We make decisions large and small based on data—everything from movie times to sales results to stock prices. But decisions are social events and we also take into account the opinions, advice, experiences, and expertise of people we trust. How cool is this: today at the Salesforce.com Dreamforce Conference we announced that we have extended the QlikView Business Discovery platform to Salesforce Chatter. Chatter is an enterprise social networking platform that enables users within an enterprise to connect with experts, collaborate with remote colleagues, manage team projects, discuss confidential topics, solve customer issues—and, now, collaborate and share information within and about their QlikView Business Discovery apps. (Click here to watch a short video showing QlikView working with Chatter.) If you happen to be at Dreamforce, stop by the QlikView booth (#408) in the expo for a live demo.

QlikView Extension for Salesforce Chatter.png

The Chatter enterprise social networking platform helps build out the context around data and create a lasting record of the factors that went into a decision. Companies using QlikView and Salesforce Chatter can now collaborate on data and analytics by embedding Chatter feeds, comments, and more right into QlikView apps and dashboards. They can participate in discussions about the data, sharing insights and collaboratively moving toward decisions. Chatter also pushes important updates to QlikView users so they can quickly respond to questions and participate in conversations.

QlikView for Chatter will be is  available to QlikView customers as a free QlikView extension object. As soon as we have an online FAQ available I will update this blog post with a link.

Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data.* This data comes from everywhere—from posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos posted online, and cell phone GPS signals, to name a few. The amount of data in our world has been exploding. Analyzing large data sets, so called “big data,” becomes a key basis of competition and innovation. The question is: How are we going to harvest all this data? Traditional BI is too clumsy to get the job done. Why? Big data is time sensitive; there isn’t enough time for business users and developers to spend months documenting and coding the analysis requirements. Also, big data has a lot of variety; it comes from both structured and unstructured data sources.

 

QlikView is the perfect fit for analyzing big data. To prove my point, I created a QlikView application analyzing human feelings all over the world. Everyday millions of blog posts are written. People blog about technology, politics, health, etc. and they talk about their feelings.  I wondered if I could scan all of these blogs and analyze human feelings all around the world.

 

I found an API (We Feel Fine), which has been harvesting information about human feelings from a large number of logs since 2005. Every few minutes, the system searches the world's newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases "I feel" and "I am feeling" and stores 15,000 to 20,000 new emotions per day. I used the API to extract the data (in QlikView, developers can define web files as data source). Then I started asking questions and exploring this unstructured data.

 

Do women feel fat more often than men? Does rainy weather affect how we feel? What are the happiest cities in the world?  Do Europeans feel sad more often than Americans? You can download my application from QlikCommunity, to ask your own questions and formulate your own insights about the human condition.

 

World Mood.png

 

QlikView provides developers with a complete set of tools for managing data extraction and transformation, all offered in one comprehensive product. It can extract data from both structured and unstructured data sources and automatically creates associations in the data. Because QlikView operates entirely in memory, it does not require data to be stored in specific, aggregated formats. Once the data is loaded, users can start exploring the data right away, creating charts and answering questions with zero wait time. These are some of the features that make QlikView the perfect fit to discover big data. By the way, how am I feeling? I am feeling like Qliking!  

 

* McKinsey Global Institute – Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity

Have you ever wanted to know what people are saying about your brand on Twitter—or your competitors’? Have you wondered whether the sentiment people express online is positive or negative, in aggregate? One of QlikTech’s partners, TIQ Solutions GmbH, has built a QlikView app called SentiVal to do just that. SentiVal is an analytic app that helps marketing analysts, PR professionals, and others identify Twitter trends, perform competitive analysis, and interact with Twitter users. (Click here to explore SentiVal.)

Analyze tweets with QlikView.png

How it works

SentiVal determines how positive or how negative a tweet is based on a list of words and phrases. Each word or phrase is assigned a sentiment score from negative three to positive three, with zero being neutral. TIQ Solutions provides a base list and set of scores, which customers can modify to fit their own specific situation. Organizations that wanted to conduct more sophisticated analysis could call out to a sentiment API or integrate with an external natural language processing system.

SentiVal does not understand the context in which words are used. Because the English language is so complex, SentiVal (like any sentiment analysis technology) must be “trained.” By this I mean that a user must tweak the list of words and phrases and scores on an ongoing basis, to refine the accuracy of the sentiment analysis.

The demo version of SentiVal displays bar, radar, pie, and other charts showing: overall sentiment, number of Twitter users tweeting about topics of interest, sentiment of the most popular Twitter search terms, sentiment ratio (positive to negative), users who tweet the most and least, hyperlinks people include in their tweets, users that mention and retweet other users, and popular and unpopular hashtags. You can drill down into the individual tweet, and can favorite, retweet and reply to posts, and follow Twitter users.

Making discoveries in Twitter data

You might use an app like SentiVal to view average sentiment scores. When you see a low, you might lasso the low scores in the chart and dig in and take a look at the text of the actual tweets. You might de-select some set of terms or users to get a more accurate result. You might want to see who tweets the most and who is being mentioned—and who is influential to whom. You could customize the app to track several months’ worth of tweets—or a whole year’s worth or more. You might look for seasonal effects.

Out of all this exploration, you might discover Twitter users who write about your competitors but not you, for example. You might discover that after your latest product release, the average sentiment score dipped down as users complained about bugs. You might identify that someone in your organization has been having a Twitter conversation with an influential blogger—and reach out to that team member to try to set up an executive-level conversation with the blogger.

Have you used QlikView to analyze social media? I’d like to hear your story!

I recently blogged about a presentation Donald Farmer (QlikView product advocate) did at one of the stops on the Business Discovery Tour. (See related blog post, “Donald Farmer’s Take on Business Discovery.”) We’ve got another person’s perspective to share with you; we also recorded a talk that Doug Laird, QlikTech’s VP of global marketing, did at the California stop on the road show. (Click here to watch the video.)

Still image - Doug Laird BD preso.png

A comment I received on one of my recent blog posts (see the article, “Donald Farmer: ‘Follow the Leaders to Successful Mobile BI'”) reminded me of the need to shine more light on the role of IT in Business Discovery. Doug touched on this a bit in his talk. He made the points that:

  • In a report-centric BI world, IT’s burden is huge. In traditional, stack-based BI, the role of IT includes creating data models, establishing a semantic layer, building reports, and tightly controlling data. Sometimes IT works with small teams of business analysts to create analysis. At any rate, it’s a small pipe of people creating information for the organization.
  • With Business Discovery, IT is free to focus on its core competencies. With Business Discovery, IT continues to focus on data preparation and governance. IT assembles data, delivers relevant data, enables self-service BI, and ensures security and scalability. What fundamentally shifts the game is that the business users are now creating the analysis. (See the related blog post, “Self-Service BI: Power to ALL the People.”)

Part of the power of Business Discovery is that it’s not just a few people who are creating analysis—it’s many people.  This can have a profound impact on the performance of the organization. But don’t take it from me. Here are links to download a few customer success stories and case studies that highlight the value of self-service BI: Avnet, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Fonsenca Hospital.

This week, we launched a new capability on QlikCommunity called Ideas. This new collaborative idea management functionality makes it easier for our customers and partners to contribute feedback and suggestions about QlikView. Members of QlikCommunity can post ideas, view other members’ ideas, and vote and comment on ideas. The QlikView product team monitors and responds to these posts and rolls the best ideas into our product planning process. 

Help Shape the Future of QlikView.png

I talked to QlikView Product Director John Trigg about Ideas and he said, “Our community is passionate. Our customers and partners are very keen to participate, ingsuggest ideas and helping us refine our thinking. We ran an ideas pilot and we ended up including features in QlikView that came out of community members’ suggestions—such as container objects and user-level auditing."

Here are some highlights of what you can expect from this exciting new way of interacting with the QlikView product team:

  • Idea submissions are visible to all. In the old days, (a.k.a. yesterday) you might have sent an email to a QlikView product manager or posted an idea on QlikCommunity. But once you pushed “send” your submission was between you and the recipient of the message. Now, with the Ideas capability on QlikCommunity, you can post your idea and it will be visible to all members of QlikCommunity and all QlikTech employees. You now have an opportunity for tens of thousands of people to provide input and feedback on your idea—helping to refine it and push it along.

  • Your votes help us prioritize community input. As we go through our product planning process, we will take into account the most popular ideas and ideas that support themes we are working on. We will incorporate winning ideas into our product plans. Want to drum up support for your entry, and get more votes? You can share your idea with others using the “share” feature on QlikCommunity. This enables you to easily share a link to your idea via email or social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. (Note that only registered members of QlikCommunity will be able to log into the site to see your post.)

  • The best ideas support a strong set of use cases. We encourage you to submit ideas about all things QlikView: product deployment, development, business usage, system integration . . . anything that will make QlikView better. The key questions to ask yourself as you’re wording your post are, “Why do you want this capability? How will you use it?” We recommend that you make sure your submission has some supporting use cases. We have created a video that suggests guidelines for what makes an idea a well-formed idea (click here for video).


How to get started
Do you have an idea that would make it easier to create analytic apps or visualize or interact with data? Has something about QlikView been bugging you, and you think you have a solution? Search in Ideas to see if your idea has already been submitted. If it hasn’t, go ahead and enter it. Your entry will appear on the forum after it has been reviewed by a product manager. Within five business days, a product manager will take action such as: report the entry to the QlikView support organization, let you know that QlikView already does what you suggested, or change the status of the idea to “active.” Once the idea is active, the community can go ahead and review, comment on, and vote on it. Any time the status of your submission changes—for example, someone posts a comment on your idea or a product manager changes the status of the idea—you will receive a notification.

You’ll see the Ideas feature available in these areas of QlikCommunity: Development, Deployment and Management, Connectivity and Data Sources, Integration and Extensions, and Mobile. We’re looking forward to seeing your ideas!

My husband turned to me and said, “What you just did in 15 minutes, I spent three and a half hours trying to do today—and I expected to spend most of the day on it tomorrow, too.” He had spent half the day ripping his hair out trying to find an effective way to analyze the contents of a somewhat messy 6,000-person contact database exported to Excel. He was trying to use pivot tables to apply filters and draw associations in the data, to determine which people to contact. Which companies are in New England? Which people should be eliminated because they are personal contacts? Which people are in product-related roles at their companies?

 

Relationship capital.png

Granted, a Business Discovery app with a single 6,000-row data source is hardly earth-shattering. But I wanted to share this story with you to illustrate a couple of things:

  • There's great power in an associative user experience. Our minds work associatively, by connecting together related bits of information. People can benefit enormously from simple-to-use tools that mimic the associative nature of our minds, and enable us to see relationships and finding meaning in data.
  • Fixing even simple problems saves time and adds value. For many people, analyzing annoying spreadsheets with thousands of data points isn’t part of their formal job description. But they spend time doing it because they need answers to business questions. A simple shortcut saves time. Multiply that by the number of “simple” analyses, and you can get some pretty significant business value.

In just 15 minutes' time, I downloaded the personal edition of QlikView (download here) onto my husband’s laptop, installed it, imported the data from his spreadsheet, set up a half dozen simple list boxes (e.g., first name, last name, title, company, state, category), and applied and locked down a few filters. He was up and running.

Even Though the Source Data Was Messy . . .

In the spreadsheet, first name and last name were separate fields, states were entered inconsistently and sometimes incorrectly, and contacts were categorized in myriad ways. But my husband didn’t have to go through a cleanup or merge. He could quickly eliminate all personal contacts, and contacts located outside his area of regional interest, by 1) selecting the personal categories and choosing “select excluded,” 2) selecting the multiple permutations of the New England states he was interested in, and 3) clicking the “lock” icon. All further exploration would now be focused on this subset of contacts.

In a matter of minutes, he was able to clearly see the short list of the 50 or so contacts he was interested in, out of the original 6,000, and was ready to begin further analysis. He could easily see which “David,” for example, he wanted to learn more about by clicking on the company name he was interested in. All information about the David associated with that company (e.g., last name, email address, title, etc.) was highlighted in white. All data specific to any other Davids was highlighted in gray. (For a brief demonstration of this capability in action see the related QlikView videos, “Insight in Just Five Clicks” and “Ask a String of Related Questions with QlikView.”) 

It is unexpected events like these that help show the value of Business Discovery. It doesn’t take giant, perfectly crafted source data and highly visible enterprisewide problems to do it. And solving a problem that was driving your spouse crazy in a way that’s so simple it looks like magic? Nice way to earn some relationship capital!

On July 13, 2011, Gartner published a report titled, “Emerging Technology Analysis: Mobile Business Intelligence” (available only to Gartner subscribers). In this report, Gartner described some of the benefits of mobile BI.

  • It can transform corporate decision making.
  • Because users can get to a dashboard or report in a matter of seconds, mobile BI can lead to faster time to information.
  • It can drive adoption of BI tools because less user training is required; tablets and smartphones are easier and more intuitive to operate than desktop solutions.

Gartner is right on about these benefits—and at QlikTech we are focused on delivering a high-powered mobile solution at no additional license cost (see YouTube).

 

 

Trends in Mobile BI, According to Gartner
In this research report, Gartner analysts described their expectations that mobile BI will be a driving force in the adoption of BI for the next few years. Here are a few key findings from the report:

  • We’ll see rapid adoption of mobile BI during the next two years, with 33% of BI functionality being consumed via handheld devices (e.g., smartphones and tablets) by 2013.
  • A recent survey of Gartner CIO clients showed that 85% had received requests for Apple iPhones, iPods, or iPads to be used in the enterprise, and that almost 75% had found that users were connecting those devices to the enterprise network with or without permission.
  • By the year 2015, device manufacturers will ship more than 1 billion smartphones and tablets, up from an estimated 432 million in 2011.

QlikView on Mobile

There is one area in which we disagree with Gartner. Gartner wrote, “Due to mobile needs, BI dashboards on mobile devices are fundamentally stripped-down versions of their siblings running on a desktop or laptop computer, with limited interactivity. In Gartner's opinion, this is not a big limitation since not all data is needed remotely.” In our view, mobile BI—at least on tablets, if not the smaller smartphones—can and should be so much more than just stripped-down versions of desktop applications. Mobile BI presents an opportunity to put the full richness of Business Discovery in the hands of people wherever they work. Here's a good blog article by Ann All on IT Business Edge that gives some examples: "BI on Tablets Brings the Right Info to the Right People at the Right Time."

The QlikView approach to mobile BI is to support the browser on tablets and smartphones, starting with the Apple iPad. We support HTML5 browser technology, to take advantage of the latest standards and support for interactivity and media. With QlikView on Mobile, business users get the same, complete QlikView Business Discovery experience that they get with QlikView on their desktop and laptop computers, including interactive analysis, beautiful visuals, and associative search. Click here to learn more.

In the latest “Mobile Minute” video, “Follow the Leaders,” QlikView product advocate Donald Farmer highlighted three best-in-class strategies for mobile BI.

 

Put management and security policies in place early

Growing reliance on mobile devices in the workplace and high adoption rates of mobile BI make safe mobile data analysis a critical concern.* In this video, Donald Farmer recommends that organizations put management and security policies in place before beginning deployment so everyone involved understands important issues and plans are in place to address these issues.

Before deploying QlikView on Mobile, administrators should put policies in place for authentication, authorization, device security, and data transmission security. Keep in mind that QlikView on Mobile does not store any business data on the device. QlikView supports the browser on tablets such as the iPad and leverages the same security infrastructure as non-mobile QlikView deployments. For more detail please download the QlikView Technical Brief, “QlikView Mobile Security.”

Put in place a standard deployment plan

In this video, Donald recommends that organizations put a standard deployment plan in place for faster, more efficient, more easily approved procedures. This plan should include a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities—paying attention to the range of development and content creation activity that takes place in a self-service BI environment (see the related QlikView blog post, “Self-Service BI: Power to ALL the People”). The plan should also include documentation of the deployment architecture and any best practices the team has identified. For more information please download the QlikView Technical Briefs, “QlikView Development and Deployment Architecture” and “QlikView Architecture and System Resource Usage.” I also recommend that QlikView customers and partners check out the “Deployment and Management” group on QlikCommunity.

Put users front and center

Donald recommends that deployment teams involve current BI users in mobile BI implementations. Business Discovery is all about the user so user involvement early on is part of the secret to success. (See the related QlikView White Paper, “Business Discovery: Powerful, User-Driven BI.”) Of course, early adopter business users can contribute a clear understanding of use cases and requirements.

But also—true to the nature of QlikView—netizen users and collaborative users can work closely with power analysts and data wranglers to work through quick iterations of an app. With QlikView’s rapid prototyping approach to application development, business users can get their hands on a mobile Business Discovery app within weeks, days, or even hours. They can instantly begin exploring their business data wherever they are working—at a colleague’s cubicle, in a hotel room, or on the factory floor. (If you’re interested in some of the specifics around designing UIs for QlikView mobile apps, please download the QlikView Tech Brief, “Mobile User Interface Design Best Practices.”)

With these three best-in-class strategies for mobile BI—put management and security policies in place early, put in place a standard deployment plan, and put users front and center—organizations can get out ahead of the curve, expanding the reach of BI and solving business problems in new ways.

 

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* Gartner predicts rapid adoption of mobile BI during the next two years, with 33% of BI functionality being consumed via handheld devices by 2013. See the July 13, 2011, Gartner report, “Emerging Technology Analysis: Mobile Business Intelligence” (available only to Gartner subscribers). Dresner Advisory Services’ forecast is similar. In the February 4, 2011 report, “The Updated Mobile Business Intelligence Market Study,” Howard Dresner found that 70% of survey respondents expect a quarter and 25% expect half of their user base to utilize BI exclusively through mobile devices within two years (full report available for download here).

In May, 2011, Aberdeen published a research report titled, “Business Intelligence Command and Control Center for the Chief Supply Chain Officer” (available only to Aberdeen subscribers, or for purchase). Aberdeen benchmarked 149 supply chain related executives on their BI initiatives in March and April of 2011. This report contains insights into the characteristics of what Aberdeen calls “Best-in-Class” companies. These insights have relevance to QlikView customers involved in supply chain operations, so I thought I would share them with you.

 

Aberdeen - BI and supply chain.png

Aberdeen found that Best-in-Class companies are:

  • 40% more likely than others to have a single individual or team responsible for collecting and managing operational data
  • 46% more likely than others to have the ability to measure costs at line-item level to perform activity-based costing
  • More likely than others to prioritize collaboration with customers to gain better visibility into customer-side processes (39% of Best-in-Class versus 27% of Industry Average companies and 10% of Laggards)
  • More democratic in their utilization of BI across the organization. In these companies, BI was pervasive in their organizations—all supply chain staff had access to role-based reports, and repots were available to core super user team, who also knew how to make basic modifications to reports.
  • 25% more likely than others to be able to measure the adherence of plans to actual figures (e.g., costs, shipments, capacity)
  • 33% more likely than others to be able to measure cross-functional metrics
  • More likely to be able to provide executive reports to management (92% of Best-in-Class versus 70% of Laggards)
  • More likely to have an operational BI (real or near real-time reporting) platform (86% of Best-in-Class versus 57% of Industry Average).

 

QlikView is frequently used for managing and optimizing supply chain operations. Check out these customer snapshots and case studies: Atlas Copco, Campbell’s Soup, Feed the Children, Halton Group, Honda Austria, KLM Equipment Services, Lifetime Brands, National Health Service, Panasonic Netherlands, Pergo, RS Components, Subaru Italia, VIP Auto, and WD-40.

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