Give me #DataLiberty or give me death

Dispelling traditions and misconceptions associated to data and analytics

Putting an end to the distribution of useless static reports, the risk inherent in manual spreadsheets and the false hope of inferior dataviz tools is nothing short of a Revolution

In the same speech that Patrick Henry (famous for his involvement in the American Revolution and for his quote “Give me liberty or give me death”) drops his famous quote, he implores his audience to open their eyes:

“It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for #dataliberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? “

My current day read on this (related to data, reporting and analytics of course) is that many organizations have accepted the limitations of traditional technologies when purchasing reporting and analytics solutions because their eyes are closed to the possibility of a better way, their ears don’t hear the business suffering and they ultimately default to spreadsheets or spreadsheet add-ons to solve the truly complex business analytics problems.

So, for my part in this data and analytics revolution, I wanted to help those who are not using their eyes and ears, and simply following lock step into the trap of “traditional query based” reporting and dataviz tools. Here are my Top 5 incorrect assumptions that many organizations start with (and many the market players have unfortunately propagated):

1. The business will fix their data problems first, and the reporting & analytics tool will magically sit on top and work perfectly


It simply doesn’t work this way. Problems in the data are often invisible to business users because they have been masked by pre-aggregations stored in cubes…or errors in complex spreadsheet calculations. There is no magic in simply putting a ‘DataViz’ tool on top of these pre-aggregated cubes as the cubes ARE the problem.

2. The data needed by the business will come from a single source system or warehouse


Organizations have unfortunately come to accept static reporting delivered by systems as the source of analysis but the data is NEVER in a single source. In fact, one of the primary reasons that business analysts work in spreadsheets is to combine data from multiple sources.

3. ETL, Data Warehouse, Visualization and Delivery/Consumption must be performed by different products


The entire spectrum of analytics challenges has traditionally been treated as separate projects. This perspective is driven by the fact that traditional methods of pushing/pulling data through the supply chain continue to be sold by narrowly specialized technology firms.

4. “Snapshots” of operational systems is not possible


Most Request for Proposals that I see haven’t even considered the possibility of an organization needing snapshots of an operational system. This is because the data was so big that taking snapshots was inconceivable. The business value though, is clear and recognized (and needed) by senior leadership.

5. Business users want to download to spreadsheets


This comes back to Henry Ford’s famous quote… “If I asked the customers what they wanted, they would have said “faster horses”. Business users don’t want to work in spreadsheets, they are forced to work in spreadsheets because there has been no other alternative. Traditional reporting and query based approaches have all failed and the complex analysis that is used to run businesses are exported from warehouses and operational systems and loaded into spreadsheets because of this.

Bottom line, the Qlik platform turns all of these incorrect assumptions upside down and ultimately helps customers with the most complex, most valuable business analytics challenges.So open your eyes and liberate your business users with the only platform that does NOT rely on the ‘traditional query based’ approach.

In his latest post, @PaulVanSiclen shares ways to overcome limitations with data using Qlik!

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