Achieving Active Intelligence – Customers Discuss Their Journey at QlikWorld Online 2021

Across every industry and geography, more and more organizations are looking to pivot to real-time analytics to enable data-informed decisions in the moment. This means leveraging the most up-to-date information for everything from small, tactical decisions, to strategic initiatives that involve long-term planning. Moving to this model of analytics is a journey that’s crucial to retaining a competitive edge. At Qlik, we refer to this as the journey to Active Intelligence, a state in which data pipelines are optimized to enable everyone in the organization to make decisions and act in real time.

But how do companies start their Active Intelligence journey? What business value can you expect to achieve?

We assembled a customer panel at QlikWorld Online 2021 to hear directly from those who are on the journey. Elif Tutuk, VP of Innovation and Design at Qlik, hosted the panel, titled “Enabling Active Intelligence With An Analytics Data Pipeline,” and was joined by colleagues Kathy Hickey, VP of Product Management, and Bob Vecchione, VP of Product Management, along with Qlik customers:

  • Mark Singleton, Associate Director of Analytics & Assurance at UK-based Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL), the healthcare provider of acute and general hospital services to over 318,000 people of the Wigan Borough and surrounding areas; and
  • Patrick Straub, Vice President of Business Intelligence at iA American Warranty Group, an automotive company whose products and services include automotive protection packages, reinsurance options, dealer support, as well as direct-to-consumer products.

Starting the Active Intelligence Journey

Straub noted his industry is slower than others to adopt modern approaches. However, when iA American Warranty Group signed up for Qlik Sense in 2017, the internal business users were quickly impressed by the level of insight they could gain. As demand continued to grow, the organization quickly found it had a data management challenge and decided to invest in the Qlik Data Integration platform. “Qlik’s analytics and integration tools enabled us to create an on-demand, governed analytics data pipeline that allowed business users to surface real-time insights to drive decisions throughout the organization.”

The COVID-19 pandemic presented a sobering reality to the healthcare industry, and Singleton’s organization was no exception. Despite news reports of COVID-19 spreading in China, Singleton noted a certain naiveté, not just at WWL but across the NHS and even the world – “We weren’t reacting to it or planning for COVID to come, but at some level, I knew it could hit us. However, WWL’s clinical systems weren’t being updated.”

That changed quickly when systems needed to capture the torrent of data as COVID-19 patients started to arrive at the ER. Having Qlik Sense Enterprise SaaS in place enabled WWL to respond quickly and ready their clinical systems, providing WWL with real-time analytics to make important operational decisions, such as what was the best configuration for the hospital and how to separate patients testing positive for COVID-19 from negative patients. “We also had the benefit of having data scientists at the hospital, who could use the data for predictive work, modeling out demand straight away,” stated Singleton. “This was absolutely critical, as a hospital needs to know how it’s going to handle a surge in patients and how capacity should be increased.”

The Importance of Investing, Governance and Integration

Singleton emphasized the importance of investing in data and analytics technologies and setting up a cloud environment. He noted recruiting data scientists is also a crucial element. Data scientists can help an organization cut through conflicting forecasts, and help establish game plans and blueprints for how to confront and cope with challenges both ordinary and extraordinary. “It’s just a matter of time when your organization will need advanced data and analytics solutions, and you don’t want to be caught flatfooted,” said Singleton.

For Straub, one major challenge was the byproduct of corporate acquisitions, which came with disparate contract systems. “We called these systems homogenous in intent but heterogenous in their data schema. In other words, the data wasn’t integrated. Yes, all these systems could handle tracing the filing of claims, our evaluation and payment of those claims. But the systems were very old, some of them even AS400s, which date back to the 80s’.”

As a result, Straub’s team was hamstrung in leveraging the systems’ data in a meaningful way and couldn’t easily provide internal business users with an agnostic view of data. Straub decided to employ Qlik’s analytics and data integration solutions to reconcile the contract systems, and in 2018, he formed a data governance committee to assist with and provide oversight over the reconciliation process. His organization also enlisted data stewards to provide additional support, which provided Straub’s team with a feedback loop with the business. They can now present analytics insights, while also helping leaders understand which data was important and which wasn’t. “The journey toward having a unified view of the data wasn’t easy, but having Qlik on our side really helped us navigate our way to success,” he said.

The Business Value of Active Intelligence

WWL currently ranks second out of approximately 50 NHS organizations in Northern England in terms of seeing and treating patients within four hours of their arrival at the ER. “I think that definitely demonstrates the success we’ve had along our journey, and how data can improve quality and efficiency of care,” remarked Singleton. WWL has accrued additional business value from raising the internal profile of its cloud SaaS models and the importance of digital transformation. “The hospital understands better what a rich data and analytics pipeline can do to increase visibility into important issues and how this can improve patient care,” Singleton said.

Straub sees the greatest value of Active Intelligence coming from the functionality and utility of Qlik’s solutions, as underscored by the strong adoption throughout his organization. Previously, there were many analysts still using Access and Excel to generate reports. Qlik provided them with the means to move away from simply churning out reports, to performing higher value-added work, such as data analysis and synthesis. Straub also stressed the impact on top-line revenue and the positive reception of Qlik products by his company’s sales team. “Our sales team were like sponges when we got Qlik. They were the most highly adoptive group of Qlik Sense and they have been ever since.” The revenue increase was driven in large part by executives being able to spot performance trends. “That was a real game changer for us – we realized revenue just from looking at the performance of dealerships,” Straub said.

Achieving Active Intelligence is not a permanent state of being – it’s always a work-in-progress, requiring vigilance and upkeep to stay ahead of the competition. Qlik’s data and analytics solutions can help you stay ahead through a strong state of Active Intelligence that optimizes data’s value to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

For more information about Active Intelligence, click here. You can also read our Active Intelligence eBook available for download here.

To hear the full discussion, check out the Active Intelligence customer success panel from QlikWorld Online 2021.

The journey toward #ActiveIntelligence isn't easy; it's always a work-in-progress, but with @Qlik's help, we can help you stay ahead of the competition as attested to by our customers.


In this article:

Keep up with the latest insights to drive the most value from your data.

Get ready to transform your entire business with data.

Follow Qlik