Day 3 of Qonnections and there’s no slowing down yet!

We’ve crammed in as many sessions as we could and have picked out some of the key messages from today to share with you. We are proud to be a part of this global data revolution.

Corporate Social Responsibility

We had our eyes truly opened to the possibilities of using our skills for good. Jake Porway, Founder of DataKind gave a fantastic session this morning. Jake works with a network of volunteers to use big data to tackle social problems. His organisation connects skilled data professionals, community representatives and other stakeholders to help charities and NGOs benefit from the power of analytics. They are literally saving and improving lives by harnessing the power of Qlik! We were inspired by Jake’s work and plan to volunteer some of Vanilla’s skills to support his amazing initiative.

An example of where DataKind’s work is doing good can be found here, where BI is being used to forecast and plan water demand in California when every drop counts. Click here to read more.

On a lighter note, we were both stunned and amused by The LA Swimmer- 43123 Pools I have not visited and never will. Take a look by clicking here.

United Nations Data Revolution

Qlik and the United Nations have partnered to bring the power of data analytics to humanitarian missions around the world. Problems in one country reverberate in another, Qlik and the UN are working collaboratively across sectors and industries to address how to realise new approaches to finance, investment, trade and technology. Leverage joint resources they are uncovering solutions. We found it exciting to see the vision for not just how data can be leveraged but for how they can make that date available to citizens across the world for their own understanding and to make a global impact, for good.

GeoAnalytics

We attended a fascinating session on the Qlik GeoAnalytics platform which drew an important distinction between merely mapping data and instead, applying calculations and rules to allow critical business decisions to be made using geospatial input.  We would love to work with our customers to provide solutions for their business challenges using this power technology.

Augmented Intelligence

Finally, a glimpse of the future!  A highlight of the day was being given a preview of the prototype Qlik Conversational Bot.  This is really a test-bed for a host of new natural language and augmented intelligence features that Qlik are working on.  Using a text messaging interface, we could see the Bot understand business questions posed in human language and provide amazing answers, updates and analytics.  It was also able to remember the context of its ‘conversations’ and even interact with several users in a multi-way chat.  We were stunned and very slightly afraid!

One more day to go, get in touch for more info!

The latest version of Qlik Sense, Cloud focus and an App with groundbreaking Offline capabilities!

We’re just 48 hours into Qonnections 2017 and we’re already blown away by the latest developments, new offerings and partnership program for Vanilla Solutions. Here are some of the highlights so far!

The latest version of Qlik Sense

Anthony Deighton walked us through the updates to Qlik Sense. Available for deployment in June, the platform is set to run seamlessly both in the cloud and on-premise. Offering connectivity to hundreds of data sources, including enterprise, web and big data sources. In many cases, complex scripting is no longer needed as the platform comes with a host of new data transformation tools built directly into the Qlik Analytic Platform.

Hybrid Cloud Analytics 

The team at Qlik set out their roadmap to seamlessly connect on-premise deployments of Qlik Sense Enterprise, with cloud-based services, creating an environment for supporting customers’ evolving needs and choices. To achieve this, Qlik is making investments in its core infrastructure to support the customers’ ability to choose where the data resides, where the analysis happens, and where and with what device users want to access it.  Businesses are no longer confined to an either/or choice regarding on-premise or Cloud BI; they can have both at the same time!

Qlik Sense Mobile

Qlik is also rolling out Qlik Sense Mobile, a new, native iOS app. It harnesses the full power of Associative Different even when offline, with the Qlik Indexing Engine (QIX) running locally. Qlik Sense mobile will complement our portfolio of truly mobile and offline-enabled business applications, including Novacura Flow. This is a game changer, a full version of Sense quite literally at your fingertips even when you have no connectivity!

Big Data Capabilities

Qlik’s big data capabilities have been enhanced to include On Demand App Generation templates built directly into Qlik Sense, enabling users to navigate big data sources using associative search to discover areas for detailed analysis. On Demand App Generation empowers the user to automatically generate a purpose-built analysis app every time they select a slice of a very large data source. Now, self-service users can get up and running with big data easier and faster.

Advanced Analytics Integration, GeoAnalytics.

New advanced predictive analytics integration capability allows for direct data exchange between the QIX engine and third-party calculation engines. Qlik has released integrations using this interface for R and Python. This allows for advanced calculations from external tools to be visualised within Qlik Sense, in real-time as the user explores. With this capability, users can combine the power of Qlik’s Associative Model with advanced analytics to better support use cases such as fraud detection, sales forecasting, and inventory management.

Get in touch with Andy to find out more!

ALE makes Qlik Sense their Global BI Solution

Vanilla Solutions are pleased to announce that ALE, one of the world’s leading international heavy transport and lifting contractors, have selected Qlik Sense as their Global BI solution.

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“With the help of Vanilla Solutions, we evaluated both QlikView and Qlik Sense to ensure we selected the correct product to meet our reporting requirements in the medium to long term.  Vanilla replicated some of our reports in both products and we took the decision to deploy Qlik Sense into the business.  Once implemented, we very quickly we were able to migrate our customer survey reporting from Excel to Qlik Sense.  This is now live, analysing our customer satisfaction survey results and providing us with a quicker and greater insight into customer feedback”- Jeremy Fothergill, Global Business Systems Manager for ALE

Qlik Sense is a next-generation visual analytics platform that empowers everyone to see the whole story that lives within their data. It supports a full spectrum of BI use cases, including self-service visualisation, guided analytics apps and dashboards, embedded analytics, and reporting, all within a governed framework that offers enterprise scalability and trust for IT. Qlik Sense is built on the QIX Associative Data Indexing engine, the second generation of Qlik’s proven and patented engine technology. Qlik’s Associative Model allows the business to probe all the possible associations that exist in their data, across all their data sources, to see the whole story instead of just the partial views offered by query-based or hierarchical tools. Qlik Sense takes analytics to a new level of power and flexibility, so that everyone is more informed and capable of acting and reacting faster.

“We’ve really enjoyed working with ALE, initially providing two proof of concept applications and now developing the first of many Qlik Sense applications.  Our aim now is to help the ALE internal team upskill so that they can continue their development themselves and start to realise the power of the Qlik Sense.  This self-service ability is one of the key benefits of Qlik and one of the reasons we are partners, as we believe in empowering our customers to become self-sufficient users of their applications”- Jason Belcher, Director of Vanilla Solutions

Click here to find out more about Qlik Sense or contact us today

The next shiny software upgrade will make it all better – right?

The developed world is gloriously full of sparkly new things to tempt us.  On balance, that’s probably a good thing as we need consumer demand to keep our factories, shops and service businesses open and, in turn, keep us all in work and able to buy the sparkly new things.  I think you need to take care though.

A few weeks ago I was driving up the M5 motorway from one customer in Somerset to another in Lancashire.  I stopped off in the midlands to get something to eat and (somehow!) found myself outside the dealer of my favourite motorcycle manufacturer checking out the latest models.

One had active suspension with automatic anti-dive and a stability control system that detected how far over the bike was leaning and adjusted the braking accordingly.  Amazing stuff.  After a few minutes, a friendly chap in an orange polo shirt came out and asked me what I was currently riding.  When I told him, he was quick to inform me that the newer model had more advanced fuel management and a bigger petrol tank and that I’d be able to go about 20% further between fills.  For motorcycle touring, this is a fairly persuasive point!

As I stood there wondering whether to blow a big chunk of disposable income on being able to ride 20% further and have less, umm, ‘dive’ I got to wondering about all of the other technology we buy and specifically the Enterprise Resource Planning products that my company works with.

Our customers are under constant pressure, much of it self-inflicted I have to say, to upgrade to the latest versions and exploit the latest new features.  Of course, some of these new features can deliver enormous business benefit if used appropriately but the same is also true of the many unused features that reside in the older versions of software our customers already have.

In my working life, I would estimate that around 75% of my customers tell me that they’ve invested in complex and highly capable software but they aren’t really using it to its full potential.  The studies we do of their business processes generally bear this out.  These are often the same people and businesses who pressure themselves to upgrade.  After all, if you’re only using 5% of ERP 1.0 then it makes perfect sense to upgrade to the ‘20% more functional’ ERP 2.0 and only use 4% of that, right?!

I’m not saying for a second that we shouldn’t ever change our motorcycles or ERP applications.  Things like supportability, regulatory factors and those new features that really are perfect for your needs all play a part.  But I’d argue that the decision to upgrade shouldn’t be close to being your first recourse.

For less than the cost of an upgrade, you could retrain whole sections of your staff, carry out a process overhaul and identify those most in need of your attention. You could even add on some sparkly complimentary products to manage specialist tasks and deliver some change. Just think how happy the board would be at the savings!

Back at the motorcycle dealer, I eventually wandered off, driven by the distraction of hunger and a slight feeling of melancholy.  That night, after a bit of hotel-room internet searching I discovered an auxiliary fuel tank system for my bike that will increase its range by 25% and cost an awful lot less than a new bike.  It even came with a fun afternoon in the garage pretending to be a proper mechanic while I fitted it.

I’m going to use the money I saved to actually go to some exciting places on my bike.  There’s only so much time you can spend on the M5…

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Andy Bell

Director

Andy started Vanilla, along with Jason in 2009 . Despite being something of an ERP ‘geek’ he is passionate about not complicating things and delivering what the client needs.

Andy likes to split his time between working with his customers on projects, running the business and supporting Abigail with new business development.

If you need Andy’s assistance,  click here to contact him today