by putting all your data sources in one place and letting you get real-time insights from them by simply speaking. The likes ofand Enel are using it to help team members make better data-driven decisions, no matter their data science expertise.

Using machine learning, deep learning and context-based natural language processing, crystal is an innovative solution to a pertinent problem. But, what is this problem, exactly?

People struggle to get value from data

Poor data literacy — the ability to get actionable insights from data — is the second biggest internal roadblock to success for Chief Data Officers around the world, according to Gartner. By 2020, 50% of companies won’t have enough AI and data literacy skills to “achieve business value”.

This is down to how difficult it is to browse complex data sources, and make sense of them.

Shy at our Milan office

“Right now, we have this issue of there being so much information and data laying around. Some companies have been able to organise this data and lay it out in dashboards, but they still need loads of technical knowledge to explore it properly,” our VP of Product added.

How much do you understand data sources, constructs and analytical methods? Does everybody in your business — not just the data scientists — have direct access to company data and make decisions based on things like correlations and averages?

Probably not. This is what Shy calls a “gap between people and data”. People often have to waste days or weeks tackling complex BI tools or waiting for reports from analytics teams to get actionable insights.

Get people and data speaking the same language

Shy aims to “bridge this gap” with our virtual advisor, crystal — a conversational interface that integrates all your data sources, processes them rapidly and serves up real-time insights and advice in seconds. This then helps businesses make better decisions faster.

That doesn’t mean AI is taking over though.

“We need to use AI to make decisions, not AI to make decisions for us. crystal is almost like a booster for people,” Shy said.

What does this mean, exactly? Let’s look at a few use cases.

A Sales Agent’s Last-Minute Meeting

Imagine if you had an unexpected meeting with a top client with just 10 minutes to prepare. Rather than fumbling through screen-after-screen of numbers, you could just take out your phone and ask crystal. She could show you all the client’s recent orders, and, using external and internal data, guide you toward a reasonable recommendation for the client.

An Expenses Problem

Maybe you manage a team’s travel expenses, yet train or flight price increases mean you’ll max out your budget earlier than expected. crystal would let you know with a push notification then, based on things you’ve asked before, suggest areas to explore and ways to resolve the issue quickly.

A Failing Marketing Campaign

Let’s say you don’t want the click-through rate of your email campaign to fall lower than 3%. crystal would notify as soon as it does, then allow you to break down the details of the users. Maybe you see that no 18–25 year-olds opened your emails, so you ask crystal to run the same campaign on Facebook instead, targeting that age group. All of this can be done in seconds.

“A product has no meaning if it’s not giving value to people.”

“This is the value that crystal delivers — rapid and accessible analytics that let you solve problems you might not have known you had, or make decisions you didn’t know you had to make,” Shy said.

This new-found fluidity between people and data not only makes things more efficient, it can boost results, and deliver the “instant value” Shy was talking about.

It’s his mission to “find a way for AI to make our lives more productive and happier”. crystal is the first step.

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