Steve Frederickson, Lucy.ai: How AI powers a next-gen ‘answer engine’


In an interview at AI & Big Data Expo with Steve Frederickson, Chief Product Officer at Lucy.ai, we gained valuable insights into how AI is powering a next-gen “answer engine” for enterprises.

Lucy is designed to unlock and harness the vast knowledge residing within a company’s data repositories, regardless of format or source. From SharePoint and Google Drive to Dropbox and third-party tools, Lucy can seamlessly search and connect with all types of content, facilitating efficient knowledge retrieval for employees.

“Lucy 4, our latest version, is very exciting for us. We went through a significant development phase, incorporating feedback from customers who used Lucy 3. We re-envisioned what knowledge discovery means for large companies,” says Frederickson.

The team went back to the basics of what an answer engine should be, prioritising the content itself and the individuals who created it. The ultimate aim was to foster new connections and opportunities for collaboration within the enterprise, breaking down silos and facilitating knowledge-sharing across departments.

When measuring success, Lucy.ai focuses not only on engagement metrics but also on the tangible impact it has on saving employees’ time.

Through interviews with customers, Frederickson has received feedback emphasising how Lucy has become a time-saving tool within their organisations. One notable outcome has been the breaking down of data silos between different departments and fostering a sense of unity and cooperation across the company.

The rise of remote work, particularly in a post-pandemic world, has further amplified the need for knowledge-surfacing solutions like Lucy.

As employees continue to work remotely, maintaining a connection with their company’s knowledge base and colleagues becomes crucial. Frederickson highlighted that employees often resort to reaching out to co-workers directly for information, bypassing the need for traditional search methods.

To address this challenge, the company developed Lucy Synopsis, a feature that allows users to interact with Lucy as if they were conversing with a co-worker on platforms like Microsoft Teams. By asking Lucy questions in a conversational manner, employees can receive precise answers and even have relevant content presented in an easily understandable format.

While surfacing information is essential, not all data within a company should be readily accessible to everyone.

Frederickson addressed this concern by highlighting the robust access controls provided by Lucy. These controls encompass both role-based and attribute-based access, tailored to fit the specific taxonomy and security requirements of each organisation. By aligning with a company’s access levels, Lucy can provide users with answers based on their permissions, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive information.

In a market with several answer-surfacing solutions, Lucy aims to stand out by adopting a holistic approach to the search process.

The company redefines search as a comprehensive journey, extending beyond the initial question to encompass the entire knowledge cycle.

“We consider search as an end-to-end journey that goes beyond finding a document. Users may need to identify specific pages, contact document authors for clarification, or contribute contextual information for future reference,” explains Frederickson.

Lucy recognises the importance of these extended interactions and strives to facilitate them seamlessly within their platform. Furthermore, Lucy AI excels at connecting with various data sources, not limited to internal repositories but also integrating with third-party tools like Confluence and ServiceNow. This versatility allows companies to leverage their existing knowledge repositories while making information accessible through Lucy’s unified interface.

As an agile startup, Lucy.ai embraces the fast-paced nature of the industry. Frederickson emphasised that maintaining a set of core principles is essential to the company’s success.

Empowering individuals with knowledge lies at the heart of Lucy.ai’s mission, and they constantly explore how new tools and developments in generative AI can support that objective. By closely engaging with customers and prospects, Lucy.ai stays attuned to their needs and adapts its feature set to align with their evolving policies and requirements.

Looking ahead, Lucy AI has ambitious plans for the future.

“We are excited to continue building on the strong foundation of Lucy 4. We aim to foster conversations and connections between departments, using Lucy as a tool to empower people and foster collaboration within the enterprise. We have exciting developments in this area that we look forward to sharing,” says Frederickson.

Lucy.ai’s innovative approach to knowledge discovery and its commitment to empowering individuals within organisations make it a formidable player in the field. As the remote work trend continues and the need for efficient knowledge surfacing grows, Lucy.ai’s comprehensive answer engine offers a unique solution.

By bridging the gap between employees and their company’s collective knowledge, Lucy not only saves time and improves productivity, but also facilitates meaningful connections that drive innovation and collaboration within the enterprise.

You can watch our full interview with Steve Frederickson below:

(Photo by Jack Carter on Unsplash)

Want to learn more about AI and big data from industry leaders? Check out AI & Big Data Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. The event is co-located with Digital Transformation Week.

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