AI and the Evolution of Self-Service Analytics

March 12, 2024 | 5 minute read
James Richardson
Vice President, Product Strategy, Oracle Analytics
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Analytics tools have been self-service for decades, but AI is changing what that means, and Oracle is working to build new tools to take advantage of this technology. 

Over the past 20 years, analytic tools have become intuitive (even enjoyable) through data visualizations, data storytelling and natural language interactions. This has been a great success—using these tools millions of people explore and gain insight from complex data every day.

About five years ago tools like Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC) went even further and started to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to provide augmented analytics, automating analytic tasks and deliver automated insights. (If you’ve not seen OAC’s Auto Insights capability you should check it out). 

Figure 1: Building data visualizations with Auto Insights
Figure 1: Building data visualizations with Auto Insights

 

So far, so good, but in Human Computer Interaction terms there’s a generative AI (GenAI) fueled shift happening, and our recent release of OAC takes a broad and different approach to applying AI to analytics to make things ever better, easier, and faster.

First, GenAI offers a natural trajectory forward for OAC’s already strong natural language capability. The new Oracle Analytics AI Assistant introduces advanced conversational capabilities driven by natural language processing, ML and GenAI.

The new intelligent assistant empowers users to effortlessly interact with data, generating answers to complex queries and insightful visualizations through conversations. Our intent is to help users, such as business analysts, interact with data and dashboards using natural language and GenAI-created responses seamlessly. We feel our approach is different in that it puts GenAI interactions in a natural flow, where users transition from drag-and-drop visuals to textual interaction fluidly. Giving them the best of both ways of working with data and insights. This means a user can go from asking a question to exploring a data visualization on the answer without a break in their flow.

Figure 2: Using generative AI to assist with building the dashboard
Figure 2: Using generative AI to assist with building the dashboard

 

When you’ve gained the insights that’s only the start. You then need to get people to pay attention to them. To help here, and building on our data storytelling capabilities, we are introducing Oracle Analytics’ Story Exchange, a groundbreaking standard format that packages visual content and data. This open format is designed for seamless utilization by AI tools. By packaging visual content and data in this standardized manner, AI tools gain enhanced accessibility to generate compelling AI stories, marking a significant leap forward in the intersection of analytics and artificial intelligence within the Oracle Analytics ecosystem.

Through the Story Exchange Format Oracle Analytics will be able to support a huge range of rich outputs. This began with our thinking around the data story podcasts we’ve offered for some years, and the AI avatars data newsreaders pioneered with Oracle partner Synthesia.

Figure 3: AI avatars deliver the data story
Figure 3: AI avatars deliver the data story

 

Think of the future possibilities: via the Story Exchange Format our customers could generate novel presentations using tools like Presi, use graphics tools to create animations, send a story to a large language model (LLM) for further interpretation, make a comic book version of an OAC dashboard using illustrations. Why not generate a short play with characters arguing for the high and low-end of predicted ranges in the data, bringing non-analytic contextual information into the drama? 

Communication of data insight is the same as any topic, in that ‘the medium is the message’. As such we know it would help our customers if we provided an open format to create a wide range of data story outputs in a myriad of form factors. Any way to get humans to pay attention to data is a good thing. (Note that we intend to publish the Story Exchange Format to GitHub, establishing the de facto industry standard for data story exchange between technologies.)

 As self-service evolves, Oracle will be there ensuring that analytics reaches and impacts as many people as possible in as compelling a way as possible.

Read more about Oracle Analytics

Explore the capabilities of Oracle Analytics

Read more about Synthesia and AI avatars

Watch a demo of Oracle Analytics auto insights

 

Forward-looking statements

This blog is intended to outline our general product direction. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract. It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. The development, release, timing, and pricing of any features or functionality described for Oracle’s products may change and remains at the sole discretion of Oracle Corporation.

Statements in this blog relating to Oracle’s future plans, expectations, beliefs, intentions, and prospects are “forward-looking statements” and are subject to material risks and uncertainties. A detailed discussion of these factors and other risks that affect our business is contained in Oracle’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, including our most recent reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q under the heading “Risk Factors.” These filings are available on the SEC’s website or on Oracle’s website at http://www.oracle.com/investor. All information in this presentation is current as of March 2024 and Oracle undertakes no duty to update any statement in light of new information or future events.

Some regulatory certifications or registrations to products or services referenced herein are held by Cerner Corporation. Cerner Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Oracle. Cerner Corporation is an ONC-certified health IT developer and a registered medical device manufacturer in the United States and other jurisdictions worldwide. 

James Richardson

Vice President, Product Strategy, Oracle Analytics


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