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Interview – Phillip Beniac, Regional Vice President, Asia Pacific at Qlik

Interview – Phillip Beniac, Regional Vice President, Asia Pacific at Qlik

Phillip Beniac

Qlik is a leader in data discovery delivering intuitive solutions for self-service data visualization and guided analytics. Approximately 33,000 customers rely on Qlik solutions to gain meaning out of information from varied sources, exploring the hidden relationships within data that lead to insights that ignite good ideas. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Qlik has offices around the world with more than 1700 partners covering more than 100 countries.

In an interview with Analytics India Magazine, Phillip Beniac, Regional Vice President – Sales (Asia Pacific) at Qlik talks about the Indian analytics market.

[dropcap size=”2″]AIM[/dropcap]Analytics India Magazine: Many of our readers may not be familiar with Qlik. Can you tell us a little about the company?

[dropcap size=”2″]PB[/dropcap]Phillip Beniac: Qlik is the pioneer in “in-memory” analytics and the “self-service” approach to BI, or what we call data discovery. We are simplifying decision-making for everyone, everywhere.

Our solutions QlikView and Qlik Sense cover 100% of the data discovery market. QlikView is the market-proven, leading BI application platform for the rapid creation of guided analytics applications, which support user-driven exploration and analysis.  We also recently introduced Qlik Sense, the next generation self-service data visualization application. Unlike other products on the market, Qlik Sense does not require a “build-and-publish” approach since every user is fully empowered to leverage the drag-n-drop technique to build or extend their visual analysis. Both solutions leverage Qlik’s patented data indexing engine to dynamically reveal the hidden relationships within the data, resulting in better and more informed decision making.

AIM: How do you see India as a market of Qlik? Which companies and sectors having shown the most interest in various products of Qlik?

PB: India is an important market for Qlik and it is growing and evolving very quickly. We have a very strategic and growing presence in terms of customers, partners and employees. We have an expanding customer base in India, panning across industries. Some of our customers are Mahindra & Mahindra, HDFC Life, Godrej Consumer Products, and Flipkart. Another key element in our growth path is our strong relationship with the partner community. They are a key ingredient in our success story. We’ve been given the analytics player of the year award by Frost & Sullivan, and that’s testament to our strength in India.

AIM: What is your India strategy going forward?

PB: India as a global marketplace is experiencing similar trends in terms of BI and analytics although there are local nuances that make it interesting. Indian organizations are very tech-savvy and open to innovation. With the increasing data deluge seen across sectors, more and more organizations are turning to BI and analytics tools to maximize value from their data.

We are investing in our customers by supporting them with the Qlik Customer Success Framework, a holistic initiative comprising resources ranging from our Qlik Community to our Consulting and Education as well as Support services. With our recently held Visualize Your World events across the world, we are also educating organizations about self-service data visualization and analytics. We also launched Qlik Sense that provides new capabilities in the area of true self-service visualization and analytics. With Qlik Sense, users can simply drag-n-drop to build or extend their visual analysis.  What we are also seeing is that businesses now want to support their users with BI and Analytics rather than just in the hands of a few decision-makers. They want to enable their business users to be able to make decisions themselves. Qlik solutions are doing precisely that, providing them with guided analytics and self-service data visualization. It is definitely a positive sign for Qlik to see that increasingly Indian companies are starting their journey towards analytics and that is when they are coming to us. What we see in the Indian market is for businesses to support their users with analytics which is similar in the rest of the world.

In addition to our direct selling strategy, we have a very strong partner strategy and network in place. We work with a number of business partners with a direct sales force. Our partners in India include solution providers, OEMs, System Integrators and consulting partners.

AIM: India is evolved as a development and R&D center for various global organizations? Do you see the same for Qlik?

PB: Globally Qlik invests heavily in R&D and innovation, and we’ve a dedicated design and innovation team within the company that’s helping to drive our product roadmap and features in QlikView and Qlik Sense. Our R&D takes place in the United States and across Europe, but we work closely as a team across all the offices we have in the world – including India.

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AIM: What are the most significant challenges you face in India?

PB: I would say we face significant opportunities, rather than challenges, in India. One area that presents a huge opportunity for us is the self-service data visualization market.

According to a survey conducted by Qlik among 350 executives based in Mumbai and New Delhi, while only 21 percent of respondents said they have implemented Big Data, 42 percent said they plan to invest in big data technologies in the next 12 months. So there is still a big market and potential in terms of companies looking to leverage and make sense of big data – and for Qlik, the way we see this demand met is equipping companies and users with the ability to make sense of big data themselves with self-service analytics. Big Data can only deliver on its promise of value if we democratize the access to data in the organization. Every user should be able to explore data – big or small – freely, gain insights and make better decisions. At the same time, we also help to ensure that enterprises are able to govern this access and scale data discovery across their oganizations. That’s why we recently launched Qlik Sense to capitalize on this tremendous market opportunity that we’re seeing.

AIM: How do you see Analytics evolving today in the industry as a whole? What are the most important contemporary trends that you see emerging in the Analytics space across the globe?

PB: Key trends we see in the industry are:

  1. Information activism” is emerging: Inside each organization, users want to be actively engaged with their data however haven’t had the technologies to do so. By providing users BI solutions that allow true self-service, they move from passively consuming the data to actively using it to glean important information. We live in a world of data (both at a personal and professional level) and people express themselves through the work they do with it.
  2. The move from “what” to “why”: In the past BI tools were used to capture a description of what was occurring within an organization. These static reports gave simple updates to inform users, but they did not encourage them to ask the next question. In 2015 we will see more organizations looking for “diagnostic” analytics to not only find what is happening, but to ask questions and find out why. The ability to learn from past triumphs (or failures) provides significantly more value than a report of outcomes.
  3. Data must come from external sources, not just internal. “Intelligent” organizations know that smart decisions come from the use of data, but where that information comes from matters. To truly gain context around trends and industry happenings, organizations must look to both internal and external data sources. Simply focusing on their own data, and shying away from the accelerating data boom, is a mistake. Organizations who utilize comprehensive solutions to process the information from multiple sources and in multiple views, are able to stay ahead of the game.
  4. Data without Borders: In 2015, BI solutions that excel in reporting, but lack analysis via interaction, will be a thing of the past. The shift in BI platform requirements, moving from reporting-centric to analysis-centric, means companies will expect to be able to digest and gain insights at a glance. Visualization is key as users need to be able to understand their data in a way that is natural to them, breaking down the barriers between people and their data.  BI solutions must look as good as they operate, and must operate as good as they look.
  5. Data storytelling enables decisions: When analysis is done in silos it can be difficult to share findings with others to drive a consensus. BI is no longer about collecting reports, it’s about interactive decision making. Therefore, data storytelling is critical as it allows users to create a compelling narrative of their results to convince team members and executives to take action. However, static stories can lead to unanswered questions and the end of a successful meeting. The option to dive into the data to answer questions in real-time is key to one’s success.
  6. Bad data plagues the workforce: Organizations often take it for granted that their data is accurate, blindly trusting the figures and relying on them to make both strategic and operational decisions. However, most organizations will have some form of inaccurate data on their books, often simply due to human error. The problem is not simply that the data contains errors, but rather, that no one is aware of them. By the time they’re flagged, entire chains of decisions could have been made, sequences of events could have played out and investments could already be lost. Fortunately, visualization can help as it enables users to see the big picture and provides an overview of a data set, making it easier to identify patterns and determine how they differ.
[divider style=”dotted” divider_color=”#000000″ link_color=”#000000″] [spoiler title=”Biography of Phillip Beniac” style=”fancy” icon=”plus-circle”]

Mr. Phillip Beniac is the Regional Vice President – Sales (Asia Pacific), and is responsible for spearheading Asia-Pacific sales and solutions initiatives to ensure customer success and drive continued “Business Discovery” leadership in the market.

Beniac joins Qliktech from Cognos, where he was heading the sales and marketing in Asia Pacific & Japan. Prior to Cognos, he was with SAS Institute where he held the position of Vice-President, Asia-Pacific. In this role, Mr. Beniac led Asia-Pacific sales, marketing, professional services and administrative personnel across 15 countries. He joined SAS’ sales organization in 1990 and held a variety of senior, global sales and business development positions during his tenure.[/spoiler]

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