No SQL? No Problem! How to Query Your Data Assets with Just a Question

Mastering Snowflake
6 min readApr 18, 2024


Thank you for reading my latest article No SQL? No Problem! How to Query Your Data Assets with Just a Question.

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Mistral AI has gained recognition in the artificial intelligence sector as a developer of advanced large language models (LLMs), focusing on enhancing natural language processing capabilities. Their technology supports a broad spectrum of applications, including automated text generation and complex data analytics. Mistral’s LLMs excel in processing and interpreting extensive text data, offering deep insights and actionable intelligence.

Recently, Snowflake acquired Mistral, signaling a significant enhancement in its AI offerings. This acquisition allows Snowflake to integrate Mistral’s cutting-edge LLM technology directly into its Cortex service, which is dedicated to the development and deployment of LLM applications. Following hot on the heels of the acquisition Snowflake has used Mistral’s know-how to integrate it with Snowflake to produce Snowflake Copilot, a LLM-powered assistant.

Copilot has very recently moved into public preview and offers a transformative approach to generating and refining SQL queries using natural language, a development that signals a significant leap in how data leads and professionals will interact with data systems.

The Evolution of SQL Querying

Historically, the extraction of insights from data repositories has been a formidable challenge, primarily due to the complexity of SQL, especially for business users. However, the introduction of Snowflake Copilot radically simplifies this process. Built on Snowflake’s proprietary Text2SQL model and boosted by Mistral’s advanced large language model technology, Copilot allows users to articulate their data queries in plain English. This marks a critical evolution from the conventional, often cumbersome method of SQL scripting to a more intuitive, conversational interface.

For analysts, the benefits are straightforward: less time spent on query syntax errors and more time focusing on strategic data analysis. The assistant not only generates SQL code based on user queries but also facilitates a dynamic interaction where users can refine their requests, ensuring the insights derived are precisely tuned to the task at hand.

The Business Impact: Empowering Non-Technical Users

While Copilot’s capabilities are set to certainly improve productivity for data professionals, the ultimate beneficiaries are likely to be business users. Snowflake’s initiative seems particularly aimed at democratizing data query abilities, enabling non-technical stakeholders to engage with and derive insights from their data environments without the prerequisite of technical expertise in SQL. This shift not only accelerates decision-making processes but also enhances the data-driven culture within organizations, as more team members can independently interact with data.

Key Benefits of Snowflake Copilot for Business Leaders

  • Enhanced Data Security and Governance: Snowflake Copilot operates securely within Snowflake Cortex, ensuring all data and metadata remain protected. This setup adheres strictly to your organization’s access controls, ensuring insights and interactions are fully compliant with governance standards.
  • Democratization of Data Analysis: With its advanced natural language processing capabilities, Copilot allows even non-technical users to query data simply by asking questions in plain English. This capability extends data analysis tools to a broader audience, empowering business leaders and decision-makers without technical backgrounds.
  • Operational Efficiency and Visibility: Copilot not only speeds up data analysis processes but also provides comprehensive visibility over all queries running on your Snowflake accounts. This oversight allows for better management and optimization of data operations, ensuring that resources are utilized efficiently.
  • User-Friendly Data Exploration: The Copilot interface is designed to be intuitive, promoting higher engagement and more frequent use of data within your organization. Users can explore data, generate and refine SQL queries, and receive guided insights — all facilitated by Copilot in a conversational and interactive manner.

Key Technical Features and Innovations

Snowflake Copilot is not just a user-friendly interface; it’s a robust backend revolution equipped with AI-driven capabilities designed to enhance how data professionals manage and interact with SQL queries.

  • Secure, Managed AI Service: Copilot runs within Snowflake Cortex, providing a secure environment where your data is never exposed outside your controlled ecosystem. This integration ensures that Copilot’s suggestions are not only accurate but also compliant with enterprise security standards.
  • Advanced Natural Language Processing: At its core, Copilot uses sophisticated NLP technology to understand and generate SQL queries from plain English inputs. This capability allows data professionals to quickly translate business questions into actionable data queries, reducing the time spent on manual coding.
  • Query Optimization and Error Correction: Beyond generating SQL, Copilot actively suggests optimizations and corrects errors in existing queries. This proactive approach not only improves query performance but also serves as an educational tool for data professionals, enhancing their SQL skills and knowledge.
  • Visibility and Control: One of Copilot’s standout features for technical users is its ability to provide a clear overview of all SQL queries running across Snowflake accounts. This visibility allows for better resource management, performance tuning, and troubleshooting.

The Future Trajectory and Potential of Snowflake Copilot

Looking forward, the integration of Copilot into Snowflake’s ecosystem presents vast potentials. With the planned introduction of the Text2SQL function programmatically via Snowflake Cortex, the accessibility of data querying is poised to become even more integrated and robust. This suggests a future where Snowflake’s AI-driven tools could become central to enterprise data strategies, potentially leading to a new standard in how data queries are managed across industries.

Moreover, by processing over four billion queries daily, Snowflake has a unique insight into the intricacies of data challenges that enterprises face. This extensive dataset not only fuels Copilot’s efficiency but also ensures its adaptability to complex query requirements, setting a high bar for AI-driven data exploration tools.

Conclusion: A Strategic Move Toward Inclusivity in Data Management

By simplifying the SQL query process, Snowflake not only targets efficiency improvements for data engineers but also broadens the scope of who can interact with data at a deep level. This inclusivity could prove to be a critical advantage in a competitive landscape where data agility and accessibility are paramount.

In summary, Snowflake Copilot represents a significant advancement in the simplification and democratization of data analytics. As this tool moves from public preview to general availability, it will undoubtedly become more accurate as the models which power it improve and are fine-tuned, it will also become more accessible to a wider group of data consumers, profoundly impacting how data is queried and understood by a broader spectrum of users.

To stay up to date with the latest business and tech trends in data and analytics, make sure to subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on LinkedIn, and YouTube, and, if you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into Snowflake check out my books ‘Mastering Snowflake Solutions and SnowPro Core Certification Study Guide’.

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About Adam Morton

Adam Morton is an experienced data leader and author in the field of data and analytics with a passion for delivering tangible business value. Over the past two decades Adam has accumulated a wealth of valuable, real-world experiences designing and implementing enterprise-wide data strategies, advanced data and analytics solutions as well as building high-performing data teams across the UK, Europe, and Australia.

Adam’s continued commitment to the data and analytics community has seen him formally recognised as an international leader in his field when he was awarded a Global Talent Visa by the Australian Government in 2019.

Today, Adam is dedicated to helping his clients to overcome challenges with data while extracting the most value from their data and analytics implementations. You can find out more information by visiting his website here.

He has also developed a signature training program that includes an intensive online curriculum, weekly live consulting Q&A calls with Adam, and an exclusive mastermind of supportive data and analytics professionals helping you to become an expert in Snowflake. If you’re interested in finding out more, check out the latest Mastering Snowflake details.



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