Tell us about your role and journey into Technology.
I’m the CEO of Askdata: we make data searchable to everyone through natural language.
What unique challenges did you meet and overcome in this journey?
We started our journey in 2014 with the obsession of making data access as simple as searching for a restaurant on Google. We are radically changing how people can interact with data on a daily basis. In order to do that we have to overcome different technical challenges from Data Science and user experience points of view.
What is Askdata and how does it fit into a Technology stack?
With Askdata users can ask questions in natural language such as “show my revenue in 2019” and get the answer right away. With Askdata your analytics become searchable and easily accessible for all your employees increasing daily usage and boosting data ROI.
Tell us how the NLP-based analytics market has evolved over the last 12-18 months?
Some of the largest analytics companies are introducing natural language querying capabilities but this feature is not something that can be easily recreated. We started in 2014 and we have accumulated a solid data network effect and turned into our competitive edge. Our models are trained with millions of interactions and the more users we get on the platform, the more precise our understanding of natural language queries becomes. Moreover, we’re obsessed with privacy and anonymization that has been one of the design imperatives since the very beginning of the development.
What titles and geographies are you currently targeting? How hard is it to acquire and retain customers in your industry?
We’re targeting primarily the US and EMEA but we’re collecting a lot of interest from Japan. Sales cycles are long but we have a strategy to simplify the onboarding. We’ll launch data communities where users can interact and search across open datasets with no effort.
What are the unique opportunities for NLP-based enterprise customers? How does Askdata help such companies make sense of all the data and analytics?
The biggest opportunity for the NLP-based software is the Speed: Speed of interaction. Speed of providing value for the end-user and speed of deployment across the organization. That’s why we represent the company with the “thunder” icon. We’re in love with the speed of getting actionable insights from “unseen” data.
What are your benchmarks in AI ML capabilities? How do your customers respond to them?
Customers have different expectations of AI–ML capability and this is an additional challenge. We provide a proprietary methodology to quickly align the expectation to the reality that we created with years of customer-facing experience.
What do you think about the fine combination of NLP, Digital Anthropologists and Data Scientists in the modern Marketing world?
The best team to deploy an NLP-driven service is a combination of Digital Anthropologists and Data Scientists. I would add UX Designer to the dream-team because designing cognitive friendly experience is a success factor for successful adoption and scale of the service. That is also the reason why we manically curate how we display answers to queries, especially on mobile.
How does all the buzz around AI ML and Automation help to sell more content to customers?
Hype is not positive because creates cognitive noise. Companies who create tangible value will stay in the business and will survive the hype
Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use at Askdata?
We are definitely a data-driven company. Every interaction matters: for the website we use Google Analytics, Amplitude, HubSpot. In Sales, we use multiple software but we prefer a little bit less automation and more customization in that case. For the Product, we use a proprietary event system that is optimized to serve every customer in a unique way.
What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in AI-based enterprise tools for 2019-2024?
By 2024, more than 50 percent of analytical queries will be generated via search, Natural Language Processing (NLP) or Voice, or will be automatically generated. The need to explore data and make the analysis accessible to everyone within the organization will foster even wider and faster adoption.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Business Leader?
AI is a tool that can be deployed to create new services transforming the customer and the employee experience. The main parading shift driven is proactiveness and smarter automation.
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
I ask my team to anticipate the future and make the technology being perceived as “personal”.
One word that best describes how you work.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
Meditation. I fall in love with the task I’m doing.
What are you currently reading?
The meditations of Marcus Aurelius on a Kindle iPhone app
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Not all the members of your team have the same speed. Iterate and improve the performance of every single person.
Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
I get the maximum from the resources I have.
Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read
Rita Sallam, Carlie Idoine, Carla Gentry, Kirk Borne, Ben Lorica
Thank you, Simone! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Simone Di Somma is a Founder and CEO at Askdata. Before founding Askdata, Simone worked at Philip Morris and Hewlett-Packard across Europe, Middle-East and the US with a primary focus on Advanced Analytics. Simone has been a passionate speaker at various events about the benefits of AI and how this technology will transform the way enterprises do their business.
Askdata empower everyone to experience the thrill of getting to the data answer faster. Allowing your employee and customers to find and understand what information is at their disposal, and giving them the ability to analyze data from more sources and easily deliver business insights, is now reachable.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.