In this, the final part of the series examining the role of IT in Business Discovery, I highlight how IT professionals extract great value themselves in using QlikView for their own Business Discovery purposes.

 

Part 4: Business Discovery for IT: Making sense of all those log files

 

In addition to being the central element in supporting QlikView deployments, IT groups have adopted QlikView themselves to address their own business discovery requirements. QlikView is used by IT professionals in hundreds of organizations to help them analyze and make sense of system log files, helpdesk ticketing and asset management requirements (i.e. SLA monitoring, location and status of laptops, desktops, mobile devices, server infrastructure).

 

Below is a screenshot of a QlikView application that allows IT managers to monitor their helpdesk operations. Managers can see a high-level dashboard and can drill down into specific operators, departments and customers and can look at the volume of calls per shift, average wait time etc.

   Helpdesk.jpgBusiness Discovery for IT: Helpdesk monitoring

 

Another good example of IT professionals using QlikView is for the management of assets under IT control (e.g. laptops, smartphones). In many organizations these assets are in a constant state of flux – some fall out of warranty, some need repairing, some need replacing completely. The application below (and located on our demo site here) is a very good example of an solution that allows IT hardware managers to monitor their assets.

 

Asset Management.jpgBusiness Discovery for IT: IT Asset Management

 

This concludes the series on the role of IT in Business Discovery. In this series I’ve outlined how Business Discovery liberates IT and allows them to focus on areas that are core to their skill-set: data preparation, data and application governance and infrastructure provisioning and monitoring. Because Business Discovery enables a true self-service approach to BI, IT professionals can remove the backlog of requests for new reports and new queries from the business.

With QlikView, The business drives BI at the micro level while at the macro level the IT BI group facilitates enterprise initiatives like governance, data standardization, security and scalability.

How Did We Get Here?

Posted by Erica Driver Feb 28, 2012

The universe of business intelligence (BI) and analytics (a USD $85.6 billion market by some counts*) is in the midst of a sea change. Business software as a whole is in the midst of this change. In fact, it’s not just business software — it’s technology in general. And books. And music. This change, as I heard Aberdeen analysts David White and Michael Lock put it recently, is “the IT-ization of the consumer.” QliktechInfographic_#3E6C87.jpg

By the IT-ization of the consumer I am referring to the growing comfort and command that everyday Joes — people like me — have with technology. We have become adept — in fact, experts — at using technology to obtain information and answers, communicate with others, and acquire tools. We use technology to make stuff — to publish books, make art, build websites, produce videos, and create analytic apps to help us make business decisions.

Look at all the change that has occurred in BI during the past sixty years. BI began with basic decision support in the 60s, along with the help of computer-aided models that enabled decision-making planning. Over time, technology and BI simultaneously evolved, shifting power from the technology to the business user.

BI and analytics have gone enormous change to get where we are today, which is Business Discovery —a user-driven approach to BI. Business Discovery enables business users to get fast, accurate data that’s easy to access and interpret so they can make better decisions.

And the change has only just begun. I foresee the IT-ization of the consumer transforming BI even further, to the point that BI and collaboration are indistinguishable. We will routinely make data-fed decisions not just in the workplace but at home. I say “data-fed” rather than data-driven because our decisions will continue to rely not just on quantitative data but qualitative inputs as well. And the user experience to guide our decision making at home and at work will draw us in and immerse us, engaging more of our senses (particularly sight, sound, and touch). The more interesting question is, “How far will we go?”

* According to IDC, in 2010 the total market for business analytics technology and services grew 12.4% to reach $85.6 billion. IDC expects to see that there was further 8% growth in 2011 and forecasts the market to grow at a 7.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2015. Source: IDC, Worldwide Business Analytics Technology and Services 2011-2015 Forecast,” December 2011.

In this, the 3rd part in the series of posts about the role of IT in Business Discovery (see Part 1 here and Part 2 here), I'll explain how IT groups play a central role in ensuring that there is proper control and governance over Business Discovery deployments while ensuring that they still can continue to empower the business functions to be creative and flexible.

Part 3: Business Discovery: Providing Flexibility at the Edges while ensuring Discipline at the Core

Many IT professionals get worried at the mention of ‘Self Service’ anything. And for good reason: with limited resources, IT groups must ensure that the mission-critical systems that the organization uses are operational at all times and are providing the service they were originally provisioned for. The only way to achieve these service levels is to ensure a degree of standardization and control. For example, imagine the support nightmare if everyone in the organization was using a different email system? Or if there were 100 different operating systems to support? Standardization has ensured that businesses can run profitably for a long time.

Disc at core Flex at edges2.jpg

 

 

Unfortunately, too much standardization and process can very often get in the way of the business’ legitimate needs to stay ahead of the competition and remain profitable and growing. This has led to the classic chasm between IT groups and business groups that is too prevalent today.

Business Discovery is user-enabled BI and provides a largely self-service approach for business users to interpret their data in the manner they wish so that they can remain effective in meeting the needs of the business. It allows them to ask and answer their own questions – instantly - explore and make discoveries in the data, without having to constantly return to the IT department for every new request. This is made possible because QlikView’s "app approach" uses a pre-built data model (i.e., it is not a direct query solution) meaning that business users have all the data they need for a given analysis. QlikView also provides associative data capabilities that allow users to navigate in the data in any manner possible, ensuring that they do not need to ask IT every time a new drill down path needs to be created. I encourage you to refer to the white paper “What Makes QlikView Unique” for a deeper understanding.

Successful Business Discovery implementations strike a healthy balance between the needs of the IT organization to ensure control and standardization and the business sides’ needs to remain flexible. QlikView provides a rich set of capabilities to meet the needs of IT when it comes to ensuring control, including (but not limited to):

  • Multi-tiered environments, including data, application and presentation tiers
  • Security integration with Active Directory and almost every single sign-n solution
  • Built-in row-level security, linked to LDAP roles
  • Straightforward, yet extremely powerful, automated metadata on everything from data usage/lineage, application usage, common KPIs, license usage.
  • Clustered/failover environments to ensure SLA adherence
  • External triggering and alerting of data reloads and application availability
  • Management Services API for integration with existing IT command-and-control infrastructure
  • Governance best practices for application promotion (Dev/Test/Prod), data usage, application usage
  • Direct integration with SAP, Salesforce.com, Trillium, Informatica and others
  • Integration with source control systems for deployment and change management

In the final part of the series, I'll show how IT professionals can use QlikView themselves, to support them in their own decisions about systems usage, SLA monitoring, IT asset management and more.

I recently read Seth Godin’s We All Are Weird, a book about marketing and the way society is changing. Being in product marketing at QlikTech, one of the major themes of the book really struck home. That theme is something along the lines of “The Age of Empowerment.”

We Are All Weird - book cover.JPG

Godin wrote, “ . . . the increasing impact of amateurs working to professional standards . . . means that amateurs, unannointed by any profession entity, can publish, create, and connect. It means that a single individual can change the way we think about just-in-time manufacturing, Halloween costumes, or anything in between.” This is a hugely important concept when it comes to business intelligence. When it comes to BI, you no longer have to be a pro to be a . . . pro.

 

In a May 2011 report about Big Data, McKinsey Global Institute estimated that by the year 2018, there will be 440,000 to 490,000 positions in the U.S. for people with deep analytical talent. These are the “anointed” professionals. McKinsey also noted that there will be 8 to 9 times as many (4 million) positions for data-savvy managers and analysts. These are the Pro-Ams (professional-amateurs) — the people who explore data, make discoveries, and derive insights that lead to better business decisions. They may not have advanced degrees in statistics. But they know their business inside and out and they are empowered to publish, create, and connect.

 

In the past, Pro-Ams have been under-served by the BI platforms market, which delivered tools that were really designed for business analysts and other data experts. They weren’t designed to be used by business people. But everything changes with data discovery software. According to Gartner, data discovery vendors’ innovations have had a direct impact on how easy BI software is to use and therefore adoption by business users, not just analytic experts. According to Gartner, “We see the beginnings of this trend emerging and expect it to have a significant impact on this market in the years to come — both for consumers and authors of business analytic content.” (See the February, 2012 Gartner report, “Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms.") This is a very exciting trend for the millions of BI Pro-Ams around the globe.

In my first post in this series about the role of IT in Business Discovery (located here), I talked about how Business Discovery is helping IT professionals to become champions to the business once again because it liberates them from the mundane and - frankly - inefficient tasks associated with Traditional BI (such as constant report writing, for example). This 'Win-Win' situation is helping fuel the enormous expansion of QlikView's impact across thousands of organizations across the world every day.

 

In this, the secord part of the series, I examine the various business and IT roles specifically and their impact on a Business Discovery deployment.

 

Part 2: Business and IT: Sharing the benefits together by understanding everyone's role

 

IT professionals have varied roles to contribute within a Business Discovery deployment. It’s quite typical for there to be an ‘overlap’ point between the business functions and the IT group. Business Discovery fosters a closer and more productive relationship between the business and IT professionals because this overlap point promotes a very collaborative approach to data provisioning and application design and –ultimately – application usage.

 

Roles in BD.jpg

 

The image above (click to expand) shows a simplified and generalized view of the various ‘actor’s' in a typical Business Discovery deployment, from both IT and the business. It’s worth remembering that the roles are often blended together, particularly in smaller organizations.

 

  • CIO/VP of IT: Their interaction with QlikView is typically by means of a dashboard view of IT-operations data such as asset management and procurement, systems SLA KPI’s (Service Level Agreement Key Performance Indicators) and headcount. For the CIO or VP of IT, a Business Discovery implementation means more than just dashboard views however: They are charged with ensuring the IT function supports the business as efficiently and effectively as possible. In the provisioning of Business Intelligence, QlikView enables them to grow their BI throughput without growing the costs associated with this growth because of its speed of deployment, more efficient use of IT resources and the secure self-service nature of QlikView.

 

  • Enterprise Architect: Once deployed, an Enterprise Architect will typically analyze usage, configuration and capabilities delivered by QlikView in the organization, ensuring that the correct infrastructure resources are being provisioned and that security policies are being adhered to correctly. The Enterprise Architect will also assess the integration capabilities between QlikView and other tools in the enterprise information chain. In the procurement process, the Enterprise Architect has a critical role in ensuring that QlikView will fit within the organization’s existing infrastructure and governance models.

 

  • Data Analyst: Their role in a centralized, enterprise-wide deployment of QlikView is one of provisioning data models that meet the changing needs of the business. In typical organizations today, new data requests are frequent and the role of the Data Analyst is to ensure correct ETL (Extract Transform and Load) models are in place and that the data being provisioned is of high quality. Data Analysts will use QlikView Developer to build the ETL scripts, create –and maintain - the data layer and ensure that data is both relevant and current.  They will also use the many free QlikView utilities to monitor and support the data layer within QlikView.

 

  • Business Analyst: They have a critical role in any Business Discovery deployment: they are typically the ‘crossover’ point between IT and the business functions. In many instances – particularly in larger organizations – BA’s will be attached to the business directly. The BA will typically use directly, or change, existing data models based on their own needs (usually provisioned by a Data Analyst) and will build the applications that are ultimately used by the business users themselves. With the rapidly changing requirements of businesses, BA’s will often create new applications on a very regular basis. This is one of the key tenets of QlikView: the rapid application development process that allows businesses to react a ever-changing environment.

 

  • Business Users: Rather than being ‘end’ users, business users are the start of the discovery process: with the applications that are built with QlikView, they can – themselves -- explore, interact and interpret the data using QlikView’s unique associative technology, without having to constantly return to the IT group to have a new report or query generated. QlikView even allows business users to build their own dashboards –from within the zero-install AJAX web client – using the high quality and secure data that has been provisioned to them from the IT group.

 

 

Existing IT Skills Transfer easily with QlikView


IT departments with existing traditional Business Intelligence deployments can re-use a large proportion of the existing skill-sets for a QlikView deployment. This ensures that QlikView deployments maintain a lower overall TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) and also ensures that QlikView can sit side-by-side with those existing deployments within the same department or BI Competency Center. This topic was covered in the blog post “QlikView and IT: Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter”.  Figure 4 highlights where there is significant skills overlap of general BI skills with those that are needed for large QlikView deployments, such as SQL scripting, data modeling, testing, integration and project governance models. The areas that require new skills training are relatively small and include a knowledge of the QlikView UI environment as well as – for system administrators – the QlikView Management Console. Both areas are relatively straightforward to get familiar with, especially for IT professionals.

 

The image below (click to expand) illustrates the various skill sets that are needed for QlikView deployment, and how many of them typically exist within an organization already:

 

Skills Transfer.jpg

In the next part of the series I'll look at what 'Self Service BI' means for IT professionals responsible for a Business Discovery deployment.

Last week I had great opportunities to touch the pulse of the BI software market and get a sense for what’s on peoples’ minds right now. At the Gartner BI Summit in London I participated on a vendor panel (barely – I arrived 10 minutes before show time due to a flight diversion to Germany because of British Snowmageddon) and co-presented about social Business Discovery with EAT Ltd., a cutting-edge QlikView customer using our software to support property acquisition decisions. While I was at the Gartner BI Summit I had a one-on-one with Gartner analyst Rita Sallam and had one-on-one meetings with eight QlikView customers. While I was in London I also spent time with a few other European industry analysts who cover QlikTech: Alys Woodward of IDC, Clive Longbottom of Quocirca, and Helena Schwenk of MWD Advisors. And, finally, last week Gartner published an update to its Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms report — a pithy report full of great detail about the state of the market (download the report in its entirety here).

With all of these market touch points in a concentrated period of time, two trends floated to the surface:

  • User-driven BI is becoming more prevalent. In the Magic Quadrant for BI Platforms, Gartner wrote, “In 2011, business users continued to exert significant influence over BI decisions, often choosing data discovery products in addition to/as alternatives to traditional BI tools.” At the same time, the definition of a user is broadening. Last year the analysts saw significant increases in demand from a wide array of users: line workers, business analysts, advanced analytic professionals, business executives, customers/constituents, partners, regulators, and IT professionals. An observation: IT professionals are users, not just implementers of, BI. And IT professionals are a critical part of the business, not separate from it.
  • The use cases for BI platforms are broadening. I listened to or talked with people who use BI software to optimize the supply chain, identify tax dodgers, manage investment portfolios, identify at-risk medical patients, monitor network health, decide which properties to acquire, optimize street traffic patterns, identify kids likely to become unemployed so they can be helped . . . and myriad other things. The common thread among all the stories was a need to make better decisions.

I wound down the week with a strong feeling of being in the midst of a large, slow-moving storm. The use of — the very definition of — BI is changing as we speak. How is QlikTech staying ahead of the storm? With a laser focus on our mission, which is to Simplify Decisions for Everyone, Everywhere.

Fail Fast, Succeed Faster

Posted by Erica Driver Feb 15, 2012

Our VP of Marketing Americas, Lara Shackelford, came to Boston and we had a chance to spend some time together. Lara has great insights into the high tech industry and BI market so I thought I’d share some of them here with you. 

Fail Fast, Succeed Faster.jpg

Lara was talking about how the excitement about Facebook’s $5B IPO filing, and the interest in Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated as the lead underwriter (trading volume for shares of Morgan Stanley rose up after the announcement), reminded her of the excitement around QlikTech’s own IPO in July of 2010. QlikTech’s IPO was regarded by industry analysts, press, and investors alike as highly successful.

Lara pointed out that reflecting on the excitement around Facebook reminded her of a value QlikTech shares, which centers around “move fast.” The value harks back to the esteemed American inventor, Thomas Edison, who said on his way to inventing the light bulb, “I have not failed; I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

The most successful people know how to “fail fast”

It’s well understood by venture capitalists that an entrepreneur who has founded companies that have failed is more likely to get funding again than an entrepreneur who has had one great success. Why? Because people learn more from failure than from success. But how exactly does “fail fast” differ from “give up early?”At Facebook, there is a saying that adorns their conference room walls, “Move Fast & Break Things.” Similarly, at QlikTech one of our core values is “Move Fast.” We believe it is okay to make mistakes as long as we learn from them.

This core value is at the heart of the QlikView Business Discovery platform, too. QlikView helps people test hypotheses and move fast. We allow decision makers to “Build to Think,” and do it quickly, so they can learn and test various hypotheses. (See the related blog post “QlikView Supports a Build to Think Approach to BI.”) Users can ask a business question, pop up a chart to find the answer, make selections to see associations, and change the chart or create a new one instantaneously. They can invite others into shared sessions and together they can test and prototype, learning all the while, without taking their eyes off the data or interrupting their thought process.

What will you do? Will you move fast? Are you willing to aim for a field goal, give it your best, and fail? Will you allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them?

There’s an analogy for what’s happening with Big Data today: the last mile in telecommunications. Businesses and public institutions have invested billions of dollars in the network backbone for telephone, cable, and Internet services. With access to these services from our homes, we can shop, play games, do research, get work done, conduct business, and communicate and socialize with friends and family. And there’s a fair amount of money to be made by telecom service providers from the monthly fees consumers pay for this access.

Last mile of Big Data.jpg

One of the big challenges in telecom is the “last mile” — bringing the telephone, cable, or Internet service to its end point in the home. It is expensive for the service provider to fan out the network from the trunk or backbone – to roll out trucks, dig trenches, and install lines. As a result, in some cases they pass high installation costs down to the end customer — or neglect to go the last mile at all, forgoing the revenue stream from those customers and leaving homes in rural communities without access to critical services. 

An October 19, 2011 article in Hearst Communications’ Times Union, “Rural life carries $2,647 cost for cable,” describes this situation for people living in the rural community of Ballston, New York. Unlike families who live in more densely populated areas, a family in Ballston was asked to pay the Time Warner cable company $20,000 to install cable in their home. Time Warner suggested that to reduce the cost, several nearby families might join together and split it, which could bring it down to $2,647 per household. In situations like these, families have to either pay up or do without.

There is a “last mile” problem in Big Data, too

Big Data refers to the enormous volume, velocity, and variety of data that exists and has the potential to be turned into business value. According to IDC, the volume of digital content in the world will grow to 2.7 billion terabytes in 2012, up 48% from 2011 — and it’s rocketing toward 8 billion terabytes by 2015.* Big Data can be structured or unstructured. It can be created by people, calculated by systems, or generated by machines.

McKinsey Global Institute has found that Big Data creates value in a few important ways:

  • Creating transparency
  • Enabling experimentation to discover needs, expose variability, and improve performance
  • Segmenting populations to customize actions
  • Replacing / supporting human decision making with automated algorithms
  • Innovating new business models, products, and services**

The challenges of ordinary BI are exacerbated by the volume, velocity, and variety of Big Data. Deriving the types of business value McKinsey describes requires taking Big Data the last mile into the hands of business users. The question is: how do you deliver data services to the people who need them? How do you empower business users with self-service and give them an excellent experience that will keep them coming back for more? How do you enable them to explore the data on their own and in groups to discover insights? To make discoveries that help them innovate? How do you help them simplify decision making, and turn decisions into action?

Today, most of vendors working on the problems of Big Data are focused on processing the data — they are focused on the backbone, to use the telecom analogy. This is an important problem area to address. The trouble is that working with Big Data requires a specialized skill set and level of technological sophistication that ordinary business users don’t have.

The last mile: this is where QlikTech fits into the picture. QlikTech’s mission is simplifying decisions for everyone, everywhere. With the QlikView Business Discovery platform we have user experience in our DNA. Our business model supports a fan-out to the business users — the corollary of the home in the telecom analogy. QlikView is a great complement to the capabilities of vendors focused on processing Big Data, as QlikTech partners like DataRocket, Dell Boomi, Informatica, and Trillium Software can attest. Big Data vendors and Business Discovery vendors like QlikTech can benefit mutually and grow the entire market opportunity by working together. Bring on the Big Data challenge! (See the related post, "QlikView and Big Data: It's All About Relevance."

 

* Source: “IDC Predictions 2012: Competing for 2020,” December 2011.

** Source: “Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity,” May 2011. McKinsey Global Institute is McKinsey & Company’s business and economics research arm.

Business Discovery is a new – and different – approach to traditional, hierarchical BI, enabling business users to make discoveries in their data themselves and ask and answer their own questions, without needing to return to IT every time a new query, report or visualization is needed. The role of IT is a critical element for the success of any Business Discovery implementation. QlikView enables a true IT-led Business Discovery approach allowing IT to manage the deployment at the macro level and allowing the business to manage it at the micro level. IT is placed in the center of all successful deployments and Business Discovery enables IT to become champions to the business once again.


This post is part of a series that examines the role of IT in Business Discovery.

 

Part 1: Traditional BI falls short and has cost too much

The drawbacks to the traditional approaches to BI are well documented and understood (see the white paper “Business Discovery – Powerful, User-Driven BI”) A report-centric approach to BI requiring multiple elements of a vendor’s stack and a team of skilled data analysts with deep SQL skills is exacerbated by the real frustration within the business (i.e. non-IT) community of inadequate access to data to help them make decisions due to a backlog in requests for new reports and new queries. IT professionals are frustrated by the wasted investment in building large BI systems due to a lackluster adoption by the business functions that they are supposed to be enabling. “We built it and nobody came” is a disheartening reality for many IT professionals involved in Traditional BI projects. For many, the promise offered by Traditional BI has been seen as a failure. As a result, tensions between the business and IT communities increase, data-driven decision making suffers and – worryingly – business units take matters into their own hands by utilizing the most ubiquitous of BI tools out there – the spreadsheet - resulting in ‘Spreadsheet Anarchy’.

It wasn’t meant to be this way. Business Intelligence – once known as ‘Decision Support’ – was supposed to allow people and groups to make better and more informed decisions because of easy access to and consumption of centralized and approved data. Unfortunately, as often happens, technology got in the way and the promise went unfulfilled.


Business Discovery Liberates IT from Mundane Tasks: A ‘Win-Win’ situation

Business Discovery is a ‘bottoms up’ approach to the age-old problem of data access: rather than following a top-down hierarchical approach, Business Discovery gives the decision makers – the business units – the flexibility to explore their data, find insights and turn that data into information, without requiring a costly and inefficient intervention from IT at every step. The effect on the organization is two-fold: firstly, business units can more quickly make better data-driven decisions, without technology (and lack of deep skills to use it) getting in the way. Secondly, IT organizations can now be freed up to focus on their core competencies because the time previously needed for mundane data access and report writing tasks can now be spent on higher value projects for the organization. Not only does the business side’s productivity increase, IT’s efficiency increases, resulting in a classic ‘win-win situation’.

IT at the center.jpg

Figure 1:The Evolving BI Landscape and IT’s Changing Role

A new approach to ‘Self-Service BI’

The concept of self-service BI is not a new one: some Traditional BI vendors have attempted to enable business units to take some control over data access and report generation. Unfortunately what has happened is that these approaches have not satisfied the business’ needs because they have been narrow in scope, have required heavy maintenance from the very IT professionals whom they are trying to liberate, have poor performance and have been – for most business professionals –hard to use. The idea – while worthy – failed in its execution.


QlikView takes a different approach to self-service BI: based on an inherently easier-to-build and deploy model via its associative in-memory technology, IT provisions secure and ‘clean’ centralized business data, the infrastructure and security privileges, while the business units are given the flexibility to explore the data along the paths that they define, introduce additional local data to augment their discoveries and even build their own applications. All of this occurs under a governance framework within QlikView that IT can tailor to meet the specific requirements of the organization. In this way, IT controls the deployment at the macro level while the business units run it at the micro level.

 

Figure 1 highlights the central role that IT takes in any successful Business Discovery deployment: At the center, provisioning data and services while the business takes ownership of its own analytic needs.

 

Figure 2 provides a simple view of the impact of Business Discovery on an IT organization. With Business Discovery, requests to the IT department are within a range of requests for new data elements and data sources, new data models (e.g. ‘cleansed’ departmental data) and infrastructure support (e.g. license management). With Traditional BI, requests to the IT department are more frequent: new reports, new data queries (including new OLAP cubes), new views on the data, new data access needs and infrastructure support – to name a few. The net result is that IT departments are typically backlogged with requests from the business, which has a negative impact on the overall efficiency of the IT department. 

 

BD liberates the IT organization.jpgFigure 2: Business Discovery liberates the IT organization

Figure 2 shows ranges in the amount of requests made to IT: every organization is different in how they implement Business Discovery or Traditional BI. In some, the IT requests are smaller than others. In general, however, Business Discovery implementations require less intervention by IT and allows them to focus on other, more productive aspects of their critical role within an organization. The reasons for this are examined in the next posts in this series.
In the next part of the series, I'll examine the various business and IT roles and their impact on a Business Discovery deployment.

I was at a party last weekend and I realized cheese and crackers is my favorite combination of food. The combo serves as a great snack, especially for get togethers. It is easy to make. This is a food combination loved by both rich and poor, whether you put cheap old cheese on store bought crackers, or the finest truffle laced mature brie onhand made crackers. Then I started thinking about my favorite QlikView 11 features combo.


Which QlikView 11 features when combined together will be easy to develop, unbeatable both for the power users and the business users and would lead users to unexpected business discoveries? My match in heaven for QlikView 11 is Comparative Analysis and Conditional Enabling! And here is why.

Comparative Analysis is a QlikView 11 feature enabling comparison of multiple data sets in a QlikView application. It is a user driven feature. It gives the flexibility to business users to define the values that make up the data sets and visually compare them. Conditional enabling provides the capability to define the content of a QlikView chart on the fly. By using this feature, the developer can define conditions to enable the dimensions and the metrics on the chart.

What happens when you combine them? Users can pick dimensions and metrics to create their own analysis. Based on what they discover with this new and personal analysis, they can create new data sets and assign these data sets to groups to further analyze them in other charts. Don’t you already feel like you are in business discovery heaven?  

The combo is easy to develop as can be seen in the video.  The QlikView application is also attached to this blog. It is simple enough to be used by business users and analytical enough to ease power users’ lives. The combo of comparative analysis and conditional enabling leads to unexpected business discoveries because users can create their own data sets with any dimensions and metrics values and can visually compare them for business discovery.  

Comparative analysis and conditional enabling is my combo QlikView 11 features to be the match in heaven, what is yours?



How many decisions roll up into that moment when a team scores the final touchdown, winning the Super Bowl — that uber-championship of American football? (And as a New Englander, it is begrudgingly that I offer congrats to the New York Giants.) Millions of decisions, I’d guess, depending on how granular you get. Start at the beginning of the season with scouting and player trades, salary negotiations, pre-season workout regimens, training activities, and logistics. Think about every decision the coaches make about strategies and plays. Every decision each player makes every day, when it comes to maintaining their health, managing stress, and strengthening their skills.

football.jpg

Millions of decisions, some large, some small, culminate in winning the grand prize of football, the covered Lombardi trophy. Football decisions, like decisions in other businesses, are based on multiple sources of insight:

  • Data. A recent NBC sports blog article titled, “Unlike Patriots, NFL slow to embrace ‘Moneyball’” highlights the use of data to drive decisions in the game of football. The analytics show that icing the kicker — calling a last-second timeout to put more pressure on him — doesn't work. The cliché that defense wins championships is wrong.  And top first-round draft picks are overvalued compared to picks a bit lower.
  • People.  People don’t make decisions based on data alone. After all, despite data showing that they have a 75% chance of making a first down, players still punt at fourth-and-2. They still ice the kicker. And they still talk about the preeminent importance of a strong defense. Here, the “people” source of insight is the players’ and coaches’ experiences, traditions, habits, and skills. It’s their intuition, their “gut feel,” their beliefs.
  • Place.  Being in a particular place at a particular time yields unique insights. In the football scenario, players and coaches make decisions based on where the ball and players are on the field. On what’s going on in the game at the moment. Other factors come into play as well – such as the weather, whether the game is home or away, and the condition of the field.

Every team reaching for greatness, in any industry, makes a continuous stream of decisions. All three sources of insight together drive optimized decision making, on the game field and off.

By Elif Tutuk and Erica Driver.

The purpose of BI software is to help people derive insights and make better business decisions based on data. So when you think BI you probably think about left-brain activities like analysis, calculations, math, and logic. But not all business problems can be solved with numbers and analysis alone ― and it takes a certain kind of mind to be able to find meaning by looking through rows and columns of numbers. BI software vendors began to recognize this a decade or more ago with an increased focus on data visualization, and with the more recent focus on collaboration and social capabilities built into the software.

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Being able to see the relationships and patterns in the data takes advantage of the right side of the brain, which is dominant in areas like spatial abilities, face recognition, visual imagery, and artistic and musical ability. Right-brain activities can spark creative thinking ― connecting dots you never thought to connect, and identifying patterns and outliers. And being able to communicate about questions, insights, observations, and perspectives helps all decision makers on a team move more quickly toward answers and action.

One of the things that differentiate QlikView from traditional BI platforms is that it enables people to utilize both modes of thinking. QlikView’s data analysis, charting and reporting, and annotations capabilities enable the left side of our brain to operate logically and sequentially. We could even include QlikView Publisher and QlikView Server here because these components provide administration of the QlikView environment.  

QlikView’s associative experience, visualizations, search, collaborative sessions, extensions, and the QlikView Workbench component enable right brain activities. Here are a few earlier QlikView blogs that demonstrate QlikView enabling the right side of the brain: “’Q’ – Your Business Discovery Personal Assistant” and “Making Everything ‘Qlikable’ with Recognition Technologies” and “The Bicycle of Business Intelligence.”

If we just had right-sided brains we wouldn’t be all that effective at work, and the same goes with the left side of the brain. We need a mixture of ways of thinking and QlikView enables both!

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