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.

Qlik Sense June 2017 Release – First Impressions

For those of you who follow Qlik closely, you’ll have noticed that the Qlik Sense June 2017 (or 17.06) Technical Preview has been released. This is the first in the new release naming convention and cadence – now five times per year.

Having seen it demonstrated at Qonnections, we were excited to get our hands on it. So as soon as it came out I installed the Desktop version to start familiarising ourselves with the new features. The data I decided to use was the electricity generated by the solar panels on my home roof which is logged at 15-minute increments.

The first thing you’ll see when loading data in is a range of new options in the Data Manager…

Measure Suggestions & Tools

Qlik Sense June 2017 Release 1

Here you can see that Qlik Sense has recommended the selected field should be a measure and shown a histogram of the frequency of values in that field – including the min, median, average and max statistics. Qlik Sense has also suggested that, since this has numerical values they could be put into buckets. All of this can be customised, but Qlik Sense makes some good guesses.

Dimension Suggestions & Tools

Qlik Sense June 2017 Release 2

In this screenshot, you can see what analysis – range and uniqueness – and options – the split tool – Qlik Sense presents when you select a dimension field. The split tool allows you to break a dimension field down, which is common for things like date/time fields, phone numbers or composite keys in source data.

(Yes, I know the split location looks wrong – that’s what I had to do to make the preview look right – I’ve logged a bug about that)

If you select a field that has fewer distinct values, you get a different set of tools:

Qlik Sense June 2017 Release 3
Here you can see that I have the choice to replace values in the DayofWeek field – perhaps I want to group my Sat & Sun into one value called “Weekend” – I can do that here.

Qlik Sense June 2017 Release 4
I can null values if I want to ignore those in a chart for some reason – here I’ve done that with some errors from the source data.

Qlik Sense June 2017 Release 5
And here’s how you set custom sort orders – drag & drop interface for setting the default sort order.

Please note that not every combination of these tools works with every other one – for instance you can do Order & Split together but not Nullify/Replace with Order.

What’s going on behind the scenes?

With all this in the data manager, what’s going on in the Data Load Editor? The script that Data Manager generates is all there and viewable – locked by default.

Qlik Sense June 2017 Release 6
New chart types

Once you’ve got your data imported using this new interface, you’ll see some three new charts you can use:

Qlik Sense June 2017 Release 7
Histogram – you just select a numerical field and it shows you the frequency distribution of values. You can customise the buckets (number or size of them), but that’s about it – so there will be scenarios where you want to use the buckets in the data load and a bar chart to achieve histogram-like charts with more flexibility.

Qlik Sense June 2017 Release 8
Box plot – this is something that has been much-requested – especially by the statisticians among us. While I’m not a statistician, I can see the value here. You select a couple of dimensions and a measure and it will do the box plot for you. You can choose from Standard (Tukey), Percentile-based or Standard deviation as presets or you can customise your own:

Qlik Sense June 2017 Release 9
In this case I chose to use the percentiles preset, setting the whisker lines at the 1st and 99th percentiles with the box ends at the 1st and 3rd quartiles and the line being the median. The dots are the “outliers” – there tends to be at least one each month as I only have 14 months of data in there so there are only up to 62 days for analysis, so they’re effectively the minimum and maximums within the months.

qlik-sense-june-2017-release-10-e1497954761945.png
Distribution Plot – a simpler, less statistical, chart that, similarly to the box plot takes a dimension or two and a measure. Here we can see each day’s generation plotted in its month, visualising the minimum, maximum and range of each month.

Consistent Colours for Dimensions

Qlik Sense June 2017 Release 11
Qlik Sense June 2017 Release 12
Enhancing the “Colour by dimension” functionality, here we can see that I’ve set custom colours for the months, inspired by someone with synaesthesia who sees the months as these colours. For example, this could be useful in your sales performance app – setting a consistent colour for each salesperson to be used across the app.

Not yet reviewed

There are a few things we’ve not covered here because we’ve not had enough time to test them just yet:

  • iOS app including offline support – we’ve got this installed and are starting to test it now.
  • Advanced Analytics, including R integration. Qlik have just published the details of setting this up – we’ve got it running but want to work with it a little more before sharing our thoughts.
  • Platform component updates – in this blog we’re been looking at the end-user experience, but the removal of the requirement for a single “central node” certainly looks interesting and a good step forward for resilience. The Enterprise Mobility compatibility (MobileIron, AirWatch & Blackberry) will certainly appeal to some of our more security-and-mobility focussed customers too.

Summary

This is a really exciting release of Qlik Sense – great new features across the board serving the end users, power users, enterprises, IT administrators and more. We can’t wait to get our hands on the other features we’ve not been able to test yet and the final release when it comes out.

Next steps

Most people should now wait until the final release to get these features and then look to upgrade at that point. However, if you’re a Qlik customer and keen to get hands on, you can also join the Technical Preview that will run until 26 June. To do this, just visit the community page and register. Health warning: this isn’t recommended for anything approaching a Production environment and it may stop working altogether after the 26 June deadline and/or you may have to uninstall it completely before being able to upgrade to the final release when that comes out.

Some useful pages in that community include:

  • What’s New – a good summary of the new features, although lacking in a little detail so some can be hard to find! Also note that it’s listing some items that aren’t actually new in this release of Qlik Sense – like new Web Connectors and Qlik Sense Cloud features.
  • Advanced Analytics video – first half of this shows some of the things the R integration will be able to do.

 

Alex Walker
Service Delivery Manager

NPrinting 17.2 Review – Three Steps Forward and One Step Back

For those who don’t already know, Qlik NPrinting is a content distribution tool for the Qlik Platform. It enables the distribution of static reports in various widely-used formats such as Word, PowerPoint and HTML.

A brief history

NPrinting 17 (NP17) is the result of the project code-named “Opera” – which was started before Qlik acquired Vizubi and finally came to fruition early in 2016. It’s fair to say the first two releases (17.0 and 17.1) weren’t quite ready for primetime, but 17.2 is a great step forward in reliability as well as functionality.

The NPrinting story so far…

  • 17.0 was the first release in the series – introducing web-based management of reports, schedules and related items. In version 16 and before this had all been done through a Windows application.
  • 17.1 introduced initial compatibility with Qlik Sense (QS). Previously it was a QlikView-only product and it became known as “Qlik NPrinting” not “QlikView NPrinting” at this point.
  • 17.2 was mostly a stability and performance release, but did also re-introduce the On-Demand functionality for QlikView (QV).

I’ve worked with NPrinting since 2012 (when it was Excel-only and being developed by Vizubi) and I have the honour of being the first ever certified NPrinting developer! I’ve been using 17.2 for the last couple of months and, combined with my experiences around earlier releases, here is my considered opinion.

nprinting-image-1
Alex being presented his NPrinting Developer Certificate by Vizubi’s Aran Nathanson,
now Qlik NPrinting Product Manager.

New architecture and delivery mechanisms

NPrinting 17 is a massive step forwards in terms of enterprise architecture – adding web-based management and report consumption, multi-user capabilities including permissions management. It keeps the familiar flexible structure of previous releases with Connections, Tasks, Reports, Filters and so on.

nprinting-1
The new NPrinting 17 web interface.

It adds two new distribution methods:

  1. NPrinting NewsStand – here users can see which reports they have access to and can subscribe to have them generated and/or sent to them on a schedule of their choosing.
  2. Qlik Sense Hub – you can push NPrinting reports into the Qlik Sense Hub so users have one place to go to consume all of their Qlik information. (Note: QlikView Publisher can do this now too – heading towards what Qlik are calling the “Unified Hub”.) The process for getting this up and running isn’t exactly slick, but once done, it’s a useful additional delivery mechanism.

nprinting-2
The Qlik Unified Hub – Qlik Sense, NPrinting & QlikView.

Additional compatibility

“Qlik Sense compatibility” is more true for this release than it was for 17.1 (where you’d often have reports fail if based on QS), but it still doesn’t come with all the functionality of the QlikView side of the tool.

The Select Objects dialog has improved with 17.2, now showing the IDs that you can (if no other way than via the dev hub single configurator) trace back to objects in the Qlik Sense app – which may be useful if you haven’t or can’t set a Name.

nprinting-3

One of the main limitations remains – that you don’t get to see previews of the Qlik Sense objects when you drop them into your template. Instead you just get a generic icon which can make designing your reports quite tricky.

nprinting-4

That said, when you do view a report, they look great. No issues with scaling here: since Qlik Sense has a fully responsive interface, the objects you embed flex as you resize them to fit your slide, document or web page…

nprinting-5
Example PowerPoint report with Qlik Sense objects embedded.

What’s missing?

As you can see from the three major releases this year, Qlik are actively developing NPrinting and I’m sure they have these ideas in mind, but here are some of the things I think should be on the roadmap:

  • Previewing of Qlik Sense objects in reports. As identified above, this is probably the most limiting factor right now.
  • Embedding reports into HTML emails. This was one of my favourite things in NPrinting 16 – embed the actual chart / KPI etc. in an email so the end user doesn’t even have to open an attachment! Unfortunately, whilst the help says this is possible, it’s not (yet).
  • Importing recipients from somewhere other than an Excel file. We have made extensive use of the ability to import from a QlikView object. There are workarounds to this but we’d love to see this re-introduced in NP17 for QV and QS.
  • Simplifying the process for adding reports to the Qlik Sense Hub and integration with the Qlik Sense QMC for user management and so on.

The conclusion

NPrinting has a special place in my heart and I have definitely skimmed over some of its amazing features that I’ve taken for granted over the last four years. So my advice is this:

  • If you’re a current NPrinting 16 user and you only have QlikView in your estate, then you might be better off sticking with NPrinting 16 for the time being. The main reason I can see to consider upgrading here would be if you need a multi-node environment to cope with the sheer volume of reports you distribute or to make use of the NewsStand feature.
  • If you’ve got a mixture of QlikView and Qlik Sense then I think that NP17 is worth a shot now it’s stabilised. Definitely check the features you need and trial it before making a decision on which version to use.
  • In a purely Qlik Sense environment, you’ve not got a choice – I’d just say be cautious about what you promise to deliver in tight timeframes as there is a learning curve as well as more improvements to come down the line. Again, trial it in your environment to see if it works for you.

For more information on NPrinting, please visit our product page where you can request a demo to find out how it can enhance your Qlik experience. We also have an NPrinting training session coming up on 23rd February 2017 – call us on 0330 363 9900.

Alex Walker
Service Delivery Manager

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

Our Wealth Management Roundtable Event: A Summary

On the 20th October, we hosted our Wealth Management Roundtable event. Hosted in Qlik’s UK offices, on the 32nd floor of the impressive Tower 42 in London – it was a spectacular setting. Ruffer LLP’s Operational Risk & Control Manager, Stewart Lancaster, was our special guest speaker and the event was attended by representatives from various Wealth Management firms interested in understanding how organisations like Ruffer solve some of their most complex data challenges.

Becoming a data-driven organisation

Our Sales Manager Andy Patrick, started proceedings with a presentation on the challenges and opportunities faced by businesses in their quest to become more data-driven and effective in making decisions. Another key element Andy discussed was how companies can be more self-service orientated when they have access to the right tools, such as Qlik Sense.

We know that a key concern of our clients is the pressures they face in trying to balance the need for data security while also allowing their business the “freedom” to explore data in a meaningful way. This was another theme explored.

A Client’s Perspective

Next, Stewart took us through Ruffer’s journey of transformation over the last 18 months. Ruffer started out with a largely ineffective business intelligence system which had been developed in an old version of Qlik View (version 8). The company were struggling to achieve any valuable insights in the areas required: Key Performance Indicators, Key Risk Indicators and Key Control Indicators.

Stewart then went on to cover some of the challenges faced in implementing a new solution. Many of these centred on the cultural challenges experienced: the shift from an over-dependence on IT and Microsoft Excel does not occur overnight. Stewart finished by explaining the roadmap for the solution, such as expanding Qlik to include N-Printing, in order to get to the next phase of adoption.

Throughout, Stewart was highly enthusiastic and praised the level of engagement and support he has received from Ometis in helping transform the vision into a reality.

The discussion

Following Stewart’s insights, we moved onto our Q&A. Some fantastic questions were asked by our guests on a range of topics. Some centred around the uses and capabilities of Qlik in various business aspects including market risk management. Others focused on best practice and how to effectively tackle business challenges.

Following a lively and interesting discussion, we agreed the below approach:

  • Choose a use case that is small but high value
  • Deliver a proof of concept
  • Get buy in from stakeholders
  • Expand to other use cases

The session concluded with a great demonstration of Qlik Sense’s capabilities, delivered by Andy. This showcased all the capabilities of the solution and touched on many of its benefits as well as exploring some specific use cases such as the Wealth Management dashboard and some specific Ometis use cases showing the use of Qlik Sense in real world scenarios.

We had a fantastic day and want to say a huge thank you to our guests who we know got a lot out of the event. Also a thank you to Qlik for allowing us the use of their brilliant office space. We’re already looking forward to the next one!

You can find more information on how we can help support Wealth Management organisations here.