2017: Pushing the Boundaries

My previous blog talked about our successes in 2016. Now I’d like to focus on all that’s still to come in 2017.

If you have any questions about the topics listed here, please feel free to contact me for more information.

Qlik GeoAnalytics

At the end of 2016, we were evaluating third party add-ons for Qlik to enhance the out-of-the-box geospatial/mapping functionality. We concluded that the product from Idevio in Sweden was the best available, so it was great news in January to hear that Idevio had been acquired by Qlik!

The product has been renamed Qlik GeoAnalytics and is available to purchase via the Qlik pricelist, so now is the perfect time to talk to us about how it could enhance your location-based decision-making.

Qonnections 2017

Since we became a Qlik partner, we have always attended Qonnections, Qlik’s annual Partner & Customer summit. 2017 is no different and we’ll be taking a full team over to the US next month.

We’re looking forward to getting a glimpse of the new features Qlik are developing and bringing you all the latest information. You can stay up-to-date with all that’s going on at the summit via our social media channels, so if you’re not already following us, now is a great time to do so! Follow us on Twitter!

Events

There are lots of events in the calendar, here’s what to watch out for:

  • We’re exhibiting at Big Data Analytics on 22nd June. It’s the UK’s premier cross-industry event, showcasing the latest big data insights and innovations.
  • We’re hosting the Birmingham leg of this year’s Qlik Sense Tour event on 5th July at The Belfry resort. Come along to find out all about the Qlik Platform and how it can help your organisation. Register your place.
  • We’ll also be at IP EXPO Europe, 4-5th October – Europe’s number one enterprise IT event.
  • We’ll be hosting regular webinars to showcase all that Qlik can offer.
  • Roundtable events – the next one is on insurance on 11th May. Register here.

See all of our upcoming events here.

Partnerships

We’ve got some exciting partnerships to introduce you to. Firstly, we’ve teamed up with the guys at NodeGraph to offer our customers greater insights into the data lineage in their Qlik implementations.

Available for both QlikView and Qlik Sense installations, NodeGraph provides a clear way to assess where the data in your applications has been extracted from and where it’s in use. It also provides automated documentation to support your development teams.

Another fantastic partnership for 2017 is IN4BI. We now offer IN4BI’s Platform Manager for Qlik solution, which gives development teams increased control when developing and publishing Qlik applications. This is especially powerful if you have multiple environments (e.g. Dev, Test, UAT, Prod) as it helps users to manage deployment processes, rollbacks and changes across each server efficiently.

We’ll be adding more information to our website in due course, but please get in touch if you’d like to find out more about either of these new offerings.

Get Social

We’re committed to keeping you in the loop with all things Ometis, Qlik and data analytics related.

Make sure you check out our blogs each month on a variety of relevant topics, follow us on social for news, tips and insights plus subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know about the latest Qlik offerings.

Release of Qlik Sense 4.0 & Qlik Roadmap

Qlik Sense continues to follow the release schedule of 2 x minor releases (Feb/Sept) and 1 x major release (June) per calendar year.  The following schedule shows the expected release cadence across the whole Qlik Platform:

qlik

As well as expecting some great new functionality in Qlik Sense 4.0 this June, I was pleased to read the updated ‘Statement of Direction’ from Qlik about where they see their product development resources being focussed over the next couple of years.

It’s fantastic to see the level of continued commitment to innovate from the product team at Qlik. As expected, Qlik Sense and the Qlik Analytics Platform remain the key areas for investment in 2017 and beyond.

This is turning out to be another exciting year for Ometis. We’re very proud to be the UK’s largest, dedicated Qlik Partner and we’ll continue to grow our team of experts throughout the year to make sure we can continue to deliver the highest quality Qlik solutions available.

If you have any questions relating to the topics covered above, or would like to speak to one of our team about how we can support your adoption of Qlik solutions, then please get in touch.  We’d love to hear from you! Call us on +44 (0)330 363 9900 or email info@ometis.co.uk.

Ross Greig
Managing Director, Ometis Ltd – Elite Qlik Solutions Provider

2016: a Year in Review

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

Our new website

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

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

Social, Blogs & Vlogs

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

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

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

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

qonnections

Qonnections 2016

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

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

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

Marketing Events

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

Some of our 2016 events included:

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

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

narrative-science

Narratives for Qlik

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

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

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

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

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

New Support Offerings

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

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

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

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

Qlik Sense Training

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

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

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

In summary

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

Ross Greig
Managing Director

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

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

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

migration

The Altruist

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

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

The Pragmatic

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

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

The Opportunist

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

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

The Autocrat

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

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

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

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

Chris Lofthouse,
Qlik Consultant 

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.