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 In my opinion, guided analytics (QlikView) have become outdated.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

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!

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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.