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Business Intelligence Requires Natural Language Generation

In this special guest feature, Stuart Frankel, CEO of Narrative Science, discusses how Business Intelligence requires natural language generation (NLG) technology, a subset of artificial intelligence, that transforms data and analysis into concise, intelligent and human-sounding language that anyone can understand. This transformation occurs in mere seconds, at a scale only possible with AI-powered software, freeing up workers from tedious, manual data analysis processes. Stuart leads his company’s strategy and corporate vision, focusing on how customers can achieve better business outcomes by implementing artificial intelligence technologies. Prior to Narrative Science, Stuart was President of the Performics division of DoubleClick and was a member of DoubleClick’s senior management team until the company was sold to Google. Earlier in his career, Stuart was both a practicing attorney and CPA. Stuart earned a BS from Miami University and a JD from Vanderbilt University.

The amount of data that we now have access to is unprecedented, and while we live in a data-driven world where it is easy to monitor and measure nearly every aspect of running a business, making sense of the data remains a challenge. Information technology can only go so far without proper data science training and knowledge to interpret the data and communicate the most important results. In the face of this data deluge, artificial intelligence (AI) is helping enterprises turn complex data into actionable business intelligence.

To date, Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics companies have done a great job helping enterprises visualize their data for easier and quicker consumption. Companies like Sisense, Qlik, Tableau, and Microsoft are all driving visualizations of data across various departments of an enterprise. The good news is when data is easy to understand, workers embrace it. Unfortunately, there’s only so much a bar graph, pie chart or table can show.

What if we didn’t just use charts and graphs? What if we could communicate with information in the same way that we communicate with other people? Enter Advanced Natural Language Generation (NLG) technology, a subset of artificial intelligence, that transforms data and analysis into concise, intelligent and human-sounding language that anyone can understand. This transformation occurs in mere seconds, at a scale only possible with AI-powered software, freeing up workers from tedious, manual data analysis processes. Additionally, employees benefit by getting a deeper understanding of what is going on in the business to make better, informed decisions.

Why Advanced NLG? The answer lies in looking at how workers communicate with one another – through language. Advanced NLG interprets an enterprise’s data and adds context and relevancy for the intended audience just as if the intelligent narrative was created by a human.

The BI & Analytics vendors have realized the power of language. Instead of forcing workers to interpret the visualization, all they need to do is read the written summary. It’s an additive element that tells a deeper story about the data. By transforming data into narratives, Advanced NLG enhances worker productivity, enabling employees to focus on higher value activities. This is an example of how AI is augmenting and expanding human potential.

BI and Analytics vendors are adopting Advanced NLG technology in full force to complement their data storytelling. By 2019, Gartner predicts that NLG will be a standard feature of 90% of modern business intelligence and analytics platforms.

We know data by itself is not very useful, but having data interpreted and communicated to any group within an enterprise quickly is what’s exciting and, frankly, a requirement for business today. We need to allow machines to do what they do best, analyze very large data sets, and let workers do what they do best, focus on using business insights to make better decisions. Businesses thrive when workers have access to information that tells an accurate and comprehensive story.

While the BI and Analytics market has embraced Advanced NLG technology, the technology is growing rapidly across customer-facing applications and conversationally-based environments. For example, innovative BI and Analytics vendor, Sisense, simplifies business intelligence for complex data by creatively making data consumption easier and pervasive. Sisense Everywhere enables devices to push data beyond the screen, illuminating insights through Advanced NLG and IoT. With Sisense Everywhere, users can ask voice-operated assistants questions such as “What is my sales target for today?” By embedding Advanced NLG, the application now allows users to interact more naturally with data by asking questions and hearing answers in real time in real language.

Language is the predominant way that people communicate with each other. It’s up to us to teach machines to communicate with us in a way that we are familiar with. Advanced NLG technology bridges the gap between humans and machines by turning data into easy-to-understand language.

 

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