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 

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