The 2020 pandemic has acted as a stark innovation accelerator, as companies had to scramble to adapt to remote work, and the challenges it brought into light.

When CEO Satya Nadella presented Microsoft’s quarterly earnings to Wall Street at the end of April 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, he said he had witnessed “two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months: from remote teamwork and learning, to sales and customer service, to critical cloud infrastructure”.

As a company headquartered in Milan, Italy—one of the areas that was first and worst affected by the Covid-19 outbreak—we realized early in the fight against the virus that it would change the way we work, learn and, unfortunately, interact and socialize, for good.

Here are some of the innovation challenges we have worked with our clients to tackle, and the lessons we learned along the way.

Mobility

When it comes to business intelligence, the issue of having data at one’s fingertips is not new. Even before working from home became the new normal, companies struggled to ensure that employees who used to be away from the office a lot—sales reps, for example—had fast access to important business data whilst on-the-go.

As one of our clients pointed out, their salesforce knew where the data was, and would refer to it regularly. Unfortunately, however, they ended up spending a good chunk of their time sifting through it and analyzing it—time they could have spent to chase better results in their day-to-day activities.

The need to access business data on-the-go—or whilst at home these days—rose exponentially as lockdowns were imposed and employees stopped going to the office.

Our AI advisor for data intelligence, crystal, was designed with remote work in mind. We like to think of it as a compact data center that you can carry in your pocket and query anytime, anywhere.

Democratization

Even when data is accessible fast and from anywhere, it is of no use if the person at the receiving end of it is unable to turn it into actions or decisions that can truly impact a business. Whether in the form of a graph, a dashboard, or a spreadsheet, data can be complex to digest and interpret. Analysts at Gartner argue that data is nothing short of an idiom in itself, and that the ability to “speak data”is progressively becoming an integral aspect of most day-to-day jobs. Nevertheless, data literacy skills are still hard to come by.

This is another core element of our AI advisor—we like to say that crystal democratizes data. Thanks to conversational AI, rather than spending time sifting through graphs,

spreadsheets or dashboards, you can just ask crystal a question and get the answers you need, in seconds. The best part is that you don’t need to “speak data”—your natural language will do.

Sustainability

It didn’t take a global pandemic to put the spotlight on sustainability. As a scaleup, we know we are expected to deliver responsible innovation, but we also know that innovation comes at a cost both in terms of resources and environmental impact. We believe that AI should be sustainable by design, from conception to delivery.

Sustainability is also at the foundation of our product. Sustainable AI means essentially three things to us: reduced consumption of energy and technical resources, accessibility, and reduced computing power.

Fancy Early Access?

After consolidating crystal in Europe, working with Fortune 500 clients, we are going SaaS and launching on the US market. If you are interested in testing an early version of it, visit crystal.ai and click on Early Access: we’ll get you set up and ready to talk to your data!

About iGenius

iGenius is the scaleup on a mission to reimagine data interaction for businesses.

Our vision is to disrupt the B2B data industry by bringing a consumer approach to it.

At iGenius, we envision a world where everyone has access to better data intelligence.

Our product adds direction to data-driven decisions and lets any team extract value from their business data seamlessly, regardless of analytics training.

Founded in 2016 by Uljan Sharka, iGenius was mentioned as one of Europe’s top 100 SaaS companies, and one of nine top names in data & analytics, by venture capital firm Accel. With offices in Italy, the USA, the UK and Switzerland, and some of the biggest Fortune 500 companies already using crystal, iGenius is a high-growth scaleup that thinks like an enterprise, where talented innovators can thrive and people come first.

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