We’re Heading To IP Expo – Europe’s No.1 Enterprise Event

It’s official, Ometis are heading to this year’s IP Expo, Europe’s leading enterprise event, at Excel London from 4 – 5 October.

We’ll be joining more than 300 exhibitors as the must-attend IT event of the year for CIOs, heads of IT and insight leaders. IP Expo is a platform for exclusive content and senior-level discussion topics, and we’re happy to announce we’ll be joined by Qlik to host a seminar session.

The annual event is an important part of the Ometis calendar and incorporates expert opinion and knowledge around analytics and IoT, key factors in the understanding and capturing of business data. We’ll see you inside the Analytics area on stand KK17, make sure you pop by.

We’ve also organised a special appearance by Qlik Director of Retail & Services Market Development, Paul Winsor, who’ll be hosting a seminar session on discovering the value in IoT Data.

It is estimated there will be over 20x connected devices per person on the planet by 2020, and anything from 50-200 billion IoT devices. That’s a lot of data being generated from IoT ecosystems. The challenge will be making all that data accessible and understandable to start extracting value from it all. Paul will explain how Qlik are making this happen at 2.40pm on Thursday 4th October inside the Analytics Theatre.

While we’re there, we’ll be taking the opportunity to discuss Qlik’s various products and complementary platforms that ensure you get the most from your software. These include Narratives for Qlik and NodeGraph and we’ll have a number of pre-set demos that showcase the power of Qlik, with true data visualisation at the touch of a button.

If you’re heading to this year’s IP Expo in London, come and say hello – we’ll have a few goodies to give away and plenty of charm and wit to make your visit worth it.

Don’t despair if you’re not attending this year’s event either, we’ll keep you up-to-date over the official Ometis social channels, so get following! We’ll also have a complete IP Expo review to follow so you won’t feel too left out.

 

By Ross Greig

Qlik Sense Subscription Model Announced

The long-awaited subscription model for Qlik Sense was announced in July and offers a more flexible way for businesses to utilise the ground-breaking platform.

As an elite Qlik partner, we’re delighted Qlik have introduced this subscription model. It’s only for Qlik Sense at the moment but will provide a greater reach for the invaluable services the Qlik platform provides.

I know some of our existing Qlik customers and members of the Qlik community have been eagerly awaiting this subscription pricing. The new model works in the same way as a perpetual license and can be deployed either in the cloud or on-premise.

Pricing is staggered based on the number of users and there are some subtle differences to the perpetual licenses, which we’d be happy to discuss. Please get in touch with the team at Ometis to find out more about subscription pricing.

It’s an important scheme as the subscription model will help companies by reducing barriers to entry, enabling more businesses to utilise the innovative and efficient Qlik Sense platform.  The model’s flexibility to easily and cost-effectively increase or decrease subscribers will be a huge draw to new businesses eager to unlock the information their business data holds.

Not only does the new subscription price include maintenance, which entitles users to the latest versions of the Qlik Sense software, it will also free up budgets in Year One to deploy more services and ensure a successful implementation.

The subscription model may only be available for Qlik Sense at the moment but we hope to see services such as NPrinting and GeoAnalytics have some type of subscription service later in 2017 or early 2018. Qlik Sense users still have the option to buy perpetual licenses as well and we do not expect to see this taken away.

If you would like to know about the Qlik Sense services under the new subscription model, please get in touch with us by calling +44 (0)330 363 9900, or emailing me direct at andy.patrick@ometis.co.uk . Alternatively you can click here and filling out the contact form.

By Andy Patrick

Trends in the BI Marketplace

Data is entrenched within business processes and decisions. In today’s digital world, it’s imperative to organisations across the globe and a controlling factor in whether a business achieves success and continues to grow, efficiently and sustainably.

Companies that have already harnessed the power of data have secured a hugely competitive advantage and generated innovation that’s enabled positioning above their competitors. It wasn’t long ago that obtaining, digesting and distributing business data was a full-time role, perhaps even a full team’s role, but the previous decade has seen unparalleled development in business intelligence, its collation and readability.

Never before has so much data been available so swiftly and simply, and no more simply than via the ground-breaking Qlik platform. As an official Qlik partner and BI consultancy, we enjoy divulging the latest news and evolutions – that’s why we want to share our expectations for digital BI over the coming months and years.

So, we teamed up with Qlik for the recent Qlik Sense Tour to collate some predictions which include AI, hybrid clouds and the death of ‘big data’… read on to find out why.

INTERACTIVE VISUAL RENDERING

The first big trend that’s taking hold is the move from basic visual rendering to context-driven visual analytics, which will enable simpler visualisation of every aspect of your data.

It means an end to consuming only the data you can see, the end result of a set of queries in report format. Instead you can visualise the data throughout preparation and acquisition, while seeing and understanding its lineage – and the whole process will be presented in an easy-to-digest visual format.

This trend is driven by organisations becoming more data literate, and leaving the ones that aren’t behind. According to MIT and Emerson University, data literacy “includes the ability to read, work with, analyse and argue with data” and that only comes with true visualisation.

DEATH OF ‘BIG DATA’

The second trend is data consumption. Combining data sources is where the true value lies and this has become easier, faster and generally more efficient in recent years. Easy access to higher quality data is going to drive a change in the way we consider ‘Big Data’.

Most ‘Big Data’ projects have met with limited success. Throwing the data into a data lake, or hoarding it with no clear purpose is inefficient. That’s always been our opinion at both Ometis and Qlik but Gartner validates this further by explaining that, through 2018, 90% of deployed data lakes will be useless as they are overwhelmed with information assets captured with no clear plan.

That’s the key here. It’s great having lots of data but you must still make sense of it. It’s not about size but combinations of different data sources, regardless of where the data is coming from. It’s why Gartner is predicting that by 2019, 75% of analytics solutions will incorporate 10 or more external data sources, and that 100% of enterprises will purchase external data.

AI… BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT

We are beginning to see focus shift from ‘advanced analytics’ to ‘advancing analytics’… or from BI to AI but not necessarily AI as you may know it! Let us explain…

Advanced analytics will continue to expand in companies and the market in general, we know the creation of data models is dependent on highly-skilled experts, as is the governance of creations of these data models. However, many more people should be able to benefit from those models once they are created, enabling them to be brought into self-service tools.

There is clearly something going on in the area of Artificial Intelligence. People are talking about Deep Learning and Machine Learning and in fact, Artificial Intelligence is the new ‘Big Data’.  We believe analytics can be advanced by increased intelligence being added into software but to really make the most of AI, it needs to compliment and assist rather than replace.

We know it’s as important to ask the right questions as it is to get the right answers. Processes like synthesis, non-linear thinking, and asking the right question, as well as instincts will continue to be provided by humans. The sweet spot will be the combination of human reasoning with machine learning and the result will be better data literacy and faster delivery.

HYBRID CLOUDS

The final trend we want to talk about here is the move from on-premise to cloud hosting – and this trend may surprise you but we believe the mass move to the cloud will peak in 2017.

The battles between public cloud infrastructures like Amazon, Google and Microsoft will continue to heat up. After all, their ultimate goal is to own all the data and processes, but the single-stack approach didn’t work out on-premise and we don’t see it being much different in the cloud.

Workloads, data, publishing – these things need to sit in many places. That’s why we believe Hybrid Cloud Analytics will emerge as the dominant design, where platform-based, visual analytics is available on-premise and/or in the cloud publicly or privately depending on the customers’ specific needs.

 CONCLUSION

There are exciting times ahead in the realms of data. It’s clear that direct access to data will ignite a better understanding of its power and drive a greater need for visualisations that help organisations make informed decisions across all areas of their business.

Ometis’ role is to facilitate organisations understand the true nature of these trends and the power they have for decision makers. These trends are not only being addressed by the Qlik platform, they’re being fuelled by it.

If you want to know more about Qlik and how it can help you, don’t hesitate to get in touch and a member of the Ometis team would be happy to discuss the data-driven opportunities we can help you unlock.

Call +44 (0)330 363 9900, email info@ometis.co.uk or click here and fill out the contact form.

Ometis Hosts Final Qlik Sense Tour Event

Ometis had the pleasure of hosting the final instalment of this year’s Qlik Sense Tour at the fabulous Belfry Resort in the first week of July.

The sun was blazing as delegates arrived at 9.30am for a day of Qlik Sense, with talks from Ometis stalwarts Andy Patrick and Chris Lofthouse to look forward to. The day started in the usual fashion with coffee and croissants before the real business began as Ometis laid out the plans for the day.

Those included a keynote talk, an appearance by the wonderful Gary Palmer from ForbiddenPlanet.com, a closer look at some of the Qlik Sense add-ons and a comprehensive workshop on the Qlik Sense platform.

Forbidden Planet's Gary Palmer

ForbiddenPlanet.com’s Gary Palmer describes the power of Qlik

‘The Qlik Sense Tour is an important part of our calendar,’ explained Ometis Managing Director Ross Greig. ‘It’s an annual tour that covers the EMEA region and gives us an opportunity to showcase the Qlik platform’s visual analytics capabilities. It’s a chance for us to meet with current and potential Qlik users, show them what’s new and how the platform is evolving, but also explain how they can get the most out of their invaluable business data and become a more data-driven organisation.’

More than 70 people turned up to get a better idea about the data-driven opportunities Qlik provides and were spoiled to a fantastic three-course lunch during the half-time break. That followed guest-speaker Gary’s insightful presentation explaining the benefits of Qlik Sense and how the platform has driven serious business evolution at ForbiddenPlanet.com. From a greater understanding of products and their performance to more efficient use of retail staff, Gary’s entertaining talk covered it all.

Hosting the day at one of the country’s most renowned golf courses meant a unique set of gifts for attendees in the form of Qlik and Ometis co-branded golf balls, which were soon snapped up, although everyone was too absorbed in the content to consider teeing-off.

Ometis, Qlik and Forbidden Planet

L to R: Christopher Lofthouse, Gary Palmer, Neil Thorne, Ross Greig, Sophie Welch, Andy Patrick

Instead, participants enjoyed Andy’s talk, which was titled ‘Give your data a voice: Trends that connect People, Data and Ideas’ before Chris walked them through the additional tools available to get the most from their Qlik environment, including Qlik GeoAnalytics, Qlik NPrinting, Narratives for Qlik and NodeGraph.

After lunch, there was a hands-on workshop where we walked through how to build a fully functional dynamic dashboard, use interactive storytelling to present findings and easily navigate an application. The free workshop ended at 3pm, just in time for everyone to enjoy a final bit of sunshine on the terrace. As the afternoon drew to a close there was a real buzz around the room and everyone seemed very keen to continue their Qlik Sense journey back in the office. Mission complete!

‘We had a lot of fun at this year’s Qlik Sense Tour,’ added Ross. ‘It was a real pleasure to be able to meet so many potential Qlik customers and showcase what the software can do. The audience were really engaged with all the presentations and the high turn-out for the optional workshop shows just how keen users are to get their hands on Qlik Sense and start analysing their data. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event!’

2016: a Year in Review

2016 has been another year of great success for Ometis, and Ross Greig (managing director) has highlighted some of the year’s key moments.

Our new website

Released in February, our new-look website provides our customers with a wealth of information and resources to make sure they are up-to-date with all our technology and industry solutions.

We’re always adding new content. Have you taken a look recently?

Social, Blogs & Vlogs

Following on from our website launch, we have also been busy writing and recording lots of great content for all our followers across our various social media platforms.

Our blogs and vlogs have proved very popular, specifically our blog on the Gartner Magic Quadrant which was being read and shared by thousands of people across the globe.

Our regular #QlikTips are also particularly useful snippets to keep your Qlik knowledge relevant.

Want to join the conversation? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

qonnections

Qonnections 2016

In May, we took many of our team to Orlando, Florida for Qonnections, Qlik’s annual customer and partner conference. We discussed the Qlik Platform roadmap with our colleagues at Qlik.

As an early adopter of Qlik Sense, we were pleased to see some of the amazing new features and functionality being developed. In all my years working with different software vendors, I don’t think I’ve seen a year packed with so many great updates. The innovation is truly remarkable.

With 3 releases each calendar year, we’re always talking about the new features, so make sure you follow our social channels to keep up-to-date with all the latest information as it becomes available.

Marketing Events

Just to make sure we were spreading our word far and wide, we also embarked upon a series of events to showcase the Qlik Platform and inform people about how Qlik and Ometis can help businesses to become more data-driven.

Some of our 2016 events included:

  • WealthTech, London
  • Food IT Summit, Birmingham
  • Qlik Sense Tour, Manchester
  • Wealth Management Round-table, London
  • IP Expo, London

It was great to be able to talk to so many people about how the platform approach from Qlik can really help to address analytics and reporting challenges across all departments and user cases. Whether you need pre-built dashboards, self-service analytics or you want to embed analytics inside another applications or portals, the Qlik Platform can do it all for you!

narrative-science

Narratives for Qlik

Part of our responsibility to our customers is to keep abreast of any interesting 3rd party products that can help add another dimension to their analytics. During our trip to Qonnections, we were pleased to meet with the team from Narrative Science.

Narrative Science is a US company focussed on processing data in order to return a natural language interpretation that is easily understood by the reader.

In 2016 they released their Narratives for Qlik® product that can be embedded in your Qlik Sense dashboards to give a responsive, easy-to-read analysis of your data. We describe it as like having an amazing Business Analyst working alongside you.

In July, we became the first non-US partner of Narratives for Qlik® and have enjoyed showcasing its unique offering to our prospects and customers at events and via our webinar schedule.

This is the first step towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) becoming a core part of data analytics. Expect more on this topic in 2017!

New Support Offerings

We took some time in 2016 to evolve and improve the ways in which we provide ongoing customer support.

We recognise that many of our clients use in-house resources to develop Qlik dashboards, but they still want access to expert support when they hit a problem. Our Enhanced Support product now adds an increased level of support for both Ometis-developed applications, but also for Customer-developed dashboards too.

We also created a new Proactive Support solution that allows us to monitor your entire Qlik estate to help avoid any unwanted issues, downtime and complications. Many of our customers are already seeing the benefits of having our team of experts keeping a close eye on their Qlik solutions so they can spend their time making more-informed business decisions and not worrying about application performance, licence allocations and potential hardware bottlenecks. It’s a win-win!

We also now offer a new Qlik Healthcheck solution for companies who are already using Qlik, but who want to make sure everything is setup correctly and performing optimally. Our team will examine all aspects of your Qlik estate, document the results and provide a list of recommended changes or areas to improve. Our team can then be on-hand to walk you through making those improvements, if required.

Qlik Sense Training

Given the fast-paced release cadence for Qlik Sense, we invested in updating and restructuring our training materials so that we can quickly adapt and extend them with each release

Through our classroom training we can teach you how to build great-looking and performing dashboards, create reliable data models that follow best practices and install, configure and administer your Qlik Sense Server correctly.

Check out our training schedule to see how you could improve your Qlik skills. Want something more tailored to your requirements? No problem! We offer bespoke training/workshops to suit every requirement.

In summary

2016 was a fabulous year for all involved with Ometis, but that wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t have the best team of Qlik experts anywhere in the UK. A big thanks goes out to everyone who helped to make 2016 our best year yet!
I’ll shortly be writing about our plans for 2017, so keep your eyes peeled for that one. Exciting times are ahead, so watch this space…!

Ross Greig
Managing Director

Migrating from QlikView to Qlik Sense: The Pros & Cons of Each Approach

Last month, I discussed the five key elements of migrating from QlikView to Qlik Sense, from server requirements through to user training. Now, I’d like to delve a little deeper into the different approaches you can take to migration, weighing up the pros & cons of each to help you find the best path for your business.

The chart below illustrates the timescales you can expect each approach to take.

migration

The Altruist

This is typically favoured by large organisations with many users and applications, or those who must verify that every single binary digit has been consistently accounted for over a pertinent amount of time. This means running both solutions in parallel is crucial, not just for testing/cross checking but for your business-as-usual operations as well.

Pros Cons
Thorough testing Increased maintenance costs: running two solutions over a long period
Gives users a large amount of time to accept change and be comfortable with the new system Duplicates effort for applications which exist on both solutions for the duration of parallel running
Plenty of time to train the entire user base, with the potential to train them in smaller groups Distributed user base for a long period of time
No need to rush the redevelopment process. You can choose to redevelop one app or department at a time If a single user relies on applications which are not on the same solution, for long periods, it can cause frustration and waste time

The Pragmatic

This approach caters for 80% of implementations I have come across myself. A time scale of 6 months to have Qlik Sense implemented, running in parallel and looking to turn off QlikView is not only realistic but practical. This approach defines a healthy balance between time, cost and scope – all you need is a good project manager!

Pros Cons
Strikes a healthy balance between migration time, cost and scope Duplicates effort for applications which exist on both solutions for the duration of parallel running
Business as usual operations are unaffected Less time for users to accept and be comfortable with the new tool than the previous approach
Users can verify numbers using the legacy system for a limited time Depending on resource capacity and scope, an additional resource may be required to help with the redevelopment of applications
Enough time for the users to accept and be comfortable with the new tool

The Opportunist

I see this as being perfect for small implementations of QlikView; those with less than 25 users or a dozen applications. Providing you have performed thorough testing and users are happy and comfortable with Qlik Sense, there really isn’t much sense in running two systems in parallel for a medium to long period of time just because you can.

Pros Cons
Little time spent supporting multiple tools May double the effort for applications which exist on both solutions for the duration of parallel running
Reduces the cost of running two systems in parallel Little time for users to accept and be comfortable with the new tool
You can focus mostly on the new system Less time to test/verify the system, which can subsequently impact user confidence levels with the new tool
Less time to redevelop work
Depending on resource capacity, an additional resource may be required to help with the redevelopment of applications
User training may need to be run in parallel with the implementation of the new system
Higher chance at impacting BAU operations

The Autocrat

As you may be able to tell from the colour used within the visualisation above, this approach comes with a warning – implement at your own risk! No system is perfect on day one, but if you are limited on budget and resource then you may be forced into this approach.  There are some benefits but the risk, in my opinion, far outweighs them.

Pros Cons
You can focus purely on one system Potential high learning curve for users, with no comfort of having the legacy system
No need to support multiple systems No time to test/verify data before ‘go live’
Reduced costs Very high probability of affecting BAU operations
Can recycle the same server/s that were being used for QlikView Users forced to learn on the job
Potential period of down time
Depending on resource capacity, an additional resource may be required to help with the redevelopment of applications

With all that said, it’s down to you to pick an approach to suit your leadership and your company. You may find, depending on the size of your organisation, that you adopt multiple approaches for different departments – catering for the different working environments and skill sets you come across.

The only remaining question is ‘when?’The answer is simple: it’s now! Or, I should say, once you have a plan in place. If you need any help or advice, please do get in touch.

Chris Lofthouse,
Qlik Consultant 

Migrating from QlikView to Qlik Sense: What To Consider

The number one topic for organisations still using QlikView should be the migration to Qlik Sense. In my opinion, guided analytics (QlikView) have become outdated. Self-service analytics (Qlik Sense) are what is relevant now: analytics that put data at the fingertips of the user. Gone are the days of waiting on the IT department to produce reports: rapid development, using intuitive user-friendly interfaces, is here.

Switching to a self-service analytics tool such as Qlik Sense removes the bottleneck from IT, empowers the user and, in turn, the business. Establishing greater insights by having the freedom to visualise data differently, whilst still in a governed environment, is now the reality. Why do it any other way?

In this blog I will focus on the five key elements for any migration plan, starting with the infrastructure:

Server

Like QlikView, Qlik Sense is an in-memory application, so you will need a dedicated server/s. The servers will likely need to be a similar specification to your existing QlikView solution. The absolute minimum specification will require a Windows server with a 1gb HHD, 8gb RAM and Multi-core x64 compatible processors. The full system requirements can be found here. Please note, this is not the universal recommended specification as it varies depending on the size of the user base, data volumes etc. Contact us to find out more.

Licences

Our team of Qlik experts can help you understand if and how you can transfer licences. It is important to note that there are differences between the QlikView and Qlik Sense licencing models. The Sense model comprises of two types of licence: user access passes and login access passes (access passes are commonly referred to as tokens). The former is intended for frequent users and the latter for infrequent users. (A frequent user is defined as someone who consumes 10+ hours per 28 day period.)

Redevelopment

Scripting in Qlik Sense is no different to QlikView, therefore all code is transferable. Having said that, it’s not just a copy & paste exercise: you will need to re-establish the data connections and replace the connection strings in the script with the new ‘lib’ statements. Alternatively, for a quick win, you could use a binary load.

The bulk of redevelopment comes in the front end where you will need to recreate the visualisations. You will be surprised how fast this is achieved, thanks to the simplicity of Qlik Sense and how quick it is to create dashboards with the improved drag & drop/ click & select capability. Having come from a QlikView background myself, initially I found the snap-to-grid system annoying. I soon realised, however, that it was a blessing in disguise! It was after redeveloping an application in Qlik Sense (which I’d previously built in QlikView), that I realised the change really was for the better.

Security

Security in Qlik Sense is a little different but also a lot more flexible. In Qlik Sense you have the Hub (this is Sense’s version of the QlikView Access Point.) This is also the highest level of security – is the user authorised to access your Sense solution and do they have a licence?

Within the Hub you will discover ‘streams’ which mimics selecting a ‘category’ in Qlik View (essentially a collection of applications.) You would typically create a stream for a particular group of users – a user should have access to one or more streams. You can also apply security on an app, field and row level. Section access is still available in Qlik Sense but it works somewhat differently.

User training

For users to accept change they need to be made at ease with it. How do we make a user comfortable with a new tool? We train them! At Ometis, we provide a range of training courses which can be tailored to suit anyone. This varies from an hour long introduction to analysing data in Qlik Sense through to a three day course designed to turn individuals into Qlik developers or system administrators. Our flexibility can match your needs and current skill set.

What’s Next?

Once you have a list of what needs to be done, we can move onto the how and when. Take a moment to think about how you would implement a migration plan. Do you ‘rip the band aid off’ and leave the office on Friday as a QlikView user to return Monday with Qlik Sense, or do you run the two tools in parallel and drip feed users onto Qlik Sense over a period of time? As long as the end result is the same – does it matter? I think it does. It’s not just changing from one BI tool to another, it’s doing so in a manner which is accepted by the majority of the stakeholders, seamless for business-as-usual operations and beneficial to all users.

In my next blog, I’ll be discussing four approaches to Qlik Sense migration and weighing up the pros and cons of each, so be sure to check back.

Chris Lofthouse,
Qlik Consultant