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Salesforce now lets users type natural-language queries to extract interesting nuggets from their Salesforce data in Einstein Analytics. (Salesforce Image)

For lots of people, trying to use powerful analytics tools without a little training in the language of data science is like lining up for a Formula One race without knowing how to shift gears; it can be tough to get up and running. Salesforce hopes to make it easier for people to use some of the data tools inside its sales and marketing tools by allowing them to surface data using regular conversational language, it announced Monday.

Like almost all software-as-a-service companies, Salesforce has been cramming artificial-intelligence features into its services in hopes of allowing users to get more out of their sales and marketing data within the system, and therefore convincing them to renew. Salesforce announced Einstein Analytics last June, and is now making that service easier to use by accepting natural-language queries as input.

For example, sales managers can now type something like “show me top accounts by annual revenue” into their Salesforce consoles instead of having to set up the fields and parameters needed to generate such a report in the past. Einstein Analytics will suggest search terms as you type into the console, and will also suggest the right output vehicle, such as a map or a chart.

The new service is available in beta, and should make it easier for non-technical sales and marketing managers to get relatively simple data-driven questions answered in quick fashion. AI and machine learning might be driving a huge chunk of product development for enterprise tech right now, but for services like customer-relationship management designed for non-technical users, making sure people can actually use that technology without a data scientist is arguably more important than the AI horse race itself.

[Editor’s Note: Salesforce is a GeekWire annual sponsor.]

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