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.

Planning Your ETL in Qlik

Qlik has a powerful script engine which allows you to bring information in from a variety of sources. It’s included within Qlik and because you load all the data into memory, once saved it is effectively a portable business intelligence (BI) solution. Of course in the real world the file would remain on a server where all the decision makers can access the information held within.

Naturally, one would assume each dashboard would bring in the data needed from its sources and this can be the case. However, when you’re planning a larger scale strategic implementation this becomes less efficient.

Qlik has a simple yet effective option to allow you to develop these large suites of BI dashboards. As mentioned, Qlik stores the information into memory and also has the ability to export data tables in a special format which is already optimised in the standard Qlik file format (QVD). This optimisation reduces the data size without the need for compression. A Qlik dashboard file can now be seen as something different; it becomes a script which moves a set of data from one location to another and perhaps transforming it as well.

For large deployments we would recommend creating three layers (three Qlik dashboard files):

  1. Extract
  2. Transform
  3. Dashboard Load

The Extract layer would take information from the source systems and place it straight into a QVD file. Here, the latest information from the source system can be added to the data retrieved previously – also known as incremental loading. This method is far more efficient than taking the whole history each time you re-load. It’s important at the extract stage that no data is changed, combined or additional fields added. This way you can easily test that your saved data matches the source file.

The next step is Transformation.  Here we read the previously saved data and get it ready for consumption for a dashboard. As before we would do this incrementally for large tables that are added to over time. Transformation would include; joining tables together, adding flags and calculations.

Finally the Dashboard Loads the transformed data it requires. As the data is fully prepared in the transformation stage, it can be loaded as ‘optimised’ which means it happens very quickly.

When storing QVDs in the Extract and Transform layers it’s good practice to split large tables into manageable chunks. These tables typically contain your transactional data which grows over time (commonly referred to as FACT tables). These bite sized chucks depend on the data volume although we would typically recommend monthly files – this makes archiving data in the future easier. Also, if your dashboard only requires information from the last twelve months, you don’t need to load a QVD file which potentially could contain many years of data, which of course would slow down your process.

The benefits of this type of data load structure include:

  • Your source systems are only accessed once, reducing the demand on their resources
  • You can validate the accuracy of each stage of the process
  • QVD files are built up over time and are optimised
  • Several dashboards can re-use the same data which is both efficient and consistent

If you have any questions or you’d like more information on how Qlik business intelligence can help your organisation, please don’t hesitate to contact us on +44 (0)330 363 9900 today.

Thanks for reading!

Richard Pearce, Senior Consultant.

QS 3.0 New Features Blog

The new release of Qlik Sense, version 3.0, was released at the end of June and makes it even easier to explore your data and provide insight to your organisation.

Read below for our summary of the new features included in the latest version of Qlik Sense.

Visual Data Preparation

With Qlik Sense 3.0, self-service data exploration goes to the next level with visual data preparation. Previously, to link tables of data together took a bit of know-how. Now the tables are shown in their own “bubble”, meaning that you can drag tables that you know should be linked together and Qlik Sense will associate them based on the data.

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Figure 1Table “bubbles” linked together in the new Visual Data Preparation window

Now you can leave the complicated job of modelling your data to Qlik Sense and concentrate on what is important, analysing your data.

Branding

Add some pizazz to your Qlik Sense apps by branding them. Add your company logo and colours to your Qlik Sense apps making your corporate applications look more professional.

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Figure 2Apply branding to your Qlik Sense Apps

Visual Search

Search has become visual in Qlik Sense 3.0. With the addition of charts to the standard search tool, you can now save time searching through sheets and sheets to find the one you want. You can even search for chart types and Qlik Sense will return the most relevant results!

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Time Aware Charts

Charts in Qlik Sense have always helped the user build something powerful in just a few clicks, but Time-aware charts in Qlik Sense 3.0 take this a step further.  You no longer need to build your own calendar tables and pre-select the most appropriate granularity of date to use in your chart.

With Time-aware charts you simply add the original Date field to the chart and Qlik Sense will automatically work out the best way to display it.  It could be days, weeks, months or years – Qlik Sense will automatically scale the chart for you.

In addition to this, it will also understand if you have missing data points where you may want to show a continuous scale and auto-fill the gaps. Line charts are available in this release, but you can expect to see other chart types with this functionality in future versions.

No selections:

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2015 & 2016 selected

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Widgets

This new feature gives us, the developers, the freedom to create what the customer wants but doesn’t yet exist in Qlik Sense. Widgets can adapt to the shape and size and the customisation possibilities are endless. In this example we’ve made a KPI where the icon can relocate itself or disappear if necessary depending on the size and shape of the widget. The icon and the colours can be changed and the second measure is optional, and this is only the beginning!

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The widget editor allows us to use HTML, CSS and Angular.js to create and edit widgets.  It’s a comfortable place for a developer and gives us all the tools we need to preview our widgets as well as to connect them to a published app to test it with real values.

This is just tip of the Widget iceberg – the possibilities are endless!

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DataMarket

Qlik DataMarket is a revolutionary new Data-As-A-Service offering from Qlik.  It allows direct access to a range of standardised information that can help supplement your analytics.  With Qlik Sense 3.0, Qlik have included access to four new premium data packages:

  • Historical stock prices from major stock exchanges
  • Financial data from companies worldwide
  • Population indicators for India’s states and districts
  • Population of Canada by provinces or territories

While we expect Qlik to continue to add in population and demographic data of new countries fairly regularly, it’s great to see some additional company and financial markets data being released.

We can see some great use-cases for this.  Imagine supplementing your ERP or CRM data with the latest stats about your Customers or Vendors.  For some of our Financial Services customers, having the ability to get single-source access to financial markets data will make a big difference in how responsive they can be when making data-driven decisions based on Qlik dashboards.

We’re looking forward to seeing what other new packages are made available in the coming months.

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Choosing the right chart

Choosing the right chart to best analyse your data and showcase your results can be tricky. Whilst data visualisation is incredibly useful, faced with the vast array of options it can be an intimidating task.

The best place to start is selecting the right type of visualisation. For this, you can choose from the four main types: comparison, composition, distribution and relationship. Then you can decide on the chart that best displays your results. At Ometis, we can even help you customise your dashboard to reflect your company’s branding.

 

The Four Main Types of Visualisations:

Comparison
Comparison charts are used to compare the magnitude of values to each other and can be used easily to find the lowest and highest values in the data. It can also be used to compare current versus old values to see if the values are increasing or decreasing. Common questions are “what products sell best” and “how are our sales compared to last year”.

Charts include:

  • Variable width chart
  • Bar chart – horizontal or vertical
  • Table or tables with embedded charts
  • Line chart
  • Circular area chart

 

 Composition
Composition charts are used to see how a part compares to the whole and how a total value can be divided into shares. Composition charts shows the relative value but some charts can also be used to show the absolute difference. The difference is between looking at percentage of total and value of total. Common questions are “how big of a market share do we have in a region” or “what areas are our budget divided into”.

Charts include:

  • Stacked bar chart
  • Stacked area chart
  • Pie chart
  • Waterfall chart
  • Tree map

 

Distribution
Distribution charts are used to see how quantitative values are distributed along an axis from lowest to highest. Looking at the shape of the data a user can identify characteristics such as the range of values, central tendency, shape and outliers. It can be used to answer questions such as “number of customers per age group” or “how many days late are our payments”

Charts include:

  • Bar histogram
  • Line histogram
  • Scatter plot

 

Relationship
Relationship charts are used to see the relationship between the data and can be used to find correlations, outliers and clusters of data. Common questions are “is there a correlation between advertising spend and sales of our products” or “how do expenses and income vary per region, and what’s the deviation”.

Charts include:

  • Scatter plot
  • Scatter plot bubble size

What did we learn at Qonnections 2016?

Three days, hundreds of seminars and break-out sessions, and thousands of attendees. Qonnections is the yearly global partner and customer event hosted by Qlik. You can expect to see insight from the most important people at Qlik and in the Data Visualisation world.

A big part of what we learn from the leaders at Qlik is the direction they are going in. The bulk of this blog will be focused on the main topic of Qonnections 2016 – the improvements to the Qlik Analytics Platform coming soon.

 

Do you want to do more with your own data?

Coming in June 2016 is the latest update to Qlik Sense. Version 3.0 brings even more improvement to how easy it is to bring your own data into Qlik Sense.

You can now do more when combining different data sources without having to write a single line of script. Qlik Sense will identify how likely data is to be related to each other, creating the relationships between the data without you having to. Qlik Sense will also identify date fields and create calendars for you to use, and if you put these into a line chart you can now zoom in and out to look at particular time periods.

Along with your own data you also have access to cleansed data through the Qlik DataMarket. Coming soon is more detailed financial markets information covering 35 major stock indices, giving you financial information on the associated companies. More data on other topics will be available later in the year regarding Healthcare and Retail for you to make use of in your own analysis in both QlikView and Qlik Sense.

With Qlik Sense version 3.0 search gets smarter! Searching in a Qlik Sense app will not just result in field names and values but also now charts where they are being used. You no longer need to remember in which chart you found a specific value, just search and Qlik Sense finds it for you!

 

Like to get your hands dirty with code?

If you are a developer, then updates to the Qlik Analytics Platform also brings additions to the Dev Hub. Widgets are a new way of creating simple visualisation extensions without having to know any javascript; only HTML and CSS is used here – helping you modify the look and feel of your charts with little effort.

Developers are also getting improvements to how they interact with the back-end APIs. A new javascript library, Enigma.js, is coming too which will make interacting with the Engine API easier and more straightforward. Other APIs will take advantage of this in later versions.

Keeping up with the style standards at Qlik becomes easier with the release of Leonardo UI (javascript and css library) containing all

of the standard Qlik objects (e.g. buttons and switches) meaning that using these styles you can make your visualisations look and feel exactly like standard Qlik Sense, and have these objects updated as Qlik bring in updated styles.

 

Want to be able to access your data wherever you are?

Qlik is keen to emphasise that they are taking Qlik Cloud very seriously and are approaching Qlik Sense with a “cloud first” mentality.

Qlik Cloud is being improved continuously, with Qlik Cloud Business coming in the 2nd half of this year and Qlik Cloud Enterprise planned for 2017. Streams, which can be used to separate your apps into sections within Qlik Sense Enterprise, are also coming to the cloud. This will also mean that you will be able to control who is able to access your apps, as opposed to sharing all apps with all authorised cloud users.

Expect to see many more improvements in Qlik Cloud in the future, giving you the maximum flexibility on where and when you want to analyse your data.

 

To wrap up…

There is plenty to look forward to in June with Qlik Sense version 3.0 and beyond. It has never been easier to analyse your data, whether on your work PC analysing database information or in the cloud using your iPad doing some ad-hoc analysis of your spreadsheets.

Developers and data visualisation experts have plenty to dig their teeth into, with more ways of extending the Qlik Platform using web development skills they know already.

Whatever stage you are on your data analysis journey, wherever you are, Qlik has got you covered.