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

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.

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 

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.

What makes a great Qlik Dashboard

What makes one Qlik Dashboard stand out from the rest?

It’s probably best to start at the beginning and ask the question: what is a dashboard? There are lots of ideas out there: “a single view, like the dashboard of your car, giving you the important facts you need in a clear, concise way” is probably the most popular definition. When it comes to business however, a single page dashboard often asks more questions than it answers. A simple set of dials doesn’t give you the full story, just the ending. So perhaps a single view is just one element of the bigger picture. This would take us neatly onto the “Dial to Detail” style of reporting, suggesting a top down approach to analysis. If the “dial” gives you the ending then it would make sense that the “detail” is the story, but is that the best approach to managing performance?

Qlik Dashboard Ometis 2

Effective Performance Management

Is performance management about investigating why something has happened (or possibly gone wrong)? Or should the focus be more on prevention and a continuous journey towards more efficient operational processes and increasing your organisation’s skills? Having the relevant data and being able to supply this information to the right person to analyse is key to success, although I’m always curious when organisations employ a team of analysts. In my experience these teams usually began life as report creators who churned out information by request. These teams are often asked to shift focus and spend more time analysing the information, they are analysts after all. The reason I find this shift somewhat curious is because I’m not sure how exactly that’s supposed to work. I believe that it is those who are managing the front line people and processes who are best placed to complete the analytical task and make effective changes based on their findings. I believe a front line manager knows their own area and information should act as an additional tool in this process.

Qlik Dashboard Ometis 3

Making It Personal

Mobile phone apps have been popular for a while but why is that? One reason is because apps allow every person to customise their phone to their own needs. Not too long ago when you bought the latest phone you were stuck with the manufacturer’s own calendar, calculator, task list etc. Now that’s changed with the advent of smart phones and what seems like a limitless supply of apps. My phone has become very personal to me. If I were to swap my phone with someone else’s, even though the phone may be the same make and model, the apps I inherit will probably be of little use to me in my daily life because they don’t meet my needs.

This makes me think that reporting performance information has to be personal to succeed. For example, let’s say we have three people as our internal information customers; the CEO, Sales Director and Operations Director. We could safely assume the Sales Director and Operations Director will want very different information in their regular reporting so two reports are created, one for each, and both reports also go to the CEO who has to then take the bits of information from both reports which interests them. People are asked to gather information far too often. Organisations I’ve been involved in have anywhere up to 100 regular reports being produced and few are aimed at an individual or role. Most cater to a service or department.

Qlik Sense Dashboard Ometis

Have you ever been on the internet looking for something slightly out of the norm? You cast your hook, see if anything bites then you reel back in and try again. That process can be very wearisome and it doesn’t take too long before you feel frustrated that the information you need isn’t at your fingertips. Information gathering can be very frustrating for an individual if they’re having to, in effect, create their own dashboard by collecting information from a variety of sources.

The takes me to what I believe is the answer. What makes a dashboard useful, usable and used is that it’s designed around the person or role, providing only required information in a format that is effective The fewer roles each dashboard is targeting at the better. with our Qlik Dashboards you can do just that. For more information on how we can help your business achieve effective data analysis, get in touch today.

What do you think makes an effective dashboard? Tweet us @ometis_ltd.

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!

3

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:

4

2015 & 2016 selected

 5

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.

9

 

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