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Qonnections 2018 – Data Literacy and Welcome Disruptions

“We do not apologize for this disruption.” Those were the words on the big screen as the first general session got underway at Qonnections 2018 and Qlik announced their Data Literacy initiative. But, why is this important? Qlik pointed out in survey results earlier this year that, “80% of the workforce is data-illiterate.” [paraphrased] That’s a significant statistic as data begins to drive everything—it permeates down to the simplest interactions in business—and even into our everyday interactions with information. The Qlik platform is designed—as Qlik has often stated—to enable everyone to analyze information everywhere, and now Qlik wants everyone to understand information everywhere. That benefits Qlik and that benefits the entire population of information consumers, whether or not they are customers. That’s brilliant.


Around the guiding theme for the conference, there were several other areas of focus and announcements that I found interesting. The first of these was Qlik’s forthcoming release enhancements in support of the Hybrid Cloud and their Big Data Index capabilities. These solidify the ability for Qlik to support installations in virtually any environment and truly enable access to big data, in-place and at its source.


I attended several sessions on the new Qlik Core that is being released. It enables their associative engine to be used as a separate stand-alone component  that can run in a virtual container on almost any platform. It opens access to Qlik’s core analytics capability from all types of applications and remote technologies through API functions. I’d expect adoption of this in general use to be step-wise process. I think that as we see more instances of embedded analytics, we’ll begin to see more use cases for this type of implementation. I was able to get some hands-on experience with the Qlik Core at one of the lab sessions and got a great understanding of how it works and how it can be applied. 


I’ve saved what I consider to be the best, for last. A few “Qonnections” ago, Qlik spoke about their vision of “AI”. The focus, as they explained, is “Augmented Intelligence” rather than “Artificial Intelligence.” In their definition, the AI that would begin to appear in Qlik Sense would focus as an “intelligent advisor” to augment the user’s ability to understand their data and create truly meaningful analytics.


This year at Qonnections, Elif Tutuk, Qlik’s Director of Research, gave a detailed introduction to the Insight Advisor that will be released and enhanced through the remainder of 2018 and onward. It’s a new capability that users can access when creating visualizations. As explained in the presentation, it examines the associated and unassociated data in the associative database and suggests measures, KPIs, and even visualizations that the user could take advantage of. It even creates some of these visualizations that the user can then insert directly into their app, or modify. The real “AI” that Qlik plans to embed in this new feature is the ability to learn from what the user creates and improve its suggestions over time. This is what will make the Insight Advisor a game-changer.


When I first started using QlikView in 2012, I recall getting excited when I got introduced to the Qlik’s associative engine. I remembered using similar types of models from my “AI” days and the more I learned about Qlik, the more I realized what a powerful tool it was for analytics. Well, I’m excited again. I think that the Insight Advisor could be the biggest thing to happen to analytics in a long time. I’m looking forward to seeing how this capability evolves over the rest of 2018 and in subsequent releases. 


So, let’s recap. Qlik has embarked on mission to make their audience data literate. They’re enhancing accessibility and scalability through the Hybrid Cloud and Qlik Core. And, they’ve begun to embed real assistive intelligence in their product with the Insight Advisor.


Nice work Qlik—and no need to apologize for this disruption. I’m looking forward to Qonnections next year.


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