How Conversational Queries aims to ease using Einstein Analytics data

A new AI conversational feature from Salesforce lets users enter sales, service and marketing questions about timely customer data and build charts on their own in less time.

Salesforce ramped up its AI game in March with the beta launch of Conversational Queries, a feature intended to make it easier for users to interact with customer data contained in Einstein Analytics through conversational text-based inquiries. Available in the full version later this year at no extra cost for Einstein Analytics platform users, Conversational Queries delivers answers to questions faster, and eliminates clicks and the training required to create charts.

"You know your data, you know what you're looking for, but you don't always know how to get the machine to show you what you want to see," said Amruta Moktali, vice president of product management for Einstein Analytics. The goal of Conversational Queries is to enable users to interact with data more intuitively.

Charting an easy path

Conversational Queries can simplify the process of building charts. On the dashboard, an administrator or business user just needs to click and enter questions about sales, service or marketing data. Suggested charts -- for example, map views, if you're looking at sales deals by region -- automatically pop up beside a query to help users visualize the information. A history log of questions asked also appears to let users revisit past charts and keep track of how they've explored their data. These charts are available for sharing to ensure that everyone on the business team is aware of user insights and can act on the findings.

Typically, analytics requires asking questions about the data; just one question can lead to multiple follow-up questions. That can mean as many as 20 clicks for each question to build charts the traditional way. Conversational Queries provides guidance and suggestions through Einstein Analytics metadata, so setups aren't needed.

"We've gotten great reactions from early beta users," Moktali said. "It's been called a game-changer, and users absolutely see the benefit."

Conversational Queries is going to be a huge game-changer in the AI and BI space.
Rick Naniadirector of CRM operations, Active International

Rick Nania, a Salesforce Trailblazer and director of CRM operations at Active International, concurred in a Salesforce blog written by Moktali. "Conversational Queries is going to be a huge game-changer in the AI and BI space," he wrote. "Having the ability to ask questions and gain key insights into our data just by typing or speaking a few words is amazing."

Until recently, users typically relied on IT to create charts. But that process often took weeks and resulted in charts built on stale or out-of-date data. "Einstein Analytics changed that process into a more self-service experience," Moktali explained. "But until Conversational Queries, the process of creating charts would still take an average of 12 clicks and required a deeper understanding of chart building that involved how to create filters and what measures should go on each axis."

In addition, ROI is likely to increase for organizations with a culture guided by analytics and data-driven decisions. "It makes data exploration much faster, simpler and more accessible," Moktali noted, "so that we can get data-driven insights in the hands of every business user."

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