I had the honour of meeting up with Brian Booden from Neolytics recently and talk all things Qlik. We didn’t have time to fit everything into one catch up so Brian kindly agreed to an interview about his 2nd year as a Qlik Luminary, his new blog and the excellent Qlik Dev group (see you at the next meet up in Edinburgh soon!). Brian is a pioneer, having contributed sleek Qlik Sense extensions, and an enthusiastic promoter of the benefits of business intelligence.
1. How did you get into the world of Qlik?
Just over 10 years ago, i worked in the Legal industry as conduit between IT and Finance departments. This generally meant loads of SQL and ad-hoc reporting, and my fair share of Crystal Reports also. My workload to maintain all of this content was increasing by the day, so i decided to look for a solution. Shortly afterwards, following a 1 day proof of concept that managed to condense about 10 Crystal Reports into 1 QlikView app, i was converted. And Qlik has been at the forefront of everything i have done since.
2. How was it being a Luminary last year? Looking forward to another?
The Luminary programme is something that Qlik should be very proud of. It’s so important to have public ambassadors for your product, and this year’s class really is a great bunch. I’m very humbled to have been inducted for the 2nd successive year. It’s been an enlightening experience to not only meet, but in lots of cases, become friends with amazing Qlik pioneers like Ralf Becher, Matthieu Burel, Jason Michaelides, Rob Wunderlich and many others too numerous to mention.
And congratulations to you, as well, Michael – very well deserved! People such as yourself, and other new inductees such as Aaron Couron and Julian Villafuerte are vital to bring new content to the Qlik ecosystem via blogs and social media.
As for my plans for this year? Well, i recently launched my own new blog makeitqlik (makeitqlik.wordpress.com), so that’s going to be a big focus for me. I also have many other Qlik-centric things i want to accomplish this year, but those will drip out into the public domain in due course, i’m sure.
3. What’s the worst habit you’ve seen amongst Qlik users and how can they fix it?
Based on experience, i would say rushing into deployments is the most frequent thing i see. I’ve walked into some Qlik environments where insufficient time and effort has gone into how data should be extracted, modeled, and ultimately delivered to the user. Ultimately, that impinges on Qlik’s fantastic abilities to modularise every part of your data discovery process. So if i had to give one piece of advise, it would be to plan. Understand the ETL model you need to implement and take time to execute it correctly. There’s oceans of material out there to assist with that, so there’s no excuse, and in the long run, the results are significantly better, in my opinion.
4. Where have you seen Qlik make the biggest difference?
It’s mainly in 2 scenarios that i see Qlik deliver the biggest impact.
The first scenario is where the volume of data is just overwhelming and the business does not know how to interpret or analyse it. It always still surprises me when i see teams of analysts fighting through millions of rows of granular data in Excel to get answers. It feels like that should just not be the case nowadays, but it’s still a prevalent issue. The ROI on focusing and summarising that data into discernible insights, delivered by a core of KPIs on an executive level dashboard, is something that some companies still don’t understand the weight of.
The second scenario revolves around data quality. More and more, i’m seeing Qlik used as a diagnostic tool to facilitate and improvement in data quality. A large percentage of the time, that’s not a focus of the project to begin with and happens by proxy, but when you work with reconciling data, and have the ability to go from the big to detailed picture easily, these instances occur early and often. Quality analysis apps are a prime example of how Qlik can add inadvertent value in unexpected places.
5. You run the massively successful Edinburgh Qlik Dev Group . What exciting things can we expect at the next meeting?
First of all, important to give credit where it’s due – Jason Michaelides, Matt Crowther, Richard Pearce and Deepak Vadithala are the drivers behind the Dev Group. They do (and did, in DV’s case) an incredible job propagating QDG around the globe to around 30 locations. Amazing work, and fantastic to see them all recognised as Luminaries this year also!
As for Edinburgh, our next session is on March 1st, and we have a very special lineup. Please do register here (http://qlikdevgroup.com/edinburgh-home/#register)! Headlining, we have renowned Data Visualisation Artist Nadieh Bremer (https://twitter.com/NadiehBremer) coming over from Amsterdam to deliver her fascinating “Hacking The Visual Norm” presentation. Nadieh’s won multiple awards, so we’re very excited to have her. On top of that, we’ll have insights from all things Extensible in Qlik from Solution Architect Tim Payne, and some comments from Qlik honcho David Worboys regarding the recent position of Qlik in Gartner’s BI Magic Quadrant.
Plus loads of pizza and beer, and all for FREE. I can’t wait!
6. You’ve recently set up a blog. What inspired that and what can we look forward to in the coming months?
makeitqlik was inspired by all of the great blogs out there, and especially the new ones, including yours! It’s been in my head for a while, as i attested to in my first post (https://makeitqlik.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/cant-stop-the-feeling/). I’m about to drop the concluding part of Sensifying your CV very shortly, and after tha, i have some ideas – some retro stuff, some thoughts on tool choices. I’m sure my thoughts will evolve as the year goes on, but i would love to do some collaborations as well.
7. When you’re not immersed in Qlik what can Brian be found doing?
I’m partial to a game of pool, but frankly, i’m a geek at heart. I’m a pretty avid fantasy basketball player, and it’s definitely been the case i have used to Qlik to give myself some further analysis techniques from that front. When i’m not being that geek, i do enjoy a spot of running also.
Thanks again to Brian for taking the time to speak Adventures in Qlik.
Brian is a director (Qlik Technology and Services) at Neolytics http://neolytics.co.uk