Those of us who live in cold, icy parts of the world know that a pothole is a broken section of pavement that results in a hole – sometimes a deep one. Potholes in the road are created by repeated freezing and thawing. They slow motorists down and can cause vehicle damage and accidents.

pothole.jpg

As anyone involved in BI (business intelligence) projects can attest, potholes abound in BI as well. A couple of these potholes have to do with BI project ownership and collaboration across the organization. For example:

  • IT and non-IT are mis-aligned. It sometimes works like this: business users need insights from data so they request BI software from IT. They ask for software that is flexible, easy to use, and self-service. IT asks the requestors what questions they want to be able to answer. The business users often don’t know, exactly. The IT team agrees to a project and applies a waterfall methodology using stages like definition, development, test, and go-live. By the time the solution is live it no longer answers the questions the requestors had, or business requirements have changed. Business users complain that the project took too long and the solution performs too slowly or only serves as a data source for Excel analysis. As a result of this mis-alignment, frustration abounds.
  • The project lacks executive sponsorship or business ownership. We see organizations achieve the greatest success when a business team has the budget and builds a business case and then approaches IT for help coming up with a technical solution. In this case, the group that needs a business problem solved makes the final decision about which software to deploy. The project has top management support. An executive who is close to the business problems that led to exploration of BI in the first place is closely involved to ensure funding, make final decisions on sticky topics, and drive adoption throughout the organization. This executive can also help set the tone for what is inevitably a change – the intelligence in BI reveals the good, the bad, and the ugly. Some people will feel unrewarded by this exposure regardless of the positive impact for the organization as a whole.

In the most modern enterprises (what we call the “new enterprise,”) IT is seen and treated as an important enabler of other parts of the business, rather than as separate from the business. The role of IT in BI shifts from being the providers of BI to serving as the enablers of BI. IT’s role is not to create all the dashboards and reports business users might possibly need; rather, it is to ensure security, compliance, and auditability, and to provision users with high-quality data, excellent performance, and self-service. When IT and non-IT are closely aligned and the BI project has executive sponsorship and business ownership, BI projects have the greatest chance of success.

(This article is the first in a multi-part series featuring insights from many BI experts at QlikTech: Chaitanya Avasarala, Miguel Angel Baeyens, Gary Beach, David P. Braune, Greg Brooks, Annette Jonker, John Linehan, Brad Peterman, Olaf Rasenberg, Mike Saliter, Chris Sault, Matthew Stephen, Christof Schwarz, and Mark Wine. Stay tuned for more!)

One of the core characteristics that makes QlikView unique is the associative experience. In this video, QlikTech CTO and Sr. VP Products Anthony Deighton demos QlikView’s associative search capability. Using the Sales Management and Customer Analysis demo app, which you can find on our demo site, Anthony shows the central capability that drives the associative experience: the green (user’s selections), white (all associated data), and gray (all data excluded from the selections). 

Anthony shows the way QlikView enables direct and indirect search and users can search for an expression (e.g., show me all products with sales greater than one million dollars) rather than for a specific value. He also shows QlikView enabling the user to explore data in new ways using the comparative analysis capability we released in QlikView 11. With just a couple of clicks a user can identify target customers that have purchased certain sets of products but have not purchased other sets.

QlikView doesn’t restricts the user; users can click anywhere, go anywhere, all the while seeing how data elements are related across the entire QlikView app. With QlikView, business users conduct searches and interact with dynamic dashboards and analytics from any device. Users can gain unexpected insights because QlikView works the way peoples’ minds work. It delivers answers as fast as users can think up questions.

As part of our investment in the QlikTech customer experience, we recently hired a customer satisfaction consultancy to interview several hundred QlikTech customers about their experiences working with us. One of the questions we asked was whether the customer would recommend QlikView to others, and if so why. Here are a dozen of my favorite answers.

QlikView on a heart.png

  1. “It is easy to use and implement through the business. It's nice to look at. It provides answers  - and non-answers, which make you question and delve further.”
  2. “It's an amazing way of getting data and improving the accessibility of data.”
  3. “It provides structure for data and ease of use for users to investigate the structure.”
  4. “I would recommend strongly because of the benefits it has given my business and because of the product's capabilities. There's nothing I would put up against it.”
  5. “I would strongly recommend, as the best benefit is that it saves time.”
  6. “I would recommend strongly because of the fact that it is user driven.”
  7. “QlikView is an innovative BI solution.”
  8. “There isn't another product like it - it delivers ‘what it says on the tin.’ It is a quick and economical way to deliver quality information that you can react with. It doesn't need a large technical team to run it.”
  9. “Our users are very satisfied with QlikView. They can make selections and dynamically change data; it is a revelation compared to our previous methods of reporting.”
  10. “Its ease of use and flexibility and the fact that it can handle huge quantities of data. It is also good value for money.”
  11. “It can take you from not having a tool to being able to push your ideas - by using the data you can see the processes you're trying to impact.”
  12. “I don't think there is anything else I would recommend like I do QlikView - it is such a powerful tool.”

What about you – what are the reasons why you <3 QlikView?

Erica Driver

QlikView and the Cloud

Posted by Erica Driver Aug 14, 2012

The demand for and implementation of virtualization technologies within organizations during the last few years has revealed significant savings and reduced risk for many businesses and IT teams. Utilizing the cloud is the next logical step beyond internal virtualization. Improvements in network bandwidth, and cultural demand from users to be able to take their services and content with them wherever they go, are making organizations reconsider how they deliver IT services to their users.

QlikView and the Cloud COVER IMAGE July 2012.PNG

The use of cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) represents a huge growth area in the IT industry, with many analysts predicting growth. According to Forrester Research, the SaaS space will grow significantly during the next five years to reach total revenues of 92.8 billion USD by 2016 — accounting for roughly 26% of the total packaged software market. And this doesn’t include infrastructure as a service (IaaS), business process as a service (BPaaS) – the whole market will be even bigger: the total public cloud market will grow to $159.3 billion in 2020.*

The range of benefits offered by using cloud services and the maturity of the key cloud vendors is driving adoption. Benefits of the cloud include fast implementation, user-friendly experience, IT infrastructure support not required, ease of leveraging cloud-based data, and automatic, seamless upgrades. When cloud offerings are licensed to customers on a term basis (e.g., per month or per year), this can result in cost savings, which is a key motivation for adoption. Delivering solutions as a service offers easy opt-in/opt-out and enables customers to turn what were capital expenses into operating expenses.

Many QlikView customers are now looking to the cloud deployment and/or SaaS licensing to provide Business Discovery to their users. We recently published a QlikView Technology White Paper that discusses a variety of cloud and SaaS options, “QlikView in the Cloud.” Click here to download (registration required).

 

* Source: Forrester Research, “Sizing the Cloud,” April 21, 2011 (available to Forrester subscribers or for purchase).

Been wondering what’s cooking in QlikTech’s Products organization? Donald Farmer, our VP of Product Management, recently published a video in which he shares his views about the next generation of QlikView coming down the pike. We have made decisions about what to focus on with “QlikView.next,” the next generation of QlikView, based on changes in the relationship between people and technology, and the emerging prevalence of touch screen devices (on desktops as well as mobile devices).

The five themes of “QlikView.next” are:

  • Gorgeous and genius. It will be an emotionally attractive interface that encourages people to explore data. It will be a natural, rich, engaging experience. And we will take the associative experience we have built to date and extend this to become more comparative and also predictive.
  • Mobility with agility. We are focused on the agile use of mobile devices for Business Discovery. People take mobile devices into new situations and contexts so they can ask and answer new questions while they are out on the road.
  • Compulsive collaboration. Why compulsive? People can’t help being collaborative. We need to make collaboration support multiple ways of working together. As Donald says, “When your mother said ‘Share!’ she didn’t mean ‘publish.’ She meant share – work with your peers and engage with other people.”
  • The premier platform. We want to expose all the functionality of QlikView through APIs so any partner or customer can manipulate, extend, and enhance it. We want QlikView to be the heart of an ecosystem, facilitated by a marketplace.
  • Enabling the new enterprise. It’s about making capabilities like security, reliability, and scalability available to any customer, not just the large ones. We want to make QlikView extremely easy to administer and give administrators the same kind of gorgeous and genius experience other users get.

The next generation of QlikView will be a radical change and we are excited about its ability to simplify decisions for everywhere. We hope you share this excitement. (For more info about "QlikView.next," see the QlikView white paper, The Vision for QlikView.next.)

When it comes to Big Data, lots of media focus and attention is on the software “factories” that process vast volumes and types of data (e.g., structured, unstructured, and semi-structured).  By software factories I mean technologies like Hadoop, Google BigQuery, and NoSQL. Another way to think of these technologies is as the “Big Data backbone,” to use a telecom analogy. (See the related blog post, “The Last-Mile Challenge of Big Data.”) They are critical infrastructure.

Assuming the infrastructure is in place, then what? Once Big Data has been processed, how do business users begin to derive value from it? I mean the traders and portfolio managers in financial services; billing analysts assessing inputs from gas or water utility smart meters; marketing and advertising managers assessing usage, click-through rates, and location optimization for online properties; and scientists looking for genomics and bioengineering breakthroughs in the pharmaceuticals industry. How do they get value from Big Data? 

Insights come from Big Data context.png

They get value when what’s relevant in the Big Data is joined with data extracted from other meaningful sources (e.g., enterprise applications and data warehouses, departmental databases, spreadsheets, cloud data sources, etc.). When users can see the Big Data in context with other data, and can click around at will, always able to see what’s associated – and, importantly, what’s not associated – they can begin to identify meaningful patterns and outliers and are on their way to valuable insights.

Want to learn more? Download the QlikView Technology White Paper, QlikView and Big Data (click here to download).

Last week we announced that QlikTech joined the Google Cloud Platform partner program. This program aims to help technology providers use and build solutions upon Google’s cloud platform. Taking advantage of this new partnership, QlikView customers and partners can create Business Discovery apps and solutions that take advantage of the power of the Google cloud infrastructure.

A great example of QlikTech working with the Google Cloud Platform is the QlikView Google BigQuery integration (see videos below).

 

In partnership with Google, we created a custom connector and an extension object providing seamless integration between QlikView and the BigQuery platform. Google BigQuery enables developers and business users to quickly and easily gain business insights from massive amounts of data without any hardware or software investments. (I wrote about our BigQuery integration in this earlier blog post: “Insight from Big Data with QlikView and Google BigQuery.”)

At QlikTech we team with leading technology vendors such as Google to provide our customers with powerful, integrated Business Discovery capabilities. We are thrilled with our technology partners as we collaborate with innovators who share our belief in simplicity and self-service. These integrated solutions help us achieve our mission: Simplify decisions for everyone everywhere!

At a time when the UK is engulfed in Olympics excitement, it’s easy to overlook other items on the news agenda. But recent reports on the state of the UK economy are showing a slowdown in GDP (gross domestic product) growth, causing great concern about what the future holds for businesses in the UK. (Check the National Institute Economic Review publication on Friday August 3rd for detailed forecasts of the UK and world economies.)

We created an analytic app called Discovering UK Growth to serve as a source of input for the debate surrounding the UK economy. We used publicly-available data from Companies House, the UK’s official register of businesses. (Click this link to interact with the app – or check out the YouTube video below.)

The Discovering UK Growth app sends you on a self-guided, interactive journey through UK business history since 1988. The destination? Insights to help UK business leaders and entrepreneurs make investment decisions. Check it out – you can explore data about fuel prices, interest and exchange rates, and GDP. 

Here are a few of the insights we uncovered as we explored the data:

  • Business creation declines during times of change and unrest. The UK’s best month for business creation since 1988 was March 2007, roughly three months before the financial crisis hit the UK. During this time a net 45,000 new companies started up. At the other end of the scale, business creation dipped deeply into negative territory in April 2009 — at the same time as the G20 demonstrations in London and the outbreak of swine flu. Also, business creation declines by just under 20% in the months following the appointment of a new Prime Minister. So maybe budding entrepreneurs should hold off starting a new business during times of unrest.
  • Business creation maps out regionally. That in itself might not be surprising. But you might not have expected Dungannon, Northern Ireland, to be the best place — outside the tax havens — to form a new business. Dungannon boasts a business creation to dissolution ratio of 72%. To put this into perspective, the city of London has a ratio of success to failure of just 31%. Looking to set up in the city? Think again, perhaps.
  • Taxation isn’t necessarily correlated with business creation. While increases in fuel taxes are widely bemoaned in the business community, the app shows these taxes in fact have little effect on business creation. The same can be also said for changes in corporation tax. So if you’re putting off starting your business for fuel or tax reasons, think twice!

We hope that the Discovering UK Growth app will help those reporting on, informing, and ultimately affected by government policy to develop fresh perspectives on recent economic history and, hopefully, also spot business opportunities to help boost the UK economy for a more positive report once the Olympics excitement has subsided. Let us know what interesting insights you find in it!

Filter Blog

By date:
By tag: