As a newcomer to QlikView I had the privilege of being sent on a QlikView training course in QlikTech’s HQ in Winnersh, Berkshire, UK. The purpose of my training was to gain a better understanding of this amazing Business Intelligence platform; its capabilities; in addition to its inherent benefits. I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say that any organisation would benefit through an implementation of QlikView as the direct benefits are multi-fold.
So what is it that really makes QlikView unique in comparison to other BI platforms? For starters, it is a very simple and intuitive BI tool and end users love it. In fact, they rave about it. Just recently, BARC published their 2012 research findings and users have rated QlikView as the top ranked BI tool in visual analysis, innovation, and agility. Now they are impressive stats!
At a more simplistic level, QlikView can help users understand their data better as it enables them to ask more pertinent and relevant questions pertaining to their business. When you begin to drill down into your data, QlikView facilitates and enables business discovery around core areas of your business that you may not have been aware of hitherto. That’s what so brilliant about it – you would be amazed at what you would discover about your business by using it. Most companies that we (Covali) do a SIB (Seeing-Is-Believing) for (using a sample of their data) are quite simply amazed at some of their findings. So in essence, you get a comprehensive 360 angle into your business.
For the end user, it is accessible through a single application that delivers information dynamically so that the user can interact and interrogate the data in a more meaningful way. So business users can answer their own questions and IT staff can focus on other IT centric activities. This frees up their time to complete other crucial tasks within the organisation leading to a more efficiently run IT department. Having QlikView guarantees a path to achieving the most from your data. This then in turn results in more improved decision making across the enterprise.
So business discovery is one of the most fundamental benefits of QlikView. Most BI products in the marketplace help people answer questions that are understood in advance, through the use of static dashboards, PDF reports etc. However, a standalone visualisation ONLY shows a single view of data, and a report ONLY shows a static view of data. The downside to this is that business users do not have the flexibility to ask follow-on questions or look at the information from a different perspective. With other BI products the only option is to build more reports or visualizations which results in a bigger reporting backlog. This will obviously have a knock on affect in terms of increasing your costs.
So how does QlikView enable this? It holds the data needed for analysis in memory. It also compresses the data to 10% of its original size. Every time the user makes a selection within QlikView the application updates every object with a newly calculated set of data. So unlike traditional tools that only offer pre-defined drill paths and interactions, QlikView works quite differently. The concept of the associative experience allows you to see the relationship between the entire data element within the QlikView app. Also, the QlikView user is never restricted; they can start and finish their analysis at any point. The QlikView engine automatically manages all the relationships in the data and presents information to the user using a “green/white/gray” metaphor. Selections are highlighted in green, associated data is represented in white, and excluded (unassociated) data appear in gray. So in essence it essentially facilitates collaboration and mobility for everybody within an organisation. Users can communicate with each other in the context of their decision making through annotations, real-time collaborative sessions, and shared bookmarks. Also full QlikView capabilities including collaboration are available on mobile devices.
Call Covali today on +353 1 2939302 or +44 207 5588 029 in order to get deep insight into your data and your business.
Information technology has dramatically improved the way organisations process their data and most have seen the benefits that are derived from implementing transaction processing systems to improve everyday operations. A large percentage of employees in any organisation use information technology as part and parcel of their job. In Retail - Point of Sale transactions are captured and processed to drive Inventory Management systems to optimise Purchasing and avoid over supply or shortages. In Distribution, Fleet Management systems are used to optimise deliveries and ensure customer fulfilment. Personnel Systems ensure that we track the careers, training and management of our employees and in Professional Services we use Project Management Systems to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. These are but a few examples of the areas of business that have been improved through the use of Information Technology in the last couple of decades.
But when it comes to sytems for the key people in an organisation - the senior executives and managers - we find that very little has been done in the same period of time. And it is extraordinary that the people who make the most important decisions in an organisation often do so based on very little information - or worse, maybe a hunch!
Other than email, word processing and sometimes spreadsheets, most senior executives in an organisation do not use very much technology at all. Decisions are often made based on verbal reports or submissions from other senior and junior executives. In many cases data is gathered togeteher from various systems and copied or pasted into spreadsheets for further manipulation before being again copied or pasted into Powerpoint or the like, for final presentation before crucial decisions are made. And we are all aware of the potential dangers that are associated with this approach - there has long been ample evidence that errors in spreadsheets are pandemic. Spreadsheets, even after careful development, contain errors in one percent or more of all formula cells. In large spreadsheets with thousands of formulas, there will be dozens of undetected errors. Even significant errors may go undetected because formal testing in spreadsheet development is rare and because even serious errors may not be apparent. Despite this many organisations rely on the spreadsheet for their reporting and decision making.
The main problem that is coming down the track is that not only are spreadsheets prone to error but they cannot cope with 'Big Data' - and this trend is just beginning!
Data production will be 44 times greater in 2020 than it was in 2009. Experts are predicting a 4300% increase in data production by 2020 and that this is driven a) by the switch from analog to digital technology and b) by the rapid increase in the production of data by individuals and corporates alike. But even though more than 70% of the digital universe will be produced by individuals - it is the enterprise that will have responsibility for the storage, management and protection of it, and for the ability to analyse it's content.
So if you want to analyse data you really need to think about using an alternative to the spreadsheet for your executives and information managers. And while you are at it why not use something that is of value to the senior management and decision makers and not just the data providers?
So what are the options out there? Business Intelligence solutions have tried to provide answers to these issues for some time now, with varying degrees of success. The reasons they have not been embraced completely so far is because they have often been too expensive, taken too long to implement and have been too difficult to use without extensive training.
This is all changing due to the introduction of new platforms from global players like QlikView and, more recently, GoodData - which allow software companies build out-of-the-box applications which can be rapidly implemented and at a low cost. One such company is Covali - formerly known as QlikPower, they have been building Business Intelligence Solutions for years now and have releaed a series of BI Apps which can be deployed on site or in the cloud on a subscription basis.
One of their first Apps is a Profitability App. It is probably true to say that most executives and decision makers in a business are fully engaged in improving the profitability of their organisation and this App allows you to see what is going on in your business. It is so easy to load your data so that you can see at a glance the most important indicators in your business. You can see trends over time and compare the sales performance of your salespeople and look at the profitability of your products when compared with their unit sales and margin. And this will empower you to make better decisions with all the data you need - no matter how big it is! You can also build your own reports, simply and easily and without the need to go on a training course. Covali are offering a Free Trial or a Demo of their product solutions so click here to have a look - it will improve the way you make decisions!
I read an interesting article today Fastest-Growing Category of Cloud Computing: Business Intelligence and Analytics. Here is some of what was said
"To be sure, we’re still only in the early stages cloud-based BI and analytics. A new survey report from Saugatuck Technology concludes that, as of year-end 2011, only about 13% of enterprises worldwide – including all industries and all sizes of enterprises – indicated that they had cloud-based BI/advanced analytics solutions in place and in use.
But this is about to change. Saugatuck’s survey also shows that cloud-based BI and analytics will be among the fastest-growing cloud-based business management solution types through the next two years. Cloud-based BI and analytics will see an 84% compound annual growth rate over this period. This is based on a survey sample of 200 user enterprise IT and business leaders, along with input from about 30 vendors.
BI and analytics — whether on-premises or in the cloud — has long been the hottest area of software. Even when the economy and IT spending are down, companies still keep spending on BI, because it helps provide data-driven clarity and some predictability in market trends, and therefore quickly pays for itself.
“Inevitably, cloud is opening up business intelligence and analytics to more users — non-analysts — within organizations”. There already is a drive to make BI more ubiquitous, and the cloud will accelerate this move toward simplified access.
Not only do cloud-based BI solutions have advantages over on-premises BI for the usual reasons (rapid deployment, low upfront cost; quick and cheap scalability for processing, storage, operations and accessibility), but there are advantages specific to BI applications
For example, cloud-based BI enables the instant propagation of updates and changes, “of particular importance due to changes in data sources, and need to include new types of analysis,” but it also more cost-effectively supports a wider variety of initiatives, including one-time analyses, experimentation, trial deployments, broadening of the usage base, and agile development/deployment.” Cloud also offers a way to better share data with business partners and the supply chain".
Cloud computing is the ideal way for small and medium sized businesses to get the technology that previouly was only available to large multi-national companies. To learn more about how cloud computing can help small and medium sized businesses read our blog post
I read an interesting article today from Software Advice: BI Buzzword Breakdown | 5 Experts Tackle 3 Business Intelligence Definitions. The article helps new BI users get their heads round some of the acronyms and terminology commonly used when talking about BI. Business Intelligence is not just for the IT crowd anymore. With companies like QlikView making BI more user friendly and encouraging more casual business users, there are more and more people who want to learn about BI.
Acronyms are only useful when everyone involved in the conversation knows what they are. This can be tricky in a BI environment as you can have IT guys talking to non IT guys in what seems like a different language with the amount of acronyms involved. One common offender is OLAP which stands for online analytical processing. OLAP tools enable users to analyse different dimensions of multidimensional data. At the centre of a OLAP system is a hypercube. There are some disadvantages though; OLAP-based Hypercubes limit users to a small number of dimensions. Measures have to be defined when the application is developed and redefinition of a measure is time-consuming. The user interface is complicated for non-IT people to understand. Bottom line is that OLAP-based Hypercubes and Data Warehouses are expensive and time-consuming solutions to install.
It is because of these disadvantages that QlikView uses QlikTech's patented AQL (Associative Query Logic) technology which works in a different way, by building and maintaining a non-relational, associative and highly space efficient database that resides in RAM. The advantage of the AQL architecture is that the source data is retained and immediately available offline for analysis, all the way down to the source transactions. The result is powerful analytical capabilities provided through a highly intuitive user interface that encourages exploration and creativity.
The three BI definitions covered in the article are "Big Data", "Data Warehouse" and "Data Mining". For the definition of big data I agreed most with expert Billy Cripe's definition that "Big data looks for trends, patterns and insights from extremely large data sets. Examples include the entire Facebook Social Graph and years’ worth of Amazon.com buying history. It is from these extremely large and often heterogeneous data sets that new insights emerge"
Big data is a hot topic at the moment with more and more companies wanting to create and manage large data sets. For this companies need to understand the software tools, processes and procedures involved with big data.
The definition of data warehouse I liked most was by expert Jake Freivald who said "Think of a data warehouse as the data equivalent of a massive distribution center for a retail chain: everything of every type for every store goes into a distribution center, and every data item of every type for everyone goes into a data warehouse. And because data warehouses have a lot of data that comes from a lot of places, they're very complex, which means they take time to build and–more importantly–adapt to changes".
Effectively managing data warehouses is something which can be difficult. But unlocking your data from your data warehouse is something which QlikView excels at.
The definition I found best for data mining was by expert Estelle Nicholson who said "The more purist definition is not just analysis, but discovery. It’s taking the data a step further to find correlations and patterns that weren’t seen or maybe weren’t discovered before. For example, a marketing firm could correlate household income and the effectiveness of a specific campaign run, or maybe the delivery method of the campaign and quality of customers it generated. You can come up with answers you never even thought of the questions for"
I really like this definition as it talks about discovery which is something that I feel is crucial when dealing with data. Data mining shouldn't be a rigid task of seeing what you already know, it needs to be about finding out what you didn't know and what you didn't even think to look for and it is this discovery that I like most about QlikView.
To learn more about QlikView Business Discovery
QlikTech ranked third on Forbes annual list of America’s 25 Fastest-Growing Tech Companies. With LinkedIn and Apple occupying the top two spots. This is the first year that QlikTech has made the list, and to rank third on it is quite the achievement. With 12 month sales of $337 million and 12 month sales growth of 37% it's no surprise QlikTech finished so high. And with the third highest estimated earnings per share growth over the next three to five years, there is a strong possibility for QlikTech to make a return appearance on the list.
To compile the list, Forbes analysed more than 5,000 publicly traded technology companies with minimum revenue of $150 million and a minimum market value of $500 million. To be considered, companies had to show sales growth of at least 10 per cent for each of the past three fiscal years and over the latest 12 months. Additionally, companies had to have three-to-five-year estimated earnings-per-share growth rates greater than 10 per cent. The finalists were ranked based on their three-year average sales growth rates.
By finishing third on the list QlikTech shows it's ready to become a market leader in the relatively new sector of self service business intelligence. As you can see in the blog post last Friday Users Take Charge of BI, consumers are fed up with traditional BI solutions being outdated and too rigid in design. With QlikView offering instant answers to any question, mountains of advice from the QlikView community and flexibility and mobile access like no other. It's easy to see why QlikTech finished so high on Forbes Fast Tech 25 list, and why it is becoming more and more of a force to be reckoned with.
QlikPower is a leading provider of Professional Services for QlikView - contact us to see how we can deliver your QlikView solution in the fastest time and for the lowest cost.
See Why QlikView Stands Out from the Competition
The Business Application Research Center (BARC) has wrapped up its 10th annual independent BI survey, and the results are in. The BI Survey 10-The Customer Verdict is BARC's most extensive report yet, analyzing responses from more than 2,000 users and consultants on 30 leading BI products.
Now you can find out how QlikView stacks up against direct competitors on key performance indicators, including:
- Overall business achievement
- Quality and support
- Implementation time
- Customer loyalty
Get your copy of The BI Survey 10 QlikView Highlights and learn why QlikView ranks first in 10 categories in the BI Giants peer group, including customer loyalty for the third year in a row.
Say Goodbye to the old BI
Traditional BI solutions delivered the same thing for years: static monitoring reports that addressed only a fixed set of predetermined questions. But suddenly there’s a radical shift shaking things up, and the force behind the transformation has caught many by surprise.
The QlikView white paper, Business Discovery: Powerful, User-Driven BI, explains how empowered consumers are demanding the same functionality at work that they get from their personal technology:
- Targeted, task-specific apps that are simple and fun to use
- Instant answers to any question, just like Google
- Advice and opinions from friends and experts
- Mobile access to tools and information anywhere, anytime
Download your white paper now and find out how Business Discovery lets users explore data down any path, make discoveries collaboratively, and arrive at a whole new level of decision making based on multiple sources of insight.
Don’t Make a Move Without It
Thinking about BI? Don’t make a move without Gartner’s authoritative Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms report. You’ll find out why and how business users are increasingly driving BI decisions. As Gartner explains:
“Data discovery alternatives to enterprise BI platforms offer highly interactive and graphical user interfaces built on in-memory architectures to address business users' unmet ease-of-use and rapid deployment needs. What began as a market buying trend in 2010 has only continued to expand.”
Download a complimentary copy of the full Gartner report now. Find out where BI is headed and who’s leading the way.
The QlikPower team
I recently read a research note from CITO, sponsored by QlikView which compares the infromation you can glean from Business Intelligence with the results of 'Search' from Google.
'Google is not BI', it states candidly, because its search results return Web pages, not answers, and corporate data is not comprised of keywords. Rather it’s information is mostly numerical and highly dimensional, and answers must be computed rather than searched.
BI systems crunch narrowly predefined questions from laboriously assembled data sets, producing answers to a predetermined set of questions. BI was designed in a computing universe of scarcity—slow processors, limited storage, and expensive memory. But today memory is cheap and hardware exponentially more powerful. As Google discovered, it’s now possible to load massive databases into memory for instant analysis. Traditional BI dashboards don’t work like this. That’s because they don’t allow instant analysis of live data; they only allow analysis of the particular data that IT was requested to include. What’s needed is a fusion of Google’s simplicity and BI’s computational abilities. A Google-ized dashboard would be fast, scalable, and utterly intuitive, allowing users to explore data by simply pointing and clicking and choosing what they want. To do that the dashboard would have to be able to, like Google, access lots of aggregated data from many different data sources, define dimensions such as customer demographics, and create associations such as sales by region. User could ask and answer their own questions through a simple search and refine results with just a few clicks.
QlikView is a new kind of BI software providing users with tools to explore and visualize information. QlikView’s patented associative in-memory architecture allows users to ask and answer their own questions. Your job is to understand data,not grapple with technology. BI is no longer as good as your IT department’s last cube—it’s as good as the questions you ask.
To download the full report please Download Here
The QlikPower team are developing new applications for Business Intelligence. Thes apps will take advantage of the latest capabilities of QlikView's BI platform to deliver superior BI apps to the marketplace. They will be optimised for all devices including iPhone and iPad, and can also be made available as cloud solutions.
We are also requesting submissions from anyone who would like us to build a Business Intelligence App - just fill out the form by clicking on the button below and we will revert with an answer. If we believe that the app requested is topical, marketable or of interest to a specific market, then we will develop the solution for free and provide the solution for free to the person or organisation that made the request