Field Report: Qlik Qonnections 2016

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Hot on the conference circuit this year, we here at insideBIGDATA were pleased to be Qlik’s guest for their Qlik Qonnections 2016 conference in  Orlando, Florida on May 1-4. We had a blast at this annual tech extravaganza that’s hosted by one of the industry’s most innovative leaders. This year’s event was the first ever combined event with the entire Qlik community – partners, customers, industry influencers, Qlik employees,  as well as over 3,000 attendees.

The theme for the conference was “Data Driven Possibilities” for what happens when you bring all your people together with all your data and your ideas. That’s when the impossible becomes possible. People at the conference were called “information activists” who are turning the impossible to possible. We heard this message over and over throughout our time in the Sunshine state.

A few of the highlights of the conference were: some special addresses including “Data Driven Possibilities for Humanitarian and Charitable Causes” with some heartfelt stories from Qlik’s CEO Lars Björk, special guest speaker Captain Scott Kelly who spent a year in space at the International Space Station and talked about his adventures, and the big conference party – “Get your Geek On!” In the final analysis, it was a memorable tech fest! As a special treat, we had the opportunity to sit down for an interview with Drew Clarke, VP of Products, Qlik Cloud.

Qlik2Conference at a Glance

A couple of important announcements were laid out for the attendees. First, Qlik Sense Enterprise 3.0 will be available in June. Plus, there was the announcement of the Qlik Sense Cloud Business SaaS offering. With these two new solutions, Qlik is proving their leadership in this space.

From a historical perspective, we were reminded that Qlik stated with a very simple idea – if software was actually usable by people, they’d get value out of it. The real value of software is that people can use it to gain insight in their data. The industry has spent so much time and energy talking about technology, bits and bytes, data volume, streams, etc. that it has forgotten that the real value comes when users sit down in front of that software, make better decisions, and drive business value for their organizations. This is what drives Qlik to keep pushing the envelope for their software.

But Qlik is not finished yet. Qlik worked to revolutionize the BI industry. Ten years ago, they took a boring industry where everyone understood the known paradigm of making reports out of data and turned it on its head. They spearheaded a new vision for the industry with user-driven BI. The idea we could expand users of BI to not just be report creators, but to include really any business professional in an organization.

The overarching message for the conference was that Qlik sees an opportunity to significantly expand that market potential again. The goal is to bring the power of Qlik, of their engine, of their platform to new use cases, new users, and new sources of data. The idea that people can create custom analytic applications on top of the Qlik platform and embed Qlik’s capabilities into applications and tool-sets that are already in use, significantly expands the market opportunity.

Qlik’s idea is that as a user, you may be consuming their technology many times a day, through many different interfaces even without necessarily realizing that you’re using Qlik. Imagine a world in the future where every time you sit down at your computer where you pick up your mobile device, you’re using a piece of Qlik technology without having to login to a portal.

Qlik leadership made an effort to point out that the industry is shifting a little bit and there are four key drivers to that change.

  1. Data itself is moving. Data is increasingly in the cloud, and basically born in the cloud. But it’s also fair to say that data on-premise hasn’t disappeared. So we’re going to live in a world where there’s both data in your organization and data in cloud sources. Qlik’s opportunity is to think about bridging those two worlds, a hybrid cloud opportunity.
  2. We’ve moved from a report-centric world to an analysis-centric world. This is driven in many cases by users. They’re increasingly looking to gain insight themselves to take control of that analytic experience.
  3. The users themselves. No longer do we think about my business software and my personal software. These worlds are blurring. Users expect software that’s easy to use and when they don’t get that from their organization they do it themselves. It’s important for Qlik to bridge the business and the personal just as users demand.
  4. The concept of the platform. As an industry, we are maturing to an analytic platform market where developers are at the center of the possibilities of deploying that software within an organization.

The central idea is you can have all of your people connected to all of your data, generating and using all of their ideas to create new possibilities and truly be transformative from a business perspective.

Customer Viewpoints

Mark Glogowski, Business Intelligence and Data Analytics Manager for AmerisourceBergen was on hand to report that his company has been using Qlik Sense for about a year and a half. The company is having great success with the product for both customer facing and internal applications. They were using a legacy solution previously and shifting to Qlik provided a significant facelift. They are using Qlik Sense on top of quite a few data stores, for example an internal use case was to create a dashboard for their drug company President that integrated 8 different data sources including SAP HANA data warehouse, Hyperion Essbase, Workday, etc. and consolidate all of those in one area. Qlik was able to meet that need and deliver business value across functional areas like finance, market share, and employee engagement.

Gina-Marie Deraimo, Director and Head of Client Trade Analytics for Wells Fargo Securities addressed the group to report her company’s experience with Qlik started about a year and half ago with an interdisciplinary team to transform the internal data and analytics environment. From there, they turned to their internal clients who had to be understood in terms of their needs and preferences, hopes and goals. They aggregated over 43 different source systems and in less than 9 months they transformed a thousand users with a lot of ad hoc reporting using Qlik View.

In general, many customers report having that “Qlik moment,” the moment in time when a little green light bulb comes on saying “I get it, I can see why we’re making this choice!” For some, it is the renowned fast performance, and for others it is the associative data model.

Qlik3What Makes Qlik Unique?

There were three big ideas exposed at the conference: first, Qlik lets you see the whole story in your data with the “associative mode.” Second, is the idea of the platform which meets all your needs and requirements with a new web-based platform – Qlik Sense, and third bridging between business and IT around data and governance.

The associative model enables these ideas. This is the core of Qlik as an organization. Traditionally, BI tools have taken a linear or drill-down metaphor for data analytics. You start with all of the data and you drill-down to the insight. The problem is that people just don’t think this way. As human beings, we’re naturally inclined to think associatively. You have an idea, that idea begets a question, which begets a new idea. Traditional software forces you down a more linear path. Why? Is it because Qlik’s competitors are just bad at software? No, because this architecture came a long time ago when computers were slow and memory was expensive. The optimization of a drill-down metaphor made sense in that technical environment. Qlik invented this idea of  associative search where it would calculate things as the user clicked and give free access to the data and it would let you see the relationships in that data. 20 years ago, this was a terrible idea. But the good news is, technology has changed. Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a dramatic improvement in the underlying platform which has allowed it to become the market success it is today. The value of Qlik is its unfettered access to the data. The real insight in your data doesn’t always come from the values that are associated, but it comes from the gray values, the values that are excluded. Qlik shows you that data, which would have been hidden in alternative software solutions having a drill-down metaphor.

What drives an organization to get value out of data is trust. Trust is the mechanism that Qlik creates to let people use data to make better decisions. Qlik has invested heavily in governance as a key differentiator of the platform, enabling capabilities like usability, security and control, making a system that is manageable, can perform and can scale. The vision for Qlik is that they can create a common language between IT and the business around data.

Qlik also announced their intention to open source some of the components they’re making available on top of their platform. They intend to make two libraries available: Enigma and Leonardo (names only Swedes could come up with!). Enigma is a framework for communicating with the Qlik engine. It will make it simple with a single line of Javascript to lend the rich capabilities of the engine into your application. Leonardo is focused on the UI, a whole series of components which make it easy to share and reuse UI features, both with Qlik and also web applications.

Qlik4Discovery Expo

While at Qlik Qonnections 2016 conference, insideBIGDATA took some time to talk to a select group of vendors in the Discovery Expo. Here is a short list of the companies we found compelling:

Axis Group – a solution provider offering a variety of solutions designed to help clients get he most value of their Qlik investment including full BI lifecycle support.

CrunchData – a consulting firm providing a variety of services relating to Qlik products – dashboard development, Qlik installation/upgrade, BI strategy, data governance, support, etc.

Cognizant – a business and technology services company that features “Analytical Storytelling” to give life to the last mile of data’s journey, and also “Cognizant SightPrism,” a tool for successful customer journey mapping.

SDG Group – a global management consulting firm, having a leading vision in the practices of Business Intelligence, corporate performance management and collaborative business analytics.

RapidMiner – the open source predictive analytics platform disrupting the market by empowering organizations to include predictive analytics in any business process—closing the loop between insight and action. The seamless integration of RapidMiner’s fast predictive analytics engine and QlikView’s strong visualistion capabilities drive revenue optimization and reduce costs.

Keyrus – an international leader in Business Intelligence and a Qlik Elite partner, Keyrus offers a set of Data Intelligence business software solutions based on the Qlik Business Discovery platform.

Analytics8 – a premier big data and analytics consulting firm. Since 2007, Analytics8 has been a Qlik Elite Solution Provider, Authorized Training Partner, and Technology Partner. It is also the company behind QlikMaps and UniverseBridge.

Host Analytics, Inc. – partnering with Qlik to enable the company to integrate and offer the Qlik Sense data visualization tool as part of its cloud-based EPM solution.

Master’s Summit for Qlik® – has trained over 500 developers across the globe, collaborating with some of the top Qlik® experts in the world.

Waypoint Consulting – working with Qlik as a leading provider of BI and enterprise performance management in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Lavastorm – the company’s integration with Qlik Sense empowers users to become citizen data scientists. Now they can achieve advanced analytical insights without having to delve into the complexity of the analytical algorithms and modeling.

9sight Consulting – offers a data discovery automation solution using Qlik.

minit – offers process mining software that provides an important bridge between computational intelligence and data mining, along with business process modeling and analysis.


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