Visualize your world - if you know what it consist of?

posted Jun 25, 2015, 2:31 AM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Jun 25, 2015, 12:31 PM ]
Yesterday Safepark attended the 2015 Visualize Your World event by Qlik Denmark at the IDA Conference Center in central Copenhagen on the Kalvebod Brygge waterfront.The event kicked off with a very informative customer presentation by the Danish e-bookshop SAXO.com, who has used Qlik since 2010, and now have live displays on how their business is doing around their Copenhagen office. We asked about the distribution of traffic across the day, and was informed that the pick time is around lunch hour and in the evening af dinner time - usually 5-7 PM in Denmark. So the 24 hour availability don't appear to be extremely important for an e-business directed towards a mostly local market. On the weekly view the low point is Saturday, and there appear to be more traffic on cloudy days than on sunny ones.
Qlik is one of the leading providers of business intelligence (BI) software in the world, and was founded in Lund, Sweden in 1993, but has since moved to Radmor in Pennsylvania, USA. Today the company have 2000 employees and more than 35000 customers distributed over 100 countries. Our first knowledge about Qlik View came from a presentation by Computerworld at one of their How To-events in the Copenhagen area. Computerworld started using Qlik View in their budgetting process in the 1990's and the IT-department got involved years later as the use expaned.
The big surprise was that the morning keynote was streamed from somewhere-else. This keynote was by Qlik's CMO Rick Jackson, who in our view preached to the converted, and recommended to those, who still had to see the light, that they talk to Qlik customers. We wonder if this means that Qlik don't have in-house visualization evangelists? 
The news from Qlik was the release of Qlik Sense 2.0 later in the day. Among the new features in this version are the use of external data providers integrated with you own data. Examples shown in the live demo was currency exchange rates and weather data. The license for access to external data sources appeared to be 8 USD per seat per year per data source. Even though CMO Rick Jackson advocated that decision makers in a company should have access to Qlik View and/or Qlik Sense, we think that both products are quite complex and require skilled knowledge workers to use them properly, and avoid the "garbage in --> garbage out" problem. This viewpoint was confirmed during lunch discussions with other participants.
Present at the event was eight partners: Climber, Innofactor, Inspari, Itelligence, NNIT, QIS and Scubed. Some of these focus on Qlik, while others has Qlik as an added product to their main focus. During the breaks we noticed that at the Inspari stand there were continuously crowded, and we wonder whether that was because of their visualization kit or their contest? Nonetheless Inspari is the company which has learned us to look at the purpose of each pixel on a chart or dashboard. We guess that more than 90% of charts and dashboards, have pixels, which can be removed without any loss of information content. We also learned a new word "pharmacovigilance", apparently this is the name of the science behind drug safety. 
The half day event ended with another streamed presentation titled "The Gray Area: Humans, Machines & Decision Points" by Qlik's Bussiness Analytics Strategist James Richardson, who appear to sit relaxed at a lake somewhere talking to us. The main points of his presentation was, that you have to deal with impermanence and uncertainty in your data and the environment, and that the purpose of the visualization efforts was to create debate among humans.
Qlik's Visualize Your World 2015 was not a bad event to attend on a grey Wednesday morning in Copenhagen and get updated on one of the world leading BI tools. You can download the personal edition of QlikView or the desktop version of Qlik Sense from Qlik's homepage here. One limitation is that you do require a Windows based computer, but as far as I recall a license is needed, when what your creations are no longer "for your eyes only". Excellent for consultants, who want to gain experience with Qlik's products before promoting them to their customers.
If you are looking for an open source business intelligence tools, then you may want to read Paul Rubens "5 Open Source Business Intelligence Tools" from December of last year. Paul Rubens mentions Jaspersoft Community Edition, Pentaho Community Edition, BIRT, RapidMiner and SpagoBI. The later appear quite popular in the Paris area.
The title of this announcement is an indication, that you can acquire excellent visualzation tools such as Qlik View, Qlik Sense or one of the open source BI tools mentioned. They will all help you with the visualization part. However, the hard work is finding out what to visualize and why. When you have done that, then you know what your world consist of, and the rest is a piece of cake.