BI provider Qlik buys Crunch Data and its bot

On Wednesday, business intelligence provider Qlik made conversation a permanent way for marketers to access its data by announcing the acquisition of analytics firm Crunch Data and its CrunchBot.

Over the last four years, SVP of Strategy Management Drew Clarke told me, Crunch Data has partnered with the Philadelphia-based Qlik, embedding its bot into the platform. Qlik brings data from a wide variety of tools and sources into a single analytics platform, and says it has more than 40,000 customers in about a hundred countries.

Integrations with Slack and Alexa. While Qlik has built its own cognitive framework to make the data available via a Google-like search engine, Clarke said, the CrunchBot has provided natural language processing (NLP) and generation that enables text-based conversational interaction.

He noted that the Thousand Oaks, California-headquartered Crunch provides an additional conversation-focused layer of intelligence. The CrunchBot is also voice-accessible, via integrations with Slack on the iPhone that utilizes Siri, and with Amazon’s voice agent Alexa. With this acquisition, Crunch Data and its bot will be exclusive to Qlik.

Dialogue versus chatting. Given the growing popularity of such interfaces for analytics platforms, Crunch co-founder and now Qlik Chief Customer Officer Charney Hoffman contends that his company’s bot interface stands out.

“Other chatbots will chat back,” while ours, he said, “engages in dialogue.”

That means, he said, a marketer can ask the CrunchBot about the quarter’s sales number, and the bot not only provides that answer, but makes additional recommendations based on such factors as the drivers behind that number.

It might, for instance, suggest specific sales periods to compare, generate a visual graph on a connected screen, or point out how the product sold better during that quarter in one territory because of the weather.

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Why you should care. Clarke noted that a survey Qlik conducted with the Wharton School of Business found that only 15 to 24 percent of business respondents felt they had some degree of “data literacy,” which he defined as the ability to “read, write, understand and argue with data.”

Marketers and other business users now expect access to data “where they are and how they work,” Clarke said, adding that this kind of available-everywhere intelligent conversational access to data can boost data literacy.

Voice- and text-based conversational interfaces are becoming standard fare on analytics and intelligence platforms. In late 2016, marketing analytics platform Datorama (now owned by Salesforce) and business intelligence provider Sisense were among the first such platforms to integrate with Amazon’s Alexa voice agent.

Research firm Gartner predicted in a 2017 report [for Gartner clients] that, by the end of next year, half of analytical queries will be generated by search, NLP, voice or intelligent self-generation.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today. For more on marketing technology, click here.

About The Author

Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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