Amazon QuickSite Q — business intelligence without gurus

Amazon has extended its QuickSite business intelligence (BI) service with QuickSite Q, which enables users to type questions about their business data in natural language and receive accurate answers in seconds.

QuickSite is a scalable, serverless, embeddable, machine learning-powered BI service built for the cloud that makes it easy to create and publish interactive BI dashboards. With the Q version users can type in questions using natural language instead of using a point-and-click dashboard selection method.

QuickSite Q screengrab.

Matt Wood, VP of Business Analytics at AWS, provided a statement: “With Amazon QuickSight Q, anyone within an organisation has the ability to ask natural language questions and receive highly relevant answers and visualisations. For the first time, anyone can tap into the full power of data to make quick, reliable, data-driven decisions to plan more efficiently and be more responsive to their end users.”

QuickSite Q uses machine learning (natural language processing, schema understanding, and semantic parsing for SQL code generation) to automatically interpret the intent of a question and relationships among business data. The machine learning models behind QuickSight Q are pre-trained on data from various domains such as sales reporting, ads and marketing, financial services, healthcare, and sports analytics.

It can handle questions such as “How are my sales tracking against quota?” and “What are the top products sold week-over-week by region?” The answers come as visualisations and text and mean a business intelligence analyst is not needed to interrogate data to get the answers to such questions.

Users don’t need to learn SQL but, on the flip side, they can’t ask such detailed questions as one can with SQL.  QuickSight Q continually improves over time based on the auto-complete phrases a user selects. Amazon says “Customers can [also] refine the way Amazon QuickSight Q understands questions with an easy-to-use editor, which removes the need for complex data preparation before users can ask questions of data in natural language.“

We’re told that, as QuickSite does not depend on pre-built dashboards and reports, users are not limited to asking only a specific set of questions. QuickSight Q provides auto-complete suggestions for key phrases and business terms. It performs spell checking and acronym/synonym matching, so users need not worry about typos or remembering exact business terms for their data.

There are no upfront commitments to use Amazon QuickSight Q, and customers only pay for the number of users or queries. Amazon QuickSight Q currently supports questions in English and is generally available today to customers running Amazon QuickSight in US East (Ohio), US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), Europe (Frankfurt), Europe (Ireland), and Europe (London), with availability in additional AWS Regions coming soon.