AI in the COVID-19 era pt. 1: Staying informed and maintaining business continuity
Element AI Element AI
April 14 5 min

AI in the COVID-19 era pt. 1: Staying informed and maintaining business continuity

This is the first of a series of three articles entitled “AI in the coronavirus era”. We explore how AI has the power to help businesses, organizations and individuals to keep moving forward and maintain business continuity in the context of today’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Each part of the series focuses on one of three key concerns. These are the fundamental pillars that can support successful remote working during challenging times. We’ll begin with how to stay informed and make the most of all available information resources across widely distributed personnel.

Putting the pieces back together

The need for social distancing and increased working from home can make it feel as if your organization has fractured. Staying in close contact can be challenging, and interactions aren’t as fluid as they normally would be. Ordinarily, we’d often resolve a query by taking a walk to our colleague’s desk; a quick verbal exchange, an explanation, and a resolution. Unfortunately, that’s probably not an option for many of us right now.

So, what do we do? Emails can be missed, forgotten or misinterpreted. Instant messages, too – and if you’ve not become accustomed to desktop-based chat tools, it’s easy to forget about the “away” or “out of office” settings. This means co-workers can be left waiting for a response to an urgent question, not knowing you’ve gone for lunch or signed off for the day. So, how do you bridge these new gaps in your information ecosystem and ensure business continuity?

Your untapped data goldmine

Digital collaboration will never completely replace face-to-face interactions, but for now it will have to pick up the baton. And that means ironing out the creases – working out the disadvantages. We have to. Technology now has an even greater responsibility for facilitating knowledge-sharing throughout a distributed organization. Here’s where we come to the value of AI in the coronavirus era. It can help us overcome some of the challenges by leveraging an incredibly valuable but often underused resource: your data.

Much of the time, the information you’re looking for is somewhere in your systems. The crucial part of that sentence, however, is “somewhere”. If you can’t find it, the question goes unanswered and that information is essentially useless – but it doesn’t have to be. Element AI’s Knowledge Scout allows your personnel to access previously untapped knowledge without having to trawl your systems or consult colleagues.

What are you looking for?

It all starts with a simple question: “What are you looking for?” Think of Knowledge Scout like an advanced search engine for your business. When you enter a query, Knowledge Scout will analyze the data in your systems and present relevant information. Because it’s powered by AI, the tool can work with structured and even unstructured data (which hasn’t been labelled and organized) and will respond to simple queries written in natural language.

Finding information with Knowledge Scout is much easier, quicker and often more fruitful than manually searching through folder after folder, or the depths of your inbox, or getting in touch with multiple team members. Query-resolution, decision-making and task-completion are no longer slowed down or halted by all-too-common bottlenecks in knowledge-transfer.

AI that learns to help you learn

As you bookmark successful search results, Knowledge Scout learns from this. It recognizes the relationships between different items of information so results can be even more useful in future, learning to draw information from similar solutions and contexts. The more you consult Knowledge Scout, the better it understands your information resources.

Thinking further ahead, Knowledge Scout isn’t just a solution to current COVID-19-related business continuity challenges. Looking forward, returning to a business model with the majority of your personnel on premises, it’s a tool that will continue to show increasing benefit as time goes by, building up a deep and easily accessed repository of knowledge for your employees. But let’s go back to the here and now, as business continuity is an urgent issue demanding the immediate attention of organizations.

Ensuring smooth business continuity

In the face of crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, getting back to business very often depends on adopting new tools as quickly and smoothly as possible. Knowledge Scout doesn’t require a large amount of training data to get started, so you can begin without delay. That’s important for many organizations who need to get back on their feet quickly after an abrupt change to all-remote working. Fast implementation and return on investment (ROI) are key pre-requisites for AI in coronavirus-era business continuity.

Furthermore, because it can investigate data from diverse systems throughout your information infrastructure, Knowledge Scout avoids the need to integrate the data from all these sources. This could otherwise be time consuming and cost and labour-intensive: all things you don’t need in an already challenging financial climate and a situation where agile adaptation is a must.

Getting back to normal and back to business is on everyone’s minds right now. We hope the ideas we’ve presented offer some reassurance that it can and will happen. We want to help show you how.


In part two of the series (AI in the COVID-19 era pt. 2: staying connected”) you’ll discover how AI can help ensure everyone can access the tools and other resources they need to keep working during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, if you’d like to discuss any of the issues explored in this article, or find out how AI can help your organization overcome challenges you’re facing, just get in touch with our team.