Hey Google, What is Natural Language Processing?
NLP is, according to Dr. Michael J. Garbade, “the technology used to aid computers to understand the human’s natural language”. It’s the technology that allows machines to understand how you communicate, and allows you, in turn, to communicate with those machines in the languages you’re most comfortable with. NLP helps bridge the gap between computers and humans.
There’s no denying the rise of Natural Language technology. All of us – in some way, shape or form – have come face-to-face, err… rather, voice-to-virtual assistant, with household staples such as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple’s Siri.
Natural Language technologies becoming increasingly popular due to how well-suited they are for adoption. You don’t speak binary, nor do you communicate in structured formats, and with NLP, you don’t have to. These technologies are designed to convert your natural, unstructured language into data they understand, empowering you to communicate with them in as frictionless a setting as possible.
Simplify Your Analytics With Natural Language
So, why is this important and what’s the relation to Dundas BI? Well, with the release of version 7, you’re now able to communicate directly with your favorite Business Intelligence tool in Natural Language as well! That’s right. Dundas BI now supports Natural Language Querying, meaning you’re able to type simple commands in English – yep, no Python, SQL, or Astromech required – to perform data-discovery and analysis tasks.
Let’s walk through an example of how the Natural Language functionality in Dundas BI can be leveraged.
In the Dundas BI Metric Set Designer – if you’re a Power User or Developer – you’re now able to enter queries and ask questions of your data in Natural Language using a conveniently located Search Bar. Depending on your query, the software will retrieve the results without any configuration or coding required.
For example, if we were looking for a specific data source to perform some visualization tests, we could let Dundas BI know we’d like to work with ‘Test Data’. Then, if a data cube matched that criteria, our Natural Language Assistant would retrieve it. If the software were unable to identify a data source that matched, it’s smart enough to make suggestions based on what may fit the query.
Once you’ve selected a data structure, Dundas BI will automatically suggest commands that can be requested of your data, to further your analysis. These suggestions are based on the make-up of your data, but if none are to your liking, our Natural Language Assistant’s ‘Help Menu’ comes stocked with a laundry list of possible commands!
Now, selecting from a list of commands is great, but what if you had queries outside of those prompts? Using the Natural Language Assistant, you’re able to type direct commands as well. You could, for example, add a PriceMeasure to your analysis by asking Dundas BI to ‘Add Price’.
What’s icing on the cake, is that Dundas BI is smart enough to recognize if the measure you’ve requested is – or isn’t – available in your data source. If it isn’t, the software will correct your request and add the most appropriate measure – for example, while we asked for ‘Price’ to be added, it’s possible that measure doesn’t exist, in which case ‘UnitPrice’ may be added instead.
You never have to worry about being too vague in your requests either. If you were to type something as simple and lacking-in-context as ‘Show Hierarchies’, Dundas BI would offer suggestions relative to the nature of your request and the data available.
It’s worth mentioning that with each additional query you apply to your data, your data visualization will adjust accordingly and automatically.
Amongst the myriad queries you can make using Natural Language, the last I want to highlight is the ability to revisualize your data. Depending on the data in play, simply ask the Natural Language Assistant to revisualize your data, and let it work its magic. Commands such as ‘Revisualize to Bar Chart’ are easily understood by Dundas BI.
Again, to further your analysis, the software will also offer suggestions on additional ways of revisualizing your metric set.
The Natural Conclusion
There’s an abundance of data at your fingertips just waiting to be used. With Dundas BI’s Natural Language Assistant, it’s now possible for you to tap into that data by simply conversing with it. Ask questions of your data using simple, human commands, and get answers and suggestions immediately. At Dundas, innovation is continuous, and our Natural Language functionality is just another example of that.
To test our Natural Language features yourself, download a free trial of Dundas BI today!
About the Author
Jordan Zenko is the Community & Content Manager at Dundas Data Visualization. As Dundas’ resident (and self-proclaimed) story-teller, he authors in-depth content that educates developers, analysts, and business users on the benefits of business intelligence.Follow on Linkedin