What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “developing business intelligence applications?” A visit to the dentist? A long-haul overnight flight in a non-reclining middle seat in front of the exit row? I’d venture a guess that what didn’t come to mind is “easy-as-pie app creation.”

Easy app creation.png

Check out this video created by QlikTech senior demo architect Adam Bellerby. In it, he shows how you can drag an Excel file from your desktop onto the QlikView program icon and you’re off and running. QlikView opens, the app creation wizard pops up, and within in few minutes you have your first list box and chart. And we’re not talking about a static bar chart; rather, fully interactive objects. You can click on values in the list box and lasso regions of your chart to immediately begin exploring your data. This is what Business Discovery is all about!

This week business analytics guru Tom Davenport (author of Analytics at Work, 2010, and Competing on Analytics, 2007) published an article on the Harvard Business Review blog titled, “Even Small Data Can Improve Your Organization’s Judgment.” In this post he makes three points, all highly relevant to Business Discovery.

    • “You don’t need a lot of data to be more successful.” Right on. The hype around Big Data is masking an important reality; the business value of data is in people having access to the right data at the right time. (See related blog post, “The Last-Mile Challenge of Big Data.”) Important questions related to Big Data are: How do you deliver data services to the people who need them? How do you give business users 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? The answer isn’t “give then more data.” It is “give them relevant data and provide them with excellent self-service capabilities.”
    • “You don’t necessarily have to do all the analysis yourself.” In one sense this is a great point, and I agree wholeheartedly. New data services are popping up every day on the web to bring together data from multiple sources (e.g., social media sites, government data, industry data, manufacturers’ channels, etc.) and make it available to customers. This information collection takes some of the burden off the people who have business questions. But another take on Davenport’s position is that in today’s world — where business users have access to tools they can use to easily explore data, make discoveries, and derive insights — performing analysis is no longer a bummer; it’s no longer an obligation, a “have to.” Exploring data using analytic apps is now a pleasure, and putting this capability directly in the hands of the people who have questions is empowering. And that’s where we come to Davenport’s third point.
    • “You can benefit from data-based decision making at the smallest level of the organization.” Truer words have never been spoken. Many kinds of decisions can be supported with data: operational, tactical, and strategic. It’s easier than ever before for decision makers at all levels of an organization to explore and analyze data and make data-driven decisions. What’s enabling this is the consumerization of IT — or, more accurately put, the “IT-ization of the consumer.” (See the related blog posts, “Empowered People Want to Make Stuff,” “Data Discovery Tools are Pitch-Perfect for Pro-Ams,” and “A Big Part of Consumerization Is ‘I Want to Make It Myself.’”)

Tom Davenport’s new book is called Judgment Calls: Twelve Stories of Big Decisions and the Teams that Got Them Right. It’s on my reading list; I see a book write-up in the future!

My colleague John Callan recently posted a blog article titled, “Why Discovery Matters.” In it he talked about why discovery is such an important aspect of the decision-making process. He got me thinking about how great discoveries happen.

One interesting perspective on this comes from Adam Savage, co-host of the TV show Mythbusters. In this March 2012 TED video titled, "How Simple Ideas Lead to Scientific Discoveries," Savage talked about a few examples of profound scientific discoveries that came from simple, creative methods anyone could have followed. His basic point: you don't have to be a brain surgeon or rocket scientist. All you need are simple tools and a bit of curiosity.

Examples Savage used in his talk include Eratosthenes' calculation of the Earth's circumference around 200 BC and Hippolyte Fizeau's measurement of the speed of light in 1849. Savage’s conclusion: “We are all explorers. The people that made these discoveries just thought a little bit harder about what they were looking at. And they were a little bit more curious. And their curiosity changed the way people thought about the world, and thus it changed the world.”

This little idea is actually a very big idea — an idea so big that it underpins the entirety of Business Discovery. Business Discovery is user-driven business intelligence that helps ordinary people make decisions based on multiple sources of insight: data, people, and place. With Business Discovery software, people can create and share knowledge and analysis in teams groups and across organizations. They can ask and answer stream of questions and follow their own path to insight — by themselves or in formal or informal groups.

Savage made the point that, “For most of human history, we had to discover [these] things using our eyes and our ears and our minds.” But today we have glorious technology at our fingertips. It’s easier than ever before for people to use simple, creative methods to identify unexpected relationships and associations and to draw connections between and comparisons among things that may have seemed unrelated. Savage said in his talk, “The simplest questions [can] carry you out to the edge of human knowledge.”

It’s about simple questions and simple, creative tools. Eratosthenes poked sticks in the ground to discover the earth’s circumference. Hippolyte Fizeau used a mirror, toothed wheel, and light source to discover the speed of light. And ordinary information workers in any industry you can think of, all around the globe, are using Business Discovery apps to make discoveries that help their organizations innovate, compete, and transform. What will you discover?

Have you ever wondered about when your older kid will start babysitting the younger one? Think about the advantages; they already know each other and the “system” in the house. The older one can provide this service for free (or at least you hope they will). This is what I think about the QlikView System Monitor/Server Performance app; QlikView can babysit QlikView for IT admins!

Monitoring app.PNGFor IT administrators, monitoring systems is important to avoid difficult situations. The QlikView System Monitor/Server Performance app is a free QlikView app — you can download it from QlikCommunity. This app provides 360 degree monitoring of the QlikView environment. It provides information on system usage, QlikView app usage, licensing, data refreshes, Publisher tasks, and more. With this QlikView app, IT admins can more easily conduct daily — even hourly — checks, which can prevent anything serious -such as high RAM and CPU consumption, Publisher tasks failures etc…-  happening in the system. QlikView System Monitor/Server Performance leverages all of the ordinary QlikView functionality, such as associative search, visual clues, alerts, trend analysis, and an endless array of visualization options.

The latest version of the app was developed by Michael Terenzi, a QlikView support technician at QlikTech. Here are some highlights from the new release:

  • QlikView Directory Service, QlikView Web Service, Internet Information Services (IIS) Web Server, QlikView Management Service, SAP Connector, SalesForce Connector and Publisher logs are all incorporated into the app, providing a full overview of what is going on with the system.
  • It supports clustered environments and provides information on each node in the QlikView cluster.
  • QlikView audit log statistics are linked to QlikView session information, giving IT admins a better understanding of which user is doing what, and when.
  • The app contains quick links to our customer and partner portals, as well as a link to email QlikView support.
  • The app contains links to the new QlikView Power Tools (a free package of utilities designed to help QlikView developers and IT admins use, troubleshoot, and extend QlikView functionality).
  • The app is mobile ready. IT administrators can use the app from the mobile device as well as from their desktop. They can monitor the system from anywhere, anytime!

If you are not already using QlikView System Monitor/Server Performance app, you can download it here. Let QlikView babysit QlikView for you!

You don’t ordinarily think about police departments catching criminals or streamlining operations as a typical BI application. But it’s typical for Business Discovery. In early 2011 I blogged about the police department in the Swedish city of Malmö using QlikView to catch a serial killer.

Police light No. Devon UK.jpg

In the UK, the Gwent police are using QlikView to map crime, allocate police resources, monitor staff and force performance, and simplify government and regulatory reporting. The Gwent police department brings data from more than 20 sources into QlikView. Talk about results: the crime mapping application saved 15.5 hours of time per individual for a total savings of £350,000 by the time we published this recent case study. Paul Evans, QlikView developer at the Gwent police, said, “There is no doubt that QlikView has driven Gwent Police performance overall, which is improving against ever tougher standards.”

The Gwent Police are not alone. Another one of our UK customers is the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. Devon and Cornwall deployed QlikView to address challenges like optimizing police resource allocation, communicating with the community, engaging in intelligence-led policing, and gaining visibility into the performance of individual staff and force members. (You can download a case study here.)

The Devon and Cornwall police have deployed dozens of QlikView apps. Now, management information is available in “real-enough time” and the staff has access to self-service analytics. The police department now has better access to information. People spend less time on tedious, repetitive activities like measuring counts of crimes and more time performing value-added activities like targeting and deploying police resources quickly and easily.

You can hear Dr. Richard Bullock, CIO for the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, talk about his force’s use of QlikView in this Financial Times podcast recorded February 22nd, 2012. (It’s the one titled “Catching crooks with data, and MWC preview.”)

An important aspect of Social Business Discovery is co-creation: business users and/or developers creating and modifying analytic apps together. QlikView provides many ways for people to co-create.

Cocreation with QlikView.png

With QlikView, business users can create objects in a server-based application (e.g., charts, graphs, tables, list boxes, etc.) and easily make these objects available to others, who can then modify them for their own use. Users can create whole apps and email them to others who can take over from there. Multiple developers can work on different parts of an app (e.g., the script or the user interface) simultaneously, or can work on the same parts asynchronously, using the source control integration built into QlikView 11 (Microsoft Team Foundation Services and Apache Subversion). And — also new in QlikView 11 — business users and developers can modify server-based apps via a web browser simultaneously.

With Shared Sessions, Users Can Work on Server-Based Apps Together at the Same Time

Think about kids building a castle out of blocks. With traditional BI and most data discovery platforms, the way collaborative creation works is one kid hands another kid a block and points a finger, saying, “Will you please put this block over there?  . . . No, over there.” This would be a rather unnatural way for the kids to build their castle.

With QlikView, all the kids can put their blocks on the castle themselves, streamlining communication and shortening time to completion. All participants in a shared session are able to create new objects, modify each others’ objects (e.g., move them around on the screen and modify their properties), and interact with the objects any of them create (e.g., make selections).

Let’s say a business user wants to be able to answer a new stream of questions in an app. She opens the app and initiates a shared session with the developer who built the app. The developer creates a new tab and labels it “sandbox.” Instantaneously, the business user sees this new tab appear on her screen. The developer might drag an existing object (let’s say a scatter chart) out of the repository and quickly modify the properties. The business user moves the new scatter chart over on the screen to make room for a new list box, which she pops up on the screen and uses to make a selection to test the new chart.

Co-creation is a critical aspect of Business Discovery. Today, it’s not enough for empowered people to be able to search on their own or passively consume content. People want to make stuff. One passionate example I like is in the TEDx Vancouver video presentation by digital artist and designer Jer Thorp, called “The Weight of Data.” In this video (which contains loads of cool data visualizations), Thorp talks with great fondness about the HyperCard program that shipped with Macintosh computers in the 80s. He commented, “If you talked to the people who invented the computer and you told them there would be a day, a magical day, when everybody had a computer but none of them knew how to program they would think you were crazy.”

That’s probably true. But the user experience with technology has become simple and intuitive to a degree that the people who invented the computer only dreamed about. Today, empowered people don’t need to be programmers to be able to use technology to manipulate data; acquire the tools they need to get their jobs done; and create their own content, mashups, and apps. In the video, Thorp said, “I thank the stars for HyperCard all of the time . . . for putting me in this era where I got to use HyperCard.”

Me? I thank the stars not so much for HyperCard but for blogging tools I can use to write little blurbs like this one and put them out in the world for you to read, and for Business Discovery platforms I can use to co-create analytic apps with my colleagues for assessing and communicating about segments of the market or managing a complex product launch process. It’s a great time to be an information worker in an empowered organization!

Elif Tutuk

QlikView “Aha!” Moments

Posted by Elif Tutuk Mar 16, 2012

I was thinking about why developers become so addicted to QlikView after they start using it. Why did I become a QlikView addict? My reason is that QlikView gives users a moment of clarity, an “aha” moment, while they are creating apps. QlikView lets them use the features that they already know in different ways where they gain new wisdom to use their curiosity and creativity.

 

 

I decided to list and share some of my QlikView “aha” moments with you. The list has some simple and some advanced capabilities. The video is a quick run-through showing some of them in action.

  1. Drag and drop to open a QlikView application:
    • Drag and drop a QlikView application (qvw) file into the QlikView Developer client to have it opened.
  2. The power of gray and selections:
    • With QlikView, users can literally see relationships in the data. They can see not only which data is associated with their selections, they can just as easily see which data is not associated. This generates new insights and unexpected discoveries.
    • With a right click, they can reverse their analysis by selecting the non-associated data (select excluded).
    • By using the “show alternatives” option on list boxes, the user can get further insight on the data values that are related to the selection state besides the green value.  When a selection is made on a list box, the selected value is highlighted in green and all of the other values are highlighted in grey. If the user would like to get insight on the data values that are still relevant with the selection state in addition to the green value, they can check the “show alternatives” option and can get insight on all of the relevant values in addition to the selected value.    
    • The user can move between selected values in a list box by using the down arrow on the keyboard. As the selection changes with the down arrow pressed, the charts recalculate on the fly and the user sees changes in the data. 
  3. List box with expression:
    • The user can create new data selection points by creating a list box with an expression. For example, the expression can define the sum of sales at the customer level. The user can then make selections on these new data points to do further analysis.
  4. Calculated dimensions:
    • The dimension values on charts do not need to exist in the data model; new data points can be created and used as dimension values on charts. For example, in a chart showing the inventory quantities by the number of weeks, the number of weeks is a calculation that is used as dimension values. 
  5. Bookmark:
    • In QlikView, the current state of selections can be saved as bookmarks for later use. To create the bookmark, QlikView does not store the actual data values; it stores the criteria that are used while the selections are made (the filters the user applied). If the selection criterion is an expression, let’s say “top 15 products,” QlikView will store the expression and when the data refresh happens, the updated top 15 products will be displayed when the bookmark is selected.  
  6. Document chaining:
    • With document chaining, it is possible to open one QlikView application from another QlikView application and carry the selection states from the first to the second application.
  7. Power of in-memory data transformation:
    • QlikView provides tons of functionality to transform data in memory. It is possible to create new tables, and new fields in memory to use them in Business Discovery. Please see the script syntax part of the QlikView reference manual document.
  8. Data exploration:
    • On the table viewer, when hovering with the cursor above the fields, users can get information about the data density and subset ratio to understand any data integrity issues. The number of selected values vs. all of the values is displayed on the right bottom part of the QlikView screen.
  9. Binary load:
    • With binary load, it is possible to load the in-memory data model from one QlikView application to another one. Binary loads are very fast. It is possible to do further in-memory data transformation on the data after the binary load.
  10. Search:
    • QlikView allows search not only by actual data values but also by new data calculations. For example, the user can type “=rank(sum(Sales)) <=5” on a product list box. This would select the top 5 products based on sales. The same type of search can be done on a search box. In that case, QlikView not only will display the top five products but also all of the associated data (e.g., sales people, regions, price, etc. . . anything related to these five top products). Pretty powerful! 

These aha moments are some of the “unlisted” benefits of QlikView. Although people have different experiences in their lives that would result in “aha” moments, only QlikView users will experience all of these aha moments while doing Business Discovery or creating Business Discovery apps!

I love this: “Quantifying our cost savings or QlikView’s ROI doesn’t do the solution enough justice. After all, how can one measure the true value of true Business Discovery, which helps the entire organization focus on KPIs, revenue growth, and cost reduction?” This is a quote from a new customer case study about Aon Groep Nederland BV’s use of QlikView. You can download the four-page case study here.Aon logo.PNG

In just a day and a half, the project team was able to install QlikView Server; extract data from Oracle, Peoplesoft, Salesforce.com, and Microsoft Excel; and create three apps — an app for monitoring response to damage claims, a shared services dashboard, and a Salesforce.com dashboard. Sound unbelievable? It would have to Aon, too, before they experienced it first hand — and this is why we call our proofs of concept “Seeing Is Believing” events (or SIBs).

Arjan van den Herik, project management office manager, Organization & Automation division, said, “What happened . . . defied belief. We spend just a single day on the development aspect, and only half a day on the visual layout of the dashboards.” The project team created an app that provides insight into critical success factors of the damage claim handling process, a shared services dashboard for financial reporting, and a Salesforce.com dashboard for analyzing customer relationship management at various levels of detail.

I also like the way Arjan van den Herik described Business Discovery apps. He said, “A Business Discovery application should be a small-scale application that is used for a specific purpose.” That’s the beauty of QlikView. Quickly and easily, you can create not just a report or visualization or dashboard but an entire application that enables users to explore data drawn from multiple systems. The users can ask and answer streams of questions on their own and in teams and groups, from in the office or on the road with their mobile devices. And in Aon’s case, it’s all in the name of fulfilling the client promise of value add and impact.

In a recent blog post, “To Be (To Cloud) or Not To Be (Not to Cloud) BI,” Forrester analyst Boris Evelson wrote about the alphabet soup of cloud- and SaaS-based BI.* In his post, Boris noted that there are hundreds or thousands of domain- or industry-specific cloud-based BI applications out there. He’s right on.

SaaS BI Sweet Spot - blog V1.png

We are seeing a huge pull from the market for purpose-built, task-specific software applications that are easy for customers to acquire and learn how to use. As Boris put it in his post, this kind of SaaS offering is continuing to “pop up all over the place.”

Who’s delivering these apps? Our OEM partners. To name just a few:

And they’re all doing it using QlikView to deliver Business Discovery to their customers.

QlikTech’s role in SaaS BI is to arm our partners with the premium Business Discovery software platform for building Web-based analytic apps. With QlikView, our partners quickly and easily create domain-and industry-specific analytic apps and deliver them any way they want to: on-premise, desktop applications, mobile apps, in the cloud, or via a SaaS model. Users can then explore the procurement, channel, or school performance data any way they want to, following their own path to insight and discovery.

Cloud- and SaaS-based BI are especially attractive to our partners and their customers when the data needed for analysis also resides in the cloud. One great benefit to customers is the ability to benchmark themselves against peers using a similar platform (e.g., comparing spend data or channel data against the competition). As more and data moves into the cloud, and the practice of BI commonly incorporates more externally-sourced data, we expect to see the number of SaaS-based analytic apps only increase.

 

*SaaS = software as a service

I recently gave two presentations on trends in BI at IT conferences in Sweden and South Africa and one of the trends we are seeing very clearly is the trend towards enabling discovery:

 

Discovery (dis-ˈkə-v(ə-)rē): Find (something or someone) unexpectedly or in the course of a search. (ref. Google)

 

To understand the reasons for this we need to understand why discovery is such an important aspect of the decision-making process that BI is supposed to support. As the definition states, discovery is about finding something unexpectedly during a search. While many discoveries are irrelevant and ultimately useless, others are so groundbreaking in their significance as to make all other useless discoveries worth the waste of time.

 

Discovery_Fleming.jpg

                                                                                                                                                                          (Source: www.creativeclipsonline.com)


I wonder how many useless discoveries Sir Alexander Fleming made before he went on vacation in 1928, inadvertently leaving a petri-dish filled with bacteria to grow a mold that would ultimately be the genesis of the anitbiotic that has had such a profound impact on humankind over the last 80 years. The discovery of penicillin was neither expected nor even the reason why he was conducting his research. But it was discovered nonetheless.

The scientific world is full of examples of game-changing discoveries like Sir Alexander’s. Some have a smaller impact than his, yet are still very notable. From the discoveries that led to Post-It Notes, Velcro, cellophane, brandy (cognac), the microwave, Teflon, even Viagra: the world is full of examples of individuals or groups discovering something unexpectedly in the course of a search (often for something else!).

Discovery isn’t – and shouldn’t – be limited to the scientific community. Discoveries happen every day in the business and consumer worlds. In business, discovering that your company is selling more of a product in one region than another, or that on a given day of the week, at a particular time, the quality of product on the production line drops, or that when Product A is placed alongside Product B on your store shelves both products sell more – all of these have an extremely valuable place in our professional lives.

Up until recently, our business software has failed in its attempt to facilitate the discovery process. This is not an indictment of the people charged with implementing and running the projects; rather it is a reflection of the fundamental architectures that the traditional BI vendors were forced to choose when decision support became prevalent. Constrained by disk-based and query-based architectures because of the high cost of memory at the time, the natural free-flowing exploration of data that might ultimately lead to discoveries was not permitted to occur. In order to try to alleviate this restriction, the notion of OLAP and cube-based technologies came to the fore, but without the desired results. The fundamental restriction was the underlying reliance on disk-based and query-based technologies that were a) too slow and b) technically difficult to master. Ultimately, what BI became was the provider of standardized reports with well-defined KPIs and other metrics and dashboards which offered the users a limited data exploration experience.

 

Discovery_EndUser.jpg

It was here that "end users" truly became END users; they were the end of a process of data collection, modeling, and cleansing, and report generation. At QlikTech we talk about the "end of the end user." With Business Discovery, the person actually using the software to make decisions through interesting discoveries is not thought of as the "end" of anything. Rather, they are the beginning of something. The beginning of the discovery process. The beginning of a process that allows them to ask and answer their own questions without restriction, without needing to follow pre-defined and restricted exploration paths.

The trend towards discovery in BI has been made possible with QlikView, which adopts a radically different approach to data access and analysis. The dramatic reduction of the cost of memory coupled with innovations such as associative data modeling and data exploration has given business users the ability to explore data to encourage those key discoveries. Gone are the restrictions around old, pre-defined data exploration paths, and are now replaced by an unrestricted approach to data discovery where business users can ask and answer their own questions, regardless of how the data has been structured further up the chain.

Imagine if Sir Alexander had been restricted by not being allowed to see the famous mold forming on his petri dish. In a traditional BI world, this path of insight would have been shut off to him, simply because it wasn’t something that had been pre-determined.

Since the beginning of 2009, he has run the equivalent of 39% of the way from Philadelphia to San Francisco and has driven 19% of the distance from the earth to the moon. He has eaten 792 eggs and burned 1,411 gallons of gasoline. He runs an 8.4 minute mile. His name is Michael Anthony.

Michael Anthony is a designer at QlikTech. Since 2009, he has tracked a variety of data points in his life. Why? "Just to see what would happen." Now it’s a habit. Prior to joining QlikTech he used to publish his findings in a digital poster he called his “personal annual report” (check out the poster version of his 2011 annual report).

My Life in Data 2.png

Michael still publishes the posters. But when he joined QlikTech in 2011, he used QlikView to create an app he called My Life in Data (check it out on our demo site here). He now uses the app to drive his work on the poster — and the app is an experience in its own right. My Life in Data features personal data Michael collected during 2009, 2010, and 2011. You can find out how many times he’s washed his car, which months he tends to go to the movies, and what percentage of the time his lucky charm helps his home team win.

Believe it or not, Michael Anthony is not the only person who enters data about his life in a Google spreadsheet multiple times per day. In fact, a whole movement can be traced to a journalist named David Wolf who started publishing his thoughts about his personal data collection on his Quantified Self blog in 2007. There are thousands of people do this, for a variety of reasons. As Gary Wolf said in a 2010 TED video, “The self is just our operations center, our consciousness, our moral compass. So if we want to act more effectively in the world, we have to get to know ourselves better.”

I asked Michael Anthony whether he has derived any unexpected insights from collecting personal data and putting it in an interactive app. He said, “The surprising part is that when you aggregate the numbers and see them on the screen, they seem so large. And putting it in context really helps you visualize the numbers." Seeing the cold, hard data on the screen — and having something to compare it to (e.g., last year’s numbers) — can lead to insights powerful enough to change one’s behavior.

Between 2009 and 2011, Michael has increased the average number of miles he runs each day from .68 to 1.21. He consumed 91 fewer beers and 24 fewer soft pretzels in 2011 than he did in 2010. And he maintained a striking consistency in his consumption of apples. I look forward to his 2012 annual report, which will contain even more data points now that he is using a FitBit.

In the TED video journalist Gary Wolf said, “New tools are changing our sense of self in the world . . . [These tools] can be useful for self-improvement, self-discovery, self-awareness, self-knowledge.”  Whether or not that was the intention Michael started with, it seems to be a result. Hats off to him; his ongoing quantified-self work is an inspiration to me, and hopefully will be to you as well.

The very concept of what a book is has changed. (The same is true with music videos — check out Björk’s Biophelia — but that’s a topic for another day). What was a sheaf of paper pages glued and stitched together has evolved into an interactive, high-tech experience that combines images, text, animation, sound, video, touch, and more. (It’s all very “Harry Potter.”)

What hasn’t changed is the human desire to hear and tell stories . . . to be transported into other worlds of imagination and possibility. I recently watched the TED video, “Using tech to enable dreaming” by illustrator, storyteller, and iPad book creator Shilo Shiv Suleman. When Shuleman first experienced the iPad, she saw it as a storytelling device that could connect readers all around the world. In this video, she shows off her latest storybook creation, an interactive fantasy adventure called Khoya.

In Khoya, you (the reader? user? player? actor?) type in your name and become a character in the story. Using the iPad’s location services, the app knows where in the world you are. You tilt your iPad to let glowing fireflies out of a jar and they illuminate your way through the story. Maps guide you; they change and grow, revealing more detail as the story unfolds. At one point in the story, the screen fills with images of leaves and you are instructed to blow against the iPad’s microphone to push the leaves away. At another point you are asked to go outside and use the iPad’s camera to take pictures of items in the natural world (e.g., flowers and bark). These photos become part of your version of the book. You can upload your collection of photographs to a social network of other Khoya readers from around the world.

Imagine This

As I watched this video I thought about the extraordinary possibilities for data storytelling. A big part of decision making is persuading others to get on board. Sometimes hard data is enough to convince people; often it isn’t. Qualitative inputs are also important — other peoples’ opinions, questions, perspectives, and experiences. Very often, decisions have a strong emotional component. How much easier would it be to persuade others to support a decision, join a cause, or champion a needed change if you could tell compelling stories about the data?

The fantasy aspects of Khoya aside, imagine incorporating some of its storytelling power into your presentations at work. Imaging inviting your management team to an important decision-making meeting. You ask them to point their iPads to a server where they interact with a data storytelling app. A map guides them through a series of data visualizations. They can easily change the charts and “data pictures” on the fly to view the data in ways that make sense to them. 

At each transition in your presentation, you give them the code (“Tap twice on the image of the power plant”) to enable them to unlock the next “chapter” in your data story. With the app you are able to guide them through your discoveries and recommendations. They pass their iPads from one person to another as the conversation flows and they come up with insights. The managers in the meeting feel connected to the data and emotionally involved in the decision. You have won them over.

I recently asked Noel Shannon and Paddy Moore of QlikPower, a QlikTech partner in Ireland, what they love about QlikView 11. I was so enthused about the answer that I decided to write about it. QlikPower has built a series of business apps and extensions based on the QlikView Business Discovery platform. QlikPower’s Q200 is a BI app designed to work with the Sage 200 enterprise applications. And QlikPower’s Accelerators are data connectors, data models, metrics, KPIs, and applications ready for use in your QlikView apps.

What do you love about QlikView11.png

Noel and Paddy had a quick answer to what they love most about QlikView 11: capabilities that make life easier for developers, such as comparative analysis and conditional enabling. When building the Q series of their solution line, QlikPower developers knocked about 20% off their development time by using QlikView 11 versus QlikView 10.

  • Conditional enabling. Prior to QlikView 11, they use to show a single expression (measure) in a chart at any one time or they had to use complex “if” statements to show multiple measures. With QlikView 11 they enable the user to choose which expression they want to see — and it only took a few minutes to set this up.
  • Comparative analysis using “alternate states.” And with QlikView 11 it became very easy to enable the business user to select different time periods to compare — say, a week from 2012 to a week from 2011. Noel Shannon said, “Users love this flexible analysis that puts users in control.” (To learn more about comparative analysis and conditional enabling, check out the “What’s New in QlikView 11” data sheet.)

Overall, what Noel and Paddy love about QlikView is that it helps their customers “get to BI quickly.” QlikPower’s customers will typically have an enterprise application system that manages inventory, accounts, profit and loss, sales, etc. QlikPower offers a BI solution to run on top of those enterprise applications.

After the solution has been implemented, the customer instantly sees the value and the first question they ask is, "Can I bring in other data sources?" In one example Noel gave, after they implemented the Q 200 app for a hospital that used Sage 200, the hospital administrators immediately asked, “Can we get our patient data in here for analysis?” The answer is, of course, yes. With a QlikView dashboard, decision makers can have all the data they need there in one place — without having to move it out of its source system.

How about you? What do you love about QlikView 11?

Filter Blog

By date:
By tag: