• Blog
April 19, 2019

NLG Software: 6 Reasons Why Buying is Better Than Building

By: Keelin McDonell

Choosing the right software for your business is never an easy decision. You likely have a million questions running through your head related to features, licensing, hosting, cost, and the time it will take to see a return.

In addition to these questions, companies with internal development resources might ask themselves, “Hey, why don’t we just build it ourselves?”

But when it comes to natural language generation, building your own software is rarely as simple as it seems. If you’re thinking of investing in natural language generation software, be sure to pay attention to these six reasons why buying is better than building:

1) Expertise

A common misconception is that natural language generation is the process of creating a few sentence templates and plugging in the right variables. That’s certainly one way to do it, but you won’t engage the reader or uncover much insight that way.

Business writers know that in order to engage an audience, you need to prioritize the most important information and couple it with relevant contextual data. And for most writers — whether they be a marketer or data analyst — determining what’s most important in any given data set requires years of on-the-job training and industry knowledge.

Imagine painstakingly, and from the ground up, transferring that information into code. Where do you even start? The value of an intelligent automation platform like Quill is that it comes with highly developed tools that ensure your automated content is dynamic and responsive to your data, so you’re spending more time thinking about effective communication, not effective coding.

2) Service

Writing reports and memos is a large part of most white collar jobs. But how many workers are truly passionate about this work? Sure, the information is valuable and the communication is essential, but the process is time-consuming and often mind-numbing.

Building your own NLG script might seem like an appealing way to automate this process, but without an advanced platform like Quill, your analysts, writers, and developers will be stuck in a cycle of never ending iteration and code releases. If you truly want to free up the time of your key knowledge workers, you need to let the experts do the grunt work for you.

Part of your partnership with Narrative Science ensures that you also get a team of NLG specialists with vertical expertise in your industry. We ensure Quill suits your reporting requirements and update the system as your needs change over time. You bring the data; we’ll take care of the rest — freeing your employees to do higher-value work that drives your business forward.

3) Scale

If you’re considering an investment in NLG technology, you’ve probably evaluated multiple problems or departments where the software can be applied. But have you thought about how you would scale your NLG technology across these different needs?

  • The weekly marketing reports that are published in Word;
  • The monthly sales reports that need to be broken out across hundreds of regional offices (and embedded in a dashboard in XML);
  • The operational status update that needs to be written for your executive team;
  • The data visualizations that are generated by the analytics team in your BI platform;
  • The customer communication that needs to be sent to millions, but still includes a personalized message for each individual

Are you prepared to build a system that can handle all of these disparate use cases with ease?

It’s a tall order indeed. At Narrative Science, we’ve spent nearly a decade building a system flexible enough to accommodate this level of customization and scale.

4) Time to Market

If your boss tells you that your business needs NLG yesterday, rounding up your internal development team to create a product from scratch will never meet the deadline. Design work for even a simple (and singular) solution is likely to take many months and involve dozens of your top resources, from engineers to database administrators to analysts.

Or, in weeks or days, you could be using Quill for your reporting needs and putting your top talent on other high priority initiatives.

5) Support

If your business is like most of our customers’, you’ve made a strategic investment in improving and growing your data and analytics practices. As a result, your reporting is likely changing at the same time. That means that any report automation needs to be flexible enough to change with you.

Without an intelligent automation platform, changes become bogged down in indecipherable code and stuck in the slower release cadence of most engineering teams. Quill, on the other hand, is built for business users, making on-demand changes a cinch.

Additionally, if your organization uses TableauQlik Sense, or Microsoft Power BI, we have out-of-the-box extensions that natively embed plain-English stories into data visualizations.

6) Evolution

Narrative Science is entirely dedicated to leading the NLG market with our platform, Quill. Unlike a one-time ad hoc application, we are continually introducing new features and new versions of our software, allowing us to evolve alongside our customers and their needs.

If you’re thinking of investing in advanced NLG for your business, these 6 reasons clearly spell out why Quill is the best choice for your reporting needs, your people, and your business goals.

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