Self-service analytics platform Tableau Software has launched a new function as part of its latest release which uses natural language processing (NLP) to enable users to ask data questions in order to receive a visual response.
The patent-pending capability will give users of any skillset the ability to engage with data to produce analytical insights that can be shared with others without the requirement for any setup or programming.
Ask Data, which will be made available for no addition cost as part of Tableau 2019.1, allows users to type questions such as "what were my sales this month?" to which they will receive an interactive data visualization that can be explored and refined for further details.
Tableau chief product officer Francois Ajenstat said: "With Ask Data, we're helping make analytics ubiquitous by enabling anyone, regardless of expertise, to analyze data."
According to Tableau, the algorithms behind the function are driven by an understanding of the person's intent, rather than keywords, helping Tableau to return more relevant results.
"Our unique, conversational approach to natural language allows people to ask questions how they naturally think," Ajenstat added. "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."