John Sands, QlikViewJohn Sands, QlikView

Our ability to detect patterns, compare information and make predictions is one of mankind’s greatest strengths, and technology should enable us to do just that.

Great things happen when people do what comes most naturally to them, and that is why natural analytics can be so beneficial. It allows users to explore their data, ask their own questions, and follow the results, according to , evangelist at BI giant, QlikView, speaking during his keynote address at the ITWeb Business Intelligence Summit 2014.

He described natural analytics as a sort of design philosophy that hones in on people’s innate ability for complex thinking and expands that thinking process by using user-centric software.

“People are excellent at detecting patterns, categorising and identifying outliers, and these abilities help us quickly process information and make decisions in unstable environments that are changing or uncertain.”

Natural analytics hopes to boost this higher-level thinking, through harnessing the power of technology. “Natural analytics puts the information into the natural flow of how people think as they make decisions, and allows users to explore complex data and make and share discoveries using their most instinctual abilities.”

One element it uses is association and comparison. “Natural analytics helps us move from a single data point to make connections to other data points. It helps to intuitively guide users to the answers they seek, and at the same time, uncovers new and unanticipated data relationships. Users easily see connections or uncover disconnects or surprises.”

Through collaboration and data dialogues, it allows users to take part in interactive, live discussions around data and decision paths instead of static data or predetermined decision paths. In this way, it helps users reach an agreement when multiple users are involved, and discoveries can be shared. It also boosts collaboration, he said.

Natural analytics also allows users to show the data relationships behind their conclusions, and therefore interactively and collaboratively look at opposing points of view in the data, allowing for an almost instant validation or discussion of the questions, he noted.

If software is designed for users’ natural abilities to make sense of complex data, all the data users in a company can use the software. At the same time, they will get a good understanding and collaborate for decisions far quicker than through a linear process confined by technology limitations, Sands concluded.