Tech Intelligence Bulletin (HG Insights) – Tableau Software has announced the general availability of Ask Data, which leverages the power of natural language processing to enable people to ask data questions in plain language and instantly get a visual response right in Tableau.

This makes it easier for anyone, regardless of skill set, to engage deeply with data and produce analytical insights they can share with others without having to do any setup or programming.

In the same way Tableau first pioneered drag-and-drop functionality within analytics, Ask Data is the next stage in the evolution of self-service analytics. With Ask Data, customers can simply type a question such as, “What were my sales this month?” and Tableau will return an interactive data visualization that they can continue to explore, refine the question, and drill into further detail. There is no need to have a deep understanding of the data structure or programming skills.

Full analytics capabilities

Whether they are a product manager, a manufacturing supervisor, a doctor, or a pizza shop owner, Ask Data enables anyone to have a conversation with their data. It uses sophisticated algorithms that are driven by an understanding of the person’s intent, not keywords, which helps Tableau return more relevant results. Because Ask Data is fully integrated into Tableau, people can then seamlessly and gracefully explore their data using Tableau’s full analytics capabilities.

Ask Data is available at no additional cost as part of Tableau Server and Tableau Online, and works with Tableau’s full range of supported data sources both live and extract, This allows instant connection to any data source, without having to move the data or train the algorithm. And with no setup required, Ask Data integrates with Tableau Server’s existing security and governance capabilities, which makes it ready to use.

Ubiquitous analytics

“With Ask Data, we’re helping make analytics ubiquitous by enabling anyone, regardless of expertise, to analyze data,” said Francois Ajenstat, Chief Product Officer at Tableau. “Our unique, conversational approach to natural language allows people to ask questions how they naturally think. Ask Data provides a more intuitive and natural way to interact with data, lowering the barrier to entry for analytics and allowing people to ask questions in plain language and get highly relevant insights faster.”

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