Frequently asked questions

As we’ve spent time talking with people, the same questions pop up again and again. People often want to know—how can Narrative Science and Quill improve their business and their lives? So, we captured a few of these questions and their answers here.

Narrative Science

We're an enterprise software company based in Chicago, with offices in New York, D.C. and Seattle. We started as an artificial intelligence research project at Northwestern University and quickly grew into an industry innovator focused on helping enterprise companies like yours use the power of storytelling to drive better business decisions, transforming your data into an actionable asset that you can use to improve your business. To date, we’ve raised over $43 million in funding. 

You’re challenged to turn your wealth of data into an asset. You want your people to spend their time on tasks that bring greater value to your business. You want to make your data and insights more accessible to everyone within your organization, and give more people the ability to act on it. 

You also want a technology partner that can get you up and running fast, and provide exceptional support and experiences every step of the way. We can help. 

Our customers include enterprise organizations such as USAA, MasterCard, Deloitte, Credit Suisse, Groupon, Nuveen Investments, PricewaterhouseCoopers, IN-Q-TEL, Dominion Dealer Solutions, and American Century Investments—and members of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Our partners include a rapidly growing ecosystem of leading technology companies, resellers, and alliance partners who seamlessly integrate, implement, service and sell our technology. See our partners page for a current list. 

Yes! We’re always looking for intelligent, talented and passionate people to join our team. If you’re looking for a flexible, energetic and inspiring environment, we invite you to explore an opportunity with us. 

Our platform, artificial intelligence & Advanced NLG

Quill is our patented Advanced Natural Language Generation (Advanced NLG) platform, powered by artificial intelligence, that automatically creates human-sounding data-driven communications at enterprise scale. 

Quill understands your intent—the story to be told—and analyzes the data to understand what’s most interesting and important. Then, it transforms data into Intelligent Narratives, using natural, conversational language anyone can understand. So virtually anyone can use the insights Quill communicates and act on them. 

And Quill is unique in that it has the ability to learn and adapt to your communication needs and style, writing in the tone of your business. 

Artificial intelligence is technology aimed at doing things typically done by people. Specifically, people acting intelligently, such as using language to communicate complex ideas, explanations and series of events, as well as understand them when told to us by others. 

Codifying that experience, we’ve created the proprietary technology platform that we call Quill. Powered by artificial intelligence, Quill generates narratives that mimic this process in a natural sounding way, indistinguishable from human writing—yet created at a scale not possible by humans. 

Natural Language Generation (NLG) is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that automatically produces language from structured data. There are different types of NLG systems in use today—from basic, templated systems to the more sophisticated and advanced. 

Basic NLG automatically translates data into text. In order to turn that text into meaningful stories, you are responsible for writing templates and creating rules to add context to the text. 

Advanced NLG uses intent, or what you want to know, as its guide from the very beginning. Using advanced analytics, it assesses the data to identify what’s important to you, then transforms those insights into automated, actionable, human-sounding narratives at machine scale. Quill is an Advanced NLG system.

With Basic NLG, you are required to do the writing and the heavy lifting. With Advanced NLG, you tell the system what you want—your need or intent. The system understands and does the heavy lifting for you.

Fundamentally, NLP reads while NLG writes. NLP systems look at language and figure out what ideas are being communicated. NLG systems start with structured data, analyze it, then transform the insights into natural language. 

Data & analysis

Quill consumes structured data in any of the most common forms (JSON, XML, CSV, etc.).

Yes. Quill can consume data from disparate data tables and databases. Quill will aggregate the data, perform its analysis and calculations and produce a more concise dataset, then use this dataset to write the narrative.  

You can deliver data via our web services API for on-demand processing. If you’re an on-premise customer, Quill can retrieve data directly from your owned data center or a managed cloud environment. 

If you utilize our SaaS offering, data is processed in our database hosted in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, an extremely reliable and secure cloud computing environment that enables you to deliver data quickly and securely. When you utilize our on-premise offering, you have full control of your data, as it’s processed within your own managed environment. 

Yes. We take data security very seriously and use industry standard encryption protocols to assure that data traveling to and from its hosted infrastructure will not be compromised. We have achieved certifications in SOC 2 compliance and conduct an annual third party audit to validate the security of our infrastructure. 

Access to our servers and the Quill application is restricted to valid personnel through firm access control protocols and firewalls. We also offer on-premise deployment options if you want full control over security features or are hesitant to hand over data to a third-party service provider.

Quill performs a range of descriptive and advanced analytics entirely dependent on your intent. By understanding the purpose of your communication, identifying the metrics to meet that purpose, performing the analysis to figure out what is most interesting and important, and pulling in the relevant data, Quill generates a narrative to your intended audience that is indistinguishable from what a human would write. 

Yes. We host Quill in Amazon’s Platform as a Service offering, Amazon Web Services, allowing us to quickly scale our infrastructure in response to your needs. You interact with the hosted platform only when sending data, retrieving stories and reviewing Intelligent Narratives. Our team of experienced Solutions Consultants work with you and Quill to produce your narratives. 

Yes. If you want full control over security features, or are hesitant to hand over data to a third-party service provider, the full stack of Quill services can be installed within your managed environment. This allows narrative generation to take place without your data ever being exposed to a public network. Quill can be deployed into either a customer-owned data center or a customer managed cloud environment. 

Intelligent Narratives

Intelligent Narratives are the stories Quill writes. Powered by our Advanced NLG software, they’re automated, data-driven narratives created at enterprise scale, written in human-sounding language that’s easy to read and relate to—so you don’t have to rely on analytic experts or data scientists to translate the insights, or manually interpret them yourself. 

Intelligent Narratives communicate the information that’s most important and relevant to you or your audience, specific to your role, industry or challenge. They go beyond simply reporting numbers that tell you what’s happening in your data. Intelligent Narratives explain what’s happening and offer complete transparency into how they arrive at those explanations.

Quill can produce Intelligent Narratives about virtually any topic, as long as that information is rooted in quantifiable data. The platform can produce diverse written assets directly from data—including BI reports, regulatory reporting, customer communications and much more. Narratives are adaptable to the desired length, tone and style, depending on the intended audience.  

Yes. Quill is able to learn and adapt, producing Intelligent Narratives that meets the voice and tone requirements of reports and communications you’re already producing. And it can be styled to meet your particular communication or business need, using bullet points, long-form prose and more. 

The rate at which Quill produces content varies depending on the size and complexity of the data. However, in most cases, narratives are produced immediately.

Narratives can be generated in a variety of formats, including Word, PDF, HTML, JSON, XML or plain text. They can also be delivered when you initiate an API call for on-demand delivery. Quill’s narratives can be published on websites, mobile, social, business intelligence platforms and any application that can connect to our API.

Yes. You can request that Quill create tables to go with your narrative. Or the narratives can be used along with your existing charts and graphs to further explain or provide greater context.

Narratives for BI

Narratives for Business Intelligence (BI) are a suite of Advanced NLG extensions for BI and analytics platforms. These extensions allow our Intelligent Narratives to be natively embedded into the BI platform, dynamically explaining the insights within the data and visualizations. Available as an API, all BI and analytics vendors can now seamlessly integrate narratives into their platform, making data insights accessible to more people and more valuable for the business at large.

Several innovative partners are currently using Narratives within their platforms. See our partners page for the latest list.

If your BI and analytics platform is already a partner of ours, check out our partners page to download and install the Narrative extension directly into your platform. If you are a BI and analytics company interested in seamlessly integrating Advanced NLG capabilities into your platform, contact us to learn more about our API offering.

Getting started

It depends on the length and complexity of the desired narrative, the size and complexity of the data, and whether Quill is familiar with the domain. Other factors include the availability of required data and ability to meet data specifications. If you don’t have those resources, our professional services team is happy to help.

We would love to talk with you and show you the power of Quill. Please contact us, request a demo or check out our various solutions to learn how Quill can be applied to increase employee productivity, improve customer engagement, drive innovation and achieve compliance.  

To see Quill in action, you can request a demo, check out our resource page to view a variety of Intelligent Narratives, or try our Narratives for BI extensions (if you have Qlik Sense, Tableau, Microsoft Power BI or SAP BusinessObjects Lumira) or our Quill Engage for Google Analytics application. 

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