The Tahola customer conference was held at Aubrey Park Hotel last Thursday, which proved to be an interesting and insightful day. Jason Martin, Managing Director at Tahola kicked the day off by setting the scene and sharing his views on the landscape for the future of Business Intelligence solutions, in our society of ever increasing vast data consumption.
The first sessions of the day provided updates and demonstrations around the two core solutions that Tahola currently provide as part of their overall consultative solution portfolio.
These sessions were provided by Nick Baker (Director of IBM Cognos Technologies) and Nick Brand from IBM)
Nick Brand from IBM, Analytics Tools SaaS leader, pictured below is discussing the cost of not knowing something in your data and how Cognos Analytics connects to Watson Analytics. He then went onto discuss how we can connect and compliment this data with Weather data for example. Enabling future prediction of demand and how the use of technology can meet that demand forecast, including planning Analytics that can then be used to forecast future sales.
He also discussed Watson Analytics for Social Media (WASM) providing a demonstration of how data that is surfaced, can be brought back into a Watson Analytics Dashboard and how from there the Cognos Analytics data can also add meaning when it is compared side by side with social data.
The second break out session was provided by Ross White, Director of Qlik Professional Services at Tahola and Julie Main, Principal Solutions Architect at Qlik.
Ross and Julie provided a presentation and demonstration of the latest release of Qlik Sense (Ross White) outlining a number of recent improvements including:
- New Visualizations– Three new chart types in Qlik Sense, including Box Plot, Distribution Plot, and Histogram.
- Advanced Coloring – The ability to more easily choose colors for visualizations, measures, dimensions, andKPI objects. Includes a new color palette selector for dimensions, measures and visualizations. Allows users to specify colors for unique values within a dimension.
- Data Preparation Enhancements– A number of new self-service data preparation features, including visual data profiling for auto-generated insights about the data, data binning, and table concatenation.
- Qlik GeoAnalytics – Advanced multi-layer mapping and geographic calculation, analysis, and lookup for Qlik Sense
- Advanced Analytics integration – A new server side extension API for integration with third party advanced engines, with the ability to exchange data directly and perform calculation as the user explores. New open source connectors for R and Python.
- Qlik Sense Mobile – A new Qlik Sense mobile client for iOS, featuring the QIX engine running locally on the device. Allows full exploration online and offline, and integrates with popular MDM frameworks.
- Supported Desktop Client – The ability for Qlik Sense Desktop to authenticate against a Qlik Sense Enterprise server, with full support by Qlik in production environments.
- QlikView Converter – A new facility to directly import dimensions, expressions, variables and visualizations from QlikView applications into the Qlik Sense master library.
Ross and Julie also provided an overview of new features and functions in QlikView v12, upgrade options for existing Qlik customers and migration from QlikView to Qlik Sense and a demonstration of GeoAnalytics, the powerful map visualisation and location-based analytics tool for both QlikView and Qlk Sense.
The afternoon sessions, included a demonstration of Anaplan, provided by Cathal Doyle, Customer Success Director at Bedford Consulting.
Michael Shaw, CIO at The Casual Dining Group, provided a customer presentation outlining their adoption of data analysis and reporting across the business and how CDG and Tahola have worked together to agree a common framework that supports the business in maintaining its market position. The history of data analysis at CDG was predominantly based around manual processes and no single version of the truth, with complex interfaces between multiple systems and no agreed strategy - it was about data entry not information analysis.
There is now an increased demand for data and there are now data scientists in the business that work to discover what influences sales and how that can be used to drive revenue. CDG now see the value in data and every decision is underpinned by analysis - before and after.
The final session of the day was a customer panel debate where Jason Martin was joined on stage by Mark Carlile, IT Manager at Thornton Ross, Ola Durojaiye, Business Intelligence Manager at Kier Group Plc, Peter Gillespie, Business Analyst at Shepherd Neame and Michael Shaw, CIO at Casual Dining Group. The session was focused on exploring and sharing experiences around the benefits achieved through the introduction of Business analytics into their organisations, the lessons learnt and what the future of analytics looks like for them.
Stephen Minall, from Moving Food provided the closing session and shared his views on Big Data, the importance of sharing consumer data to improve customer experiences, the role that predictive analytics has to play and the longer term view of data and how it should be used to gain greater insight and increase sales across a number of sectors.
Thank you to everyone that attended and participated in the Tahola Customer Conference, it was an extremely worthwhile and insightful day. For further information regarding the event or any of the topics discussed, please contact: