One Strange Rock

Keynote Speakers Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt Keynote speakers, Freakonomics authors Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt
Thoughts on Qonnections 2018

We live on One strange Rock. It was the title of one of the in-flight documentaries on trip home. The documentary, hosted by Will Smith themed Hunters vs Hunted. In once instance a wolf like creature was pitted against an eagle, the concluding battle would perfectly precis my very first Qonnections experience.

From the first page of the In Flight magazine on British Airways to landing at Heathrow, the message was clear. The big dogs had joined the party. SAP, was dominating every possible advertising space it could find promoting Hanah, SAP's In Memory platform. It seemed a bit unreal, considering that SAP was phased out of the syllabus about two years before I arrived at college, with the pundits calling it old and obsolete, that I would go on to refer to it as SCRAP. Now here they were, challenging Qlik, in Qlik's homeground. This was going to be an interesting Qonnections.

It was my first trip to the Americas and if there is one thing you notice. It's big. No bigger than that... It's enormous. It's so big that merely crossing the street has to be aided by a countdown timer to tell you how many seconds you have left to get to the other side. Coming into Qonnections, you realise Qlik is big. Qlik remains the preferred BI Analytics platform for almost every major corporation around the world. Staying with the theme of big, Qonnections hosted around 4000 delegates per day, representing Qlik's international partner base, you can't help being awed.

At the main presentation, things took a bit of a turn. Instead of the usual flash and lights and dynamic presentations, the keynote speakers sat on a couch and engaged in a talkshow equivalent skit. After a day of flying, I was only too ready to slink down into my chair and catchup with some much needed sleep. Instead, I found myself sitting bolt upright and even leaning in a bit forward to catch the conversation. Much like the captain's interview after the Super 15 or post race interview in MotoGp, this join the conversation style of presentation is actually very effective. And join the conversation I did, Qonnections is an event like none other. Your day starts at 6:30 assuming you want to catch breakfast, followed by a few keynote addresses, the highlight of which for me being the Freakanomics duo Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt. I had come across one of their books over xmas and omg its both an Insightful and hilarous read for sure (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZkztvinarU). Apart from the main addresses you then have to carefully select the track you wish to attend, carefully because they are just so exciting, you want to attend them all. Between meals, there is a discovery exhibition, which composes some events and showcases Qlik technology and vendors, such examples include VR shopping, setting the fastest lap on a racecar and Mr Taylor winning a pair of Qlik sunglasses. These extend into a night event, a hack challenge and even a rockstar concert well into midnight.

4 days later, what did I take out of my first Qonnections experience?

Well, Qlik .... Qlik just kicked in YOH!

Lets begin with BIG. Big data is exactly that. Here we are talking not a few hundred rows as we know it, No think bigger... think in the billions and trillions. And big is not limited to transactions within an ERP, no it's facebook, it's twitter, the internet of things. Broaden your horizons, remove the paradigms. So if the data is big how do we build our models and apps.. Well, while every Stack Vendor is racing to play in the In-Memory space about thirty years later, Qlik has decided to go back to disk! The QIX engine has been extended to disk which dynamically indexes data and allows you to take into app near memory performance with disk. And it doesn't end there, Qlik has developed its own query language which puts an eviction notice on the backs of relational databases. Forget hives, forget datacubes forget every structured approach to data you ever knew, and dive into the lake.

That's only the beginning. Sense can build its owns apps, yes, the new Cognitive Engine analyzes the data model and dynamically builds the visualizations. Coupled to the Artificial Intelligence Engine (and here I am not talking about the so called AI involving machine learning algorithms, no its genuine self learning). Qlik will also be extending to a new product offering opening up the Qlik engine to developers via an API. Qlik has decided to Disrupt the program. And they have an compehensive arsenal in their offering by which to do so, we'd best play catchup.

Qlik has the tools, Qlik has the technology, Qlik has a roadmap and the message from Qlik is clear. Join the conversation, get back in touch with your client. Recently Qlik changed the certification process to break away from designer and developer to role based / industry based. Every presentation was not what the software can do, but how Qlik has integrated via its partners to becoming deeply entrenched in the businesses they support and together create value to drive business forward.

So in the battle between Eagle and the Wolf, both were equipped with sight that allowed them to access huge amounts of data. The eagle claimed a victory not by its ability to view the data, which the wolf could also do. The eagle claimed its victory because its brain enabled to use the data it consumed effectively.

It's how we need to join the conversation #Qlik

Posted by Udhveer Sookraj

Consulting Manager. Current holder of the Insight Consulting QlikView Master trophy and Umhlanga to Pinetown speed record.
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