Business intelligence (BI) software vendor Business Objects claimed a breakthrough in ease of use on Tuesday with the launch of the latest version of Business Objects, XI Release II.
This latest version incorporates Intelligent Questions (IQ), a new piece of software that uses a structured question format allowing users to ask questions in a free format but within a disciplined structure that, the company says, makes it easier for users to get the right answers.
Instead of using a free-form method of asking questions, IQ uses drop-down menus of words and phrases that users can then assemble into questions. Because the structure is fixed, it makes it much more likely that the questions will be answered correctly.
According to Donald MacCormick vice-president of applications at Business Objects, this gets around two of the main problems with query tools that use natural language. "They present the user with a blank box to enter the information in, which can be intimidating," he told ZDNet UK. "Then the user has to find the right format. With IQ, every single question is answerable."
MacCormick said that IQ was already being taken up enthusiastically by users. "The already see the benefits," he said.
One organisation apparently seeing the benefits is the NHS. Jill Smith, applications manager at NHS Services Scotland, said in a statement that by using XI Release 2, NHS users "will be able to link queries from multiple data sources across the intranet, allowing us to roll out access to our corporate data warehouse to authorised users across Scotland".