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Alation looks to boost data intelligence with Lyngo Analytics

Fresh off a big funding round, Alation seeks to enable users to benefit from data catalogs with technology that will translate natural language queries into SQL.

Alation said on Thursday it acquired privately held startup Lyngo Analytics.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Based in Los Altos, Calif., Lyngo Analytics is a stealth stage startup that is building out capabilities to help improve data insights.

The vendor's key innovation is a machine learning-based technology for natural language processing (NLP) that translates inquiries into SQL queries. The acquisition is the first for Alation since it raised $110 million in funding in June to grow its data intelligence platform.

Alation's acquisition of Lyngo is in line with advances Alation has been making in its core catalog product, said IDC analyst Stewart Bond. He noted that among Alation's recent releases is a data governance tool that uses data intelligence provided by the catalog.

"The innovation of Lyngo Analytics is in its ability to turn natural language into SQL queries, but it cannot do so without gathering data intelligence," Bond said. "Lyngo Analytics will have access to data intelligence in the Alation catalog, and Alation will have access to the intelligence of Lyngo and its co-founders to enhance the usability of Alation for business and technical users now, and in the future as more intelligent app experiences are built to leverage the catalog."

Boosting data intelligence

Technology from Lyngo will help Alation build out its data intelligence platform in several areas.

The innovation of Lyngo Analytics is in its ability to turn natural language into SQL queries, but it cannot do so without gathering data intelligence.
Stewart BondAnalyst, IDC

"We see Lyngo Analytics' technology helping us both launch new applications next year, but also enhancing and improving some of the existing apps that we've got to deliver more value to business and non-technical users," said Raj Gossain, chief product officer at Alation.

In terms of augmenting existing applications, Alation's data catalog technology is one likely use case for Lyngo.

Gossain said that with NLP from Lyngo Analytics, users could get enhanced data search. The new technology from the startup will translate queries into SQL that will pull data from the data catalog to help answer users' questions.

Making Alation Compose smarter for data intelligence

Alation's namesake data intelligence platform integrates different components including data catalog and data governance. It also includes the Alation Compose module, an SQL editor for data exploration.

Gossain noted that while Alation Compose is a useful tool, it hasn't been widely accessible to users.

"The power of that tool has previously been only available to people who know how to write SQL or build on top of SQL that that others have written," Gossain said. "Now we can enable anybody to start to ask questions and learn SQL, because that's a core part of that Lyngo does. It's actually translating those questions into well-formed SQL, and then getting results."

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