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In your own words: Guided analytics with no muss or fuss

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In your own words: Guided analytics with no muss or fuss

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Move through data analysis that uses terms you understand

One of the most amazing and unique capabilities of Watson Analytics is how it guides you through analytics in terms you understand. There’s no scripting or query muss or fuss. It does this with what we call natural language dialogue, which is a form of natural language processing.

To show you just how exciting guided analytics with natural language is, I have some examples. I’ve got some training course data I need to analyze because I plan to a launch an exciting new training plan for my company.

People, start your analytics engines

Instead of starting with a blank slate, Watson Analytics automatically recommends starting points for analysis. For example, in this data set of training expenses, without my doing anything other than uploading data, I see different places to begin my discovery. (You, too, can upload data and get starting points immediately. Go to to learn more.)

guided discovery

Nothing is irrelevant

If I’m wondering how to ask a question, there’s a coach to help me. I can tap “How to ask a question,” to see categories of questions. If I want, after looking through the questions in each category, I can select one to get a new set of starting points. I have a question in mind, so I type “What is the cost of courses by organization?” Right away, I get a response.

relevant data

What’s very cool is that Watson Analytics has processed my spreadsheet and noted which starting point is most relevant for me. I select “What is the breakdown of Course cost by Organization?” and my guided discovery begins.

Nesting treemaps

My question yielded a treemap. And, by clicking a few of the boxes in the treemap, I get another treemap. More clicks and I get another, and this one has information I’m looking for, which is the cost of courses by year.


The whole time I’m clicking through, the right panel of my screen is showing me other information and facts that might be interesting to me. This will be invaluable as I lobby to start my training initiative.

A step into the future

The other great feature of the guided aspect of Watson Analytics is the ability to use predictive functionality to discover what might be behind the trends and patterns I’m seeing. Instead of wandering aimlessly and creating charts and visualizations based on my gut — I can home in on meaningful insights. For example, in my training data, if I want to know what is most affecting training expense totals, I can ask Watson Analytics. Almost instantly, I have my answer.


predictive analysis

If I want to dig deeper, I can. Watson Analytics will guide me to a detailed breakdown of information about how position and organization affect the target.

statistical models

With these questions answered, I am on my way to discovering what I need to create a vastly improved training plan. Watson Analytics has taken me to the statistical insights and visualizations to back up my plan. Best of all, it was all done in a way I could understand. It’s almost as if Watson Analytics wore a colleague. Plus, I barely had to do any work.

Where can you learn more about natural language processing and guided analytics?

You can see more examples of this in action by visiting the IBM Watson Analytics Expert Storybooks page. For more information about natural language processing and guided analytics and to find out how to sign up for the free edition, visit




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