C-Phrase Technologies AB

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Just Google the Database

Roger administers the database at a small to medium sized company. Given this, Roger has many responsibilities beyond the classic database administrator (DBA) role, ranging from maintaining websites, system administration and even being involved in sales support. In short Roger is busy. Because of this Roger is having difficulty keeping up with requests to answer questions over the company database. Often these correspond to fairly simple SQL queries. He has tried to teach non-technical colleagues a little SQL, but they hardly ever show sustained interest. And when they do, Roger finds it tedious explaining what he considers to be basic concepts and details in how he designed the database and what it represents. Roger seeks a way to provide flexible querying to non-technical staff to lessen these demands

Luckily Roger was browsing the offerings on Amazon Marketplace and he came across C-Phrase. Immediately he saw the possibilities and started a free trial account. He logged into his private C-Phrase server and ran a quick configuration wizard that built a natural language interface (NLI) over his database. Within an hour of starting, Roger sent a link to a colleague and invited him to ask natural language questions over the database. Most of the questions the system answered correctly. And when it did, it always paraphrased its understanding of what the user was asking, giving them confidence that C-Phrase answered their question. For cases where C-Phrase could not answer, Roger was able to quickly patch the system to either answer the question or to give explanations of why the question was outside the scope of the database. An hour later Roger invited another colleague. Then another. Pretty soon the system was answering the vast majority of the questions it was asked. Roger sent out a message to the staff announcing the new interface. Everyone loved the new system. With it they could "just google the database". When the free trial period was up, Roger had no problem justifying the modest subscription fee to continue with C-Phrase.

The alternative for Roger would have been to either keep manually addressing all those questions from his colleagues or to set up a forms or dashboard interface. The first route is too expensive in the long run. The second takes effort at least as great as that to build a C-Phrase interface. And then users are likely to have questions that we not anticipated in the forms or dashboard. With C-Phrase users can flexibly explore the system asking their series of questions to find answers to their complex, unanticipated questions.