As organizational structure continues to morph with the addition of more and more remote employees, smarter workplaces are slowly becoming the need of the hour. While everyone speaks of AI, getting it right is the tougher part. But it seems those days are not far when AI will get it right, automate the workplace, increase the productivity of employees, and make enterprises smarter.
So believes, Lee Jin Hian, CEO & Founder of Evie, an AI assistant platform, that can enable fast seamless AI-powered applications to be deployed across the enterprise. In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Jin sheds more light on how Evie could be the AI Assistant for every employee.
What was the inspiration behind launching Evie?
Evie was born to solve a problem I experienced as a global product manager at Yahoo. I was based in Singapore together with engineering, but the broader team was distributed - my director was in the US, and my business stakeholders were in every major city, from San Francisco to London to Brazil.
I was spending more than a day a week just organizing meetings across multiple time zones, following up with people and trying to get meeting rooms, which was a tremendous waste of time, and that gave Evie a first purpose - to be a really useful AI assistant for enterprises!
Today, Evie has evolved into an enterprise AI platform that can enable fast seamless AI-powered applications to be deployed across the enterprise. Evie's capabilities include scheduling meetings and interviews, booking meeting rooms, tracking to-dos and integrating with backend enterprise HRMS and ATS systems. Most of all, Evie has an extensible skills module that allows Evie to quickly integrate new skills to become the intelligent enterprise's first AI worker.
Please explain in layman’s terms the Evie product and how it uses automation to help with smarter workplaces?
“Imagine how much more productivity we would gain if a company could give every employee an administrative assistant. With Evie, they can!”
Using the power of natural language understanding, autonomous reasoning and extensible skills, Evie is the assistant for everyone that can schedule meetings and interviews (including multiple time zones, offices and meeting rooms), track to-dos and follow-ups, seamlessly integrate with back-end HRMS & CRM systems and acquire new skills in order to help get things done faster and better.
Evie understands natural language, so everyone can get things done with Evie effortlessly with a single email or chat message. There's no app to download or instructions to learn - just sign up, then tell Evie what you want to be done. With an AI assistant like Evie, users no longer have to handle all the scheduling negotiations, time zone calculations, follow-ups, calendar invites, and reminders. Evie can also be extended to handle company-specific workflows like employee onboarding, leave application and other traditional pain points.
In short, Evie is far more than simple chatbot - it's a true AI assistant that will supercharge every employee's productivity.
What has been the traction like for Evie? Where all are you present and which organizations are your customers? How is Evie monetized?
Evie is now hard at work in more than 400 companies across 48 countries, from startups to large enterprises. Some of our more notable customers include Carousell, Nugit, National Gallery Singapore as well as multi-nationals like Siemens, Airbus, and Unilever. We're getting a lot of interest from the HR community for more specific tasks like interview scheduling and employee on-boarding and we're really excited to be working with great companies to scale them up.
“Evie is like any other employee - you can hire Evie on a monthly or annual basis, with prices starting from $10/month for small businesses.”
If you're looking to get started, Evie will even work for you for free! We also have customized enterprise packages for larger enterprises with advanced features like multi-office meeting rooms, internal assistants and reporting & analytics.
With a number of players in the automation and AI assistants, what are the key differentiating factors of Evie over its competitors?
First, Evie just works. You won't believe the number of times we've had customers tell us that they've tried other AI assistants and finally went with Evie because she simply got it right. In the world of AI assistants, that's really hard to do, and that's because we handle a lot more of the nuances of scheduling - including enterprise features like working with assistants, effortless time zones, location-aware scheduling and bridging between multi-office meeting rooms.
Second, Evie does a lot more than just scheduling meetings - it’s an AI Assistant platform that powers Intelligent Enterprises. In order to solve the scheduling problem, we built our proprietary MetaFlow engine that allows Evie to quickly acquire and incorporate new abilities by leveraging MetaFlow's extensible skills module. This is what truly differentiates Evie from everyone else - it's an AI worker platform for intelligent enterprises.
Finally, Evie is truly enterprise-grade platform - we have a private cloud and on-premise deployments that are live today, giving our customers the security and privacy that they need, particularly in highly regulated or sensitive industries.
What are your future plans as far as product development and expansion is concerned?
“We're building a world of intelligent enterprises, where everyone will have an AI assistant to help them with every aspect of their work and life.”
This means everything from administrative tasks (scheduling meetings, making travel bookings, tracking to-dos), all the way to function-specific capabilities, like complex interview scheduling, employee on-boarding, project management, and even answering customer support queries.
We are really at the dawn of the AI economy, and Evie will become the platform to power the intelligent enterprise, helping companies become more agile and move more quickly so they can compete and thrive in our modern rapidly-changing, uncertain environment.
How do you see the AI and automation market in workplaces growing in APAC? What is the scope for it in the coming years?
AI and automation for the workplace is still in its infancy globally and in APAC. Companies are experimenting with primitive one-off solutions like simple chatbots but we see increasing interest in more sophisticated solutions that are capable of working autonomously alongside human staff. As global growth slows and APAC economies mature, labor costs will go up and productivity will be increasingly important. AI assistants like Evie help organizations reduce non-productive tasks so that their employees can work on more revenue-generating activities.