When Amazon Web Services launched QuickSight, its business intelligence service, back in 2016 the company wanted to provide product information and customer information for business users — not just developers.
At the time, the natural language processing technologies available weren’t robust enough to give customers the tools to search databases effectively using queries in plain speech.
Now, as those technologies have matured, Amazon is coming back with a significant upgrade called QuickSight Q, which allows users to just ask a simple question and get the answers they need, according to Andy Jassy’s keynote at AWS re:Invent.
“We will provide natural language to provide what we think the key learning is,” said Jassy. “I don’t like that our users have to know which databases to access or where data is stored. I want them to be able to type into a search bar and get the answer to a natural language question.
That’s what QuickSight Q aims to do. It’s a direct challenge to a number of business intelligence startups and another instance of the way machine learning and natural language processing are changing business processes across multiple industries.
“The way Q works. Type in a question in natural language [like]… ‘Give me the trailing twelve month sales of product X?’… You get an answer in seconds. You don’t have to know tables or have to know data stores.”
It’s a compelling use case and gets at the way AWS is integrating machine learning to provide more no-code services to customers. “Customers didn’t hire us to do machine learning,” Jassy said. “They hired us to answer the questions.”