By Geoffe Hoppe, Business Intelligence and Analytics Writer at Capterra
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If your business intelligence software doesn’t have natural language query, every request you make could be just as frustrating as seeing Senor Cabrera deny nature’s call (and yours). Only, where your high school teacher wanted Spanish, a lot of BI software wants a programming language like SQL. Even if your BI solution doesn’t require coding knowledge, it may still be unwieldy enough that you’ll need someone from IT just to make a request.
Want to avoid this sort of roadblock? Consider a BI solution that uses natural language query.
Rather than using code, natural language query lets a computer “understand human speech as it is spoken.” If you’ve seen the ads for virtual personal assistants like Alexa or Google Home, you’ve seen natural language query in action. You’ve also seen how easy it is. To get that same kind of ease in your business, AnswerRocket is a great choice. Here are four ways natural language query meets your needs without you even asking.
1. Natural language query moves at the speed of curiosity
Good questions are like bad party guests: they arrive at their own pace. They don’t follow our schedules. Ever kept a pad and pen by your bed in case a good idea comes to you as you’re falling asleep? Then you know how assertively random curiosity can be.
Natural-language generation dynamically increases the volume and value of insights and context in data analytics.
How often have you forgotten a perfect question or idea in your head because you couldn’t get it onto the page fast enough? Interruptions and mental speed bumps—like trying to think how to phrase something—can stymie your creativity, or make you misinterpret what sounded good in your head.
And if you have to translate that query into a different format entirely? Say goodbye to that million-dollar question.
With natural language query, however, there’s no need to stop and phrase something in the computer’s language. Just type your question in plain English, and you’ve got an answer. Natural language query moves at the speed of inspiration and curiosity. That’s why Gartner analysis could say that “natural-language generation dynamically increases the volume and value of insights and context in data analytics.”
And, so long as we’re talking about pace, AnswerRocket’s natural language capabilities already puts them ahead of the curve. Natural language processing, which powers natural language query, is key to several of Gartner’s Top Ten Strategic Technology Trends for 2017.
2. Natural language query naturally incorporates data governance
Data governance isn’t just about security, it’s also about making sure data is consistent and useful for all your departments. If you don’t happen to speak the jargon of sales or marketing, you might be asking the right question in the wrong terms, and wrong terms don’t get answers.
Rather than specialized silos, your data lives in an environment where anyone can get to it, asking the same sort of questions they’d ask of a coworker.
Natural language query is above jargon: no matter what department’s asking, the same everyday speech is good enough when you ask your question. Rather than specialized silos, your data lives in an environment where anyone can get to it, asking the same sort of questions they’d ask of a coworker (without having to take that trip downstairs and lose your focus).
Furthermore, natural language query gives you the flexibility to use different kinds of terms. Rather than having to switch between everyday language and the specific terminology your business uses, you can use either vocabulary with NLQ.
3. Natural language query makes adoption easier
The average adoption rate of BI software is 22%. Even in baseball, that average is unimpressive.
When AnswerRocket worked with SnapAV, they found a company that wanted to get out of the other 78%. Employees were hesitant to use their BI solution because of its difficulty. Asking questions and getting answers from the program took the help of an IT analyst, which “might be a couple of hours” or “might take a couple of days,” according to SnapAV President Adam Levy.
On top of the delay for their business users, the analysts were also tied up answering simple data questions rather than delving deeper into more meaningful data analysis.
No better way to make something fail than turning a simple process into a multi-step equation. With AnswerRocket, though, SnapAV’s employees found adoption to be as easy as a Google search. By the time they’d finished asking questions, they realized they’d already adopted the program.
It’s also worth considering how much people are coming to expect question-and-answer searches. A lot of employees in any field are used to asking Siri things, and they’re used to Googling (the fact that “Googling” is a verb should tell you something). Natural language query will feel, forgive my word choice, natural to them. When business processes become as natural as asking where the nearest sushi place is, you’re one more victory toward winning the adoption battle.
Where this feature shines especially? With Millennials and other digital natives, who are used to intuitive, natural user experiences.
4. Natural language query helps give you fast returns
80% of BI users said the current pace of insights did not match the pace of their business requirements, and 52% said that that was due to how much time it takes IT to deliver those insights.
If you’re looking for fast returns from your business intelligence software, you may want to readjust your assumptions. A surprising number of BI users find their solution is slow and unsteady: 80% said the current pace of insights did not match the pace of their business requirements, and 52% said that that was due to how much time it takes IT to deliver those insights. Add to that the average of 6.1 days it takes to build a report, and business intelligence becomes a waiting game.
Natural language, however, helps get you the info you need at the pace of business. That’s what game design company Hi-Rez Studios found when they switched to AnswerRocket. Hi-Rez was frustrated by how long it took to get information with their previous BI program: “Queries had to be constructed exactly as intended, and it would usually take a lot of time for our more technical people.”
With AnswerRocket’s natural language query, however, Hi-Rez can adapt to their business’s needs more readily. For instance: Hi-Rez now has the agility to figure out the difference between things like “the behaviors and tastes of our players” in different countries, or the popularity of different characters. Rather than waiting for a report, employees can more quickly tell if gamers like a character or not (if Nintendo had had AnswerRocket, one of the ‘80s most tragic video game-related phenomena might never have happened).
With natural language query, you’re not “executing a business query.” You’re asking a question. If you’re looking for a business intelligence option that answers your questions before they’re asked, AnswerRocket is an option you’ll want to consider.
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