5-in-5 with Global Head of Technical Business Development Nikhil Ninan



1. What does your role entail as Global Head of Technical Business Development?

As Global Head of Technical Business Development I participate in three activities – technical pre-sales, professional services and core technology. I engage on a day-to-day basis with potential clients as a pre-sales technical consultant supporting the sales team globally to understand client problems related to data and reporting. Pre-sales engagements involve building rapid prototypes and managing the development team on rapid prototyping of potential applications to illustrate how Arria NLG’s technology can solve clients’ data reporting issues.  I also spend time working as part of a team delivering on multiple platform projects, performing the role of a data guru. I also work very closely with Arria’s Chief Data Scientist to champion data science internally within the organization as well as define and design the articulate analytics’ vision for Arria’s Core Technology.

2. What excites you about Arria’s NLG technology?

I am excited about Arria technology because it is the only technology in the market that directly addresses the problem of storytelling from data using analytics, NLG and dashboards.

3. Which client solution you are most proud of and why?

That’s a tough one – for me it’s a moment when the end user goes ‘wow!’ and there have been a number of projects where this has happened. The one that first comes to mind is an application we built for one of our clients in the insurance industry, where the Arria NLG system provides summaries of insurance policy sales from millions of sales records as well as root cause analysis. This would have taken an experienced analyst half a day to produce. Another that comes to mind, is an application that we built for an online advertising company to be used by campaign managers. Our system provided not only analysis of weekly performance but also recommendations on how to improve campaign performance. Another one that I am particularly proud of is an application that was built for financial reporting, where the system would analyze general ledger entries and produce a directors’ report on company accounts. In order to do this we had to understand a very tailored version of accounting that was done by the organization and develop an application in just 10 weeks.

4. What would be your ideal Use Case and why?

An NLG application that is used by thousands of users, providing tailored and insightful reporting on a regular basis.  An application that requires scalability – both in terms of data volume as well as numbers of reports, automatable expert domain knowledge/process – for the analysis and interpretation and tailor-ability. In essence, reports for multiple audiences from the same data.

5. How is Arria pushing the boundaries of the NLG technology?

Imagine you have all the data analysis algorithms at your disposal, churning out information – now imagine if you can give a voice to it. A voice that can contextualize, summarize and explain all the information in natural language. At Arria we are constantly researching effective means of combining Data Analysis with natural language generation – Articulate Analytics. It’s not just the case of converting each and every insight from numerous data analysis algorithms into text but contextualizing each insight in terms of the overall story and constantly evolving the story being told as well as the key underlying insights being communicated. We are pushing the boundaries of this combination, creating software that can automatically explain outputs from machine learning or data-mining algorithms.

Author: Nikhil Ninan,  Senior Data Scientist at Arria NLG

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