Regardless of how your organization may be using analytics, one thing is certain: you have a unique combination of users, requirements, data sources and infrastructure that your BI tool needs to integrate into.
So, what is the best way for your staff to become self-reliant, when there’s no way to anticipate the exact way it will be used?
To learn more, I spoke with John Sacco, a Practice Manager for Qlik Consulting. John has over five years’ experience deploying Qlik into multiple environments. He told me about a situation where the customer had an enormous data set that would need to be refreshed daily in Qlik, therefore performance was a priority. And yet, the customer had no technical personnel in place to manage on-going development and maintenance of applications. Rather, they intended for a group of non-technical “power users” to define, design and build their own analytical applications. What’s more, these users had no experience to understand how to manage a development/deployment project. For those familiar with Qlik, even this is a bit unique.
So, how did John prepare the customer to become self-reliant?
First and foremost, he recommended they start by taking a training class. There really is no better way to get a solid, foundational understanding of Qlik, and learn how to connect to data and develop applications. The customer also took it upon themselves to go through external Agile Development training, knowing this was the methodology that we recommend and use ourselves.
After that, John worked with the customer to facilitate multiple “enablement” sessions with the power users during the timeframe of the deployment project. He started by taking them through the applications that he had written for them, reviewing code line-by-line to explain the different Qlik functions and why he used them. Starting with the most simple techniques of JOIN and WHERE EXISTS, eventually covering more advanced concepts of WILD MATCH, CROSS TABLES, and SECTION ACCESS.
Eventually, John switched places with the students and they would be putting up their own applications, explaining what they did and why, with John there to answer questions and provide guidance. The natural progression was each student gained the confidence and knowledge to build complex applications that were designed over the exceptionally large data set, delivering insightful analytics while maintaining performance. To this day, the students that John helped enable are now training others, building additional sophisticated and relevant applications. And remember, these were “non-technical” power users at the start.
What was the key to their success? In John’s view, it was the combination of classroom training followed by personalized enablement conducted in a group, with each student focusing on their own use cases. Everyone was using a similar data source, but in a different way, so they learned from John – and each other – how to get the most out of their data, and yet create insights that helped them each in their own job in the most effective way.
To learn more about how Qlik Consulting can help you enable your own power users, visit us as qlik.com/consulting.