Qlik Subscription Model Update

Qlik have now expanded their Qlik Sense subscription offerings.

This gives ultimate flexibility to suit the needs of all companies and provides opportunities for both opex and capex purchases.

The subscription model now covers line items such as:

  • Qlik Sense Enterprise
  • Qlik NPrinting (new)
  • Qlik GeoAnalytics (new)
  • Qlik Analytics Platform (new)
  • Qlik Web Connectors
  • Qlik SAP Connector (new)
  • Qlik DataMarket
  • Test and Development options for most products are also now available

Nearly all parts of your Qlik estate can now be covered on a subscription model, and there are ways to migrate to that model if you desire.

This is great news and fulfils the desires we set out in our previous blog post on this topic.  At Ometis, we hope there will always be flexible options to meet the needs of all customers going forward.

If upfront purchase doesn’t suit and you don’t want ongoing subscription then always talk to us about finance options for a purchase of software. It’s always worth giving us a call to discuss your requirements, as we pride ourselves on providing bespoke services that are tailored to suit your business’ needs.

That includes defining which products and services will be best utilised by your business in order to help you make informed decisions that ultimately provide a competitive advantage. The type of industries you’re working in will ascertain which services and products are best suited to ensure you gain that competitive advantage and with the subscription model, there are less barriers in accessing the innovative Qlik Sense platform.

That’s why we feel the subscription model is an exciting move made by Qlik, as it not only makes the platform much more accessible to business owners across the country, it does so in a much more malleable format. While other vendors have a subscription-first policy, Qlik has very clearly stated that the subscription model released is about giving consumers the choice. So, regardless of your preference in licencing strategy we have an option to suit.

That said, once you’ve experienced Qlik Sense and enjoyed accessing your business data on a granular level, we’re sure it will change the way you make decisions and therefore we’ll adapt to that situation for you as and when it arises.
By Andy Patrick

Visualize YOUR World Was A Sabering Success

We had a fantastic time at this month’s Visualize YOUR World event in London with Qlik.

We also arguably had the best stand at the event thanks to the fantastic Gary Palmer and ForbiddenPlanet.com, who provided an excellent array of displays and giveaways that would excite any sci-fi fan.

From real-life lightsabers to huge Wonder Woman graphics, the collateral from ForbiddenPlanet.com definitely put our stand on the map!

We also had a lightsaber to give away, but not just any lightsaber (as if there is such a thing) but Luke Skywalker’s very own lightsaber… does it get any better than that?

Gary helped attendees understand the power of Qlik and the bespoke service Ometis provides, with compelling examples of how ForbiddenPlanet.com have utilised the platform to revolutionise the way they do business – and as their IT Director, he should know.

There were plenty of questions during Gary’s lunchtime session, although this may have been down to the fact that visitors had to be holding a lightsaber to ask a question… We had everything from serious queries to ‘What’s your favourite colour?’ as people vied for the chance to swing a saber, and who can blame them?

All-in-all, it was an entertaining day packed with data-driven opportunities and was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the work we do, as well as how good we are at doing it (even if I do say so myself!).

Now we’re looking forward to Visualize YOUR World in 2018, we’ve already been thinking hard about how we’re going to top this year’s display but if ForbiddenPlanet.com are involved once again, I’m sure it won’t be too difficult.
By Andy Patrick

Did you see us at IP EXPO?

For the second year in a row, we attended IP EXPO as Europe’s largest enterprise event headed to the Excel centre in London this October.

There we were joined by members of the Qlik UK team, including Paul Winsor. Paul is Qlik’s Director of Retail & Services Market Development and he hosted a seminar session on day one that investigated the value of IoT data.

His talk went down a storm and there wasn’t a spare seat inside the Analytics Theatre as he explained the challenge of making IoT data accessible and understandable. That’s no small task considering there’s going to be anything from 50 to 200 billion IoT devices being utilised by 2020 (that’s around 20x more connected devices per person than today).

As it happens, Paul put people’s minds at rest by explaining the crucial role Qlik is likely to play in the digestion and dissemination of this data… thanks Paul!

Main-image

I do think Paul’s talk was one of the best seminar sessions at the event, but you may call me biased. It’s true there was plenty of expert opinion and knowledge around analytics, IoT and key factors in the understanding and capturing of business data. That said, we all know Qlik are the leading experts when it comes to understanding business data and Ometis are the UK’s largest dedicated Qlik provider. By default, I feel that makes us the leading BI experts in the country but if you want more proof, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Overall, we joined more than 300 exhibitors at the event which was bursting with CIOs, heads of IT and heads of insight. That’s why it’s become such an important part of the Ometis calendar and one we do not want to disappoint at. And we certainly didn’t disappoint this year. Whether it was my excellent humour, Andy’s tight trousers or Chris’ youthful good looks, we were lucky enough to meet hundreds of people, all of whom were interested in learning more about Qlik’s innovative platform.

Then again, it could have been the free mints, pens and bottle openers!

By Neil Thorne

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

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

What’s all this about Artificial Intelligence in Data Analytics?

The introduction of Artificial Intelligence into business processes is upon us. This will ultimately make businesses more streamlined, efficient and profitable. If you’re not at least evaluating what AI can do for your business right now, then you’re falling behind the competition.

Before we go any further, let’s de-mystify the tech speak. ‘AI’ is Artificial Intelligence and ‘NLG’ stands for Natural Language Generation. In short, it’s technology that will evaluate your data and return a written report back to you.

We all like to make life easier where we can and one way we can do this is by automating things that are done on a regular basis. We set up direct debits on our monthly bills and rules on our emails to automatically file them or sometimes delete them, we set our heating to come on when it drops below a certain temperature. These small and incremental improvements make our home lives easier to manage and give us time to get on with other things.

Now take a second to think about how long you took to prepare for your last meeting; where you had to explain what was going on and present your findings from the data available to you. Wouldn’t it be great if you could automate that part of your business life too?

This is where Narratives for Qlik comes in. If you have already invested in Qlik Sense Enterprise, or are thinking about what data analytics systems will serve you right in the short, medium and long term, then you should certainly be looking at Narratives for Qlik. It can save you time, provide enhanced insights and present you and your end users with a written report in a language that is easy to understand.

NLG is just one of the use cases for Artificial Intelligence being introduced into a business. This is all to do with structuring well-formed sentences, taking into account grammatical structures and company terminology. This is done programmatically based upon the data that Narratives is presented with. As Narratives for Qlik seamlessly integrates with Qlik Sense Enterprise, it is logical that the written report it creates relates to a specific chart on a dashboard.

narratives-report-writing-1

When users make their selections through the intuitive Qlik Sense Interface, the data in a given chart is reduced, focussing in on just a subset of data that relates to the particular selection made. As this happens, Narratives for Qlik recalibrates all the sentences based upon the new data set that is provided.

This takes things a lot further than any business analyst could manage in a reasonable time frame. What you’ll get out of the box is a written report, created in seconds on any permutation you can think of on your data. Now that’s got to be worth considering…

The Benefits

Speed

Narratives for Qlik, set up on a good solid Qlik Sense Enterprise deployment, can create written reports in seconds. Not only that, it’s also a hundred different reports in one. Every filter on every field or every different combination could show up something different in the data.  Narratives for Qlik will present its written report on that selection as quick as you can make the selection. This gives people the time they need to action those insights rather than worry about writing a report on their findings.

Consistency

Although data can stay consistent, the analysis of that data can vary. A number of factors can permeate on a written report: from who is looking at it and their frame of mind on that day to various external factors. If your business is data-driven and reliant upon the correct analysis of the vast amount of data it has access to, then getting the incorrect interpretations could potentially cost your organisation thousands of pounds. Automated report writing narrows the margin of error that exists with human input.

Redistribution of resources

Allow the talent in your business to work on more complex tasks. Report writing is boring – it must be done for a business to understand what’s going on, but it’s often repetitive. To write a good report you need to find a subject matter expert, data scientist and solid writer all wrapped into one.  By automating this process, you release the talent in your organisation to start adding value in other areas.

Understanding your business

Having sat in a finance team in my former career, I’m reasonably comfortable looking at numbers, but if I had to provide information for other departments, I would often deliver the information in written form. Written reports are much easier to understand and things are often more nuanced than ‘profit is going up/down!’

Next Steps

If this has sparked your interest and you want to find out a little more about Narratives for Qlik or Qlik Sense Enterprise, then get in touch and we’ll arrange a demonstration for you. If you already have Qlik Sense, then we could show you exactly how this would work over your live data.

You can also join us for our introductory webinar at 3pm on Tuesday 29th November 2016 – where we’ll show you how Narratives for Qlik can be utilised to drive your business forward.

Andy Patrick,
Sales Manager