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Qlik’s Plan For Growth In India, According To Their MD Arun Balasubramanian

Qlik’s Plan For Growth In India, According To Their MD Arun Balasubramanian

Srishti Deoras

Qlik, a noted data analytics and business intelligence platform is used extensively by various industries — from e-commerce to medicine. With the ease of working and the functionality it provides, Qlik is known to be enhancing the data literacy skills in people working in various industries. The company believes that data literacy is a crucial element that can render efficiency of employees in areas such as data reading, data analysation, data compilation, data management, among others, hence helping them retrieve maximum benefits from the huge pile of data.

To understand more of data literacy efforts by Qlik, the company’s growth plan in India and the challenges they faced, Analytics India Magazine interacted with Qlik’s newly-appointed managing director Arun Balasubramanian.

Analytics India Magazine: How is Qlik enhancing data literacy skills in people working in various industries?

Arun Balasubramanian: Qlik is leading the charge towards making the world more data literate, and to make sure everyone has equal opportunity to succeed with data, personally and professionally, Qlik recently announced a new data literacy education program which includes many elements available at no cost. The learning is product agnostic – built around widely adopted data, analytics and statistical concepts that can be used in any context and with any BI tool. For the first time, the public can get access to:

  • Free self-paced online learning modules in the Qlik Continuous Classroom
  • Free comprehensive data analytics certification in the Qlik Continuous Classroom
  • Free learning resources for professors and students through the Qlik Academic Program
  • Free skills assessment to receive a training roadmap based on skill level

A series of surveys commissioned by Qlik and detailed at identified that the majority of workers around the world believe that data skills would make them more valuable to their employer, and that they would take advantage of skills training if made available. The Qlik data literacy education program is designed to help bridge this gap and provide benefit to all current and future employees worldwide.

AIM: Does data literacy play a vital role in better output by employees?

AB: Data literacy empowers users with the ability to make decisions which are more relevant and precise. Having the relevant data to back up their claims also gives them more credibility in the eyes of their peers and higher-ups. Their performance improves, as does their overall productivity and contribution towards achieving the short-term and long-term business goals.

According to the recent Qlik APAC Data Literacy Survey, almost 90% of data literate persons from all sectors said that they were performing very well at work. On the other hand, only 33% of non-data literate persons got that work satisfaction.

AIM: What is the role of visual analytics in enhancing the data literacy skills?

AB: Visual analytics presents an interactive data interface for business users which can be used to explore the available data with simple clicks. This does away with the need for advanced data science capabilities, allowing business users to easily understand and utilise the information to achieve their desired end-result.

More importantly, the rigidly-structured, query-based approach that most BI and analytics tools follow has been made redundant by Qlik, allowing for a more non-linear, speed-of-thought exploration of data. Moreover, since all the relevant data is visualised on the screen, data blind spots are eliminated. By facilitating all of this, visual analytics make it possible for even non-technical users to easily utilise data to generate highly contextual and accurate insights, thus improving the level of data literacy across the organisation.

AIM: Why should Government offices implement these tools for better services?

AB: India, as a nation, faces two major data challenges. To begin with, its public data is trapped across various silos and data environments, which reduces the accessibility and availability of information to the key decision-makers. The second challenge lies in the relevancy of data; most of the public data is collected on a long-term basis, which means that by the time it is processed and made available to the relevant end-user, it is already obsolete. Policies and regulations created with such incomplete, fragmented, and outdated information are therefore less likely to be beneficial for a broader spectrum of the population, and will not accomplish the desired objectives.

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Implementing state-of-the-art analytics solutions such as Qlik can help in effectively addressing these challenges and many public service organisations around the world has benefitted through investing in analytics with Qlik.

AIM: Are data analytic tools emerging as one of the most useful business intelligence elements?

AB: Business intelligence is aimed at empowering organisations with the tools that organisations require to gain a competitive edge in the market. Data analytics solutions, such as Qlik, make it possible for them to do so by helping organisations make sense of their business data. Having in-depth analytics relevant to one’s job responsibilities available at just a few clicks makes it extremely convenient for businesses to optimise their operations through better decision-making.

Such easy accessibility of data also helps them to identify, track, and capitalise on emerging market opportunities. This is one of the main reasons why data analytics are finding application across more and more use-cases across the entire business value chain.      

AIM: Which are the top five industries in data analytics that are in a need of having data literacy in place?

AB: There is a massive – and growing – demand for a date literate workforce and data-intensive industries such as BFSI, e-commerce, retail, healthcare, and manufacturing industries will be the first to be impacted. Many other sectors such as transportation, education, sports, media and entertainment, and real estate are also now leveraging data analytics to drive their operations.

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AIM: What are the challenges in the way of bringing data literacy in an analytics age?

AB: One of the major data literacy challenges is the awareness about its need. Despite acknowledging that their organisations need to be more data-ready, many business leaders haven’t fully prioritised this. Data isn’t a resource to hoard and hand out to only a select few; the relevant information should be proactively made available to everyone across hierarchies and verticals. Adopting such a data-driven approach can help employees to make more relevant and precise business decisions, as well as to collaborate with each other for delivering better outcomes. This awareness about how data literacy can drive continued business growth and success is the need of the hour today.

AIM: How is Qlik’s business is evolving in India?

AB: Qlik is a leader in business analytics, and we are positioning ourselves to really take advantage of this next wave of the analytics economy in India. We’re well-positioned to grow, and continue to add capabilities like augmented intelligence and hybrid cloud. Qlik serves over 48,000 customers around the world including Bajaj Auto, BookMyShow, Lupin and Micromax, amongst others in India. We have three offices locally, of which the India headquarters is based in Bangalore.

AIM: What is your vision for Qlik in India? What is the roadmap for the company in the year 2018?

AB: Qlik’s vision for the future is defined by three core pillars of innovation – data, platform, and analytics.

First, to drive the most value from analytics, people need to be able to work with all their data. This means accessing data wherever it resides, without being limited by its location, size or complexity. Our vision is to bridge user data, governed enterprise sources, and big data, associatively, to create a continuum from the individual through the business, on-premise or in the cloud. To do this we are making investments in data acquisition and integration, including a new associative big data indexing capability that will provide the Qlik associative experience on top of all types of data, while leaving the data where it resides.

Next, organisations need to think about how data is utilised in an infrastructure that fully supports their unique needs. With current offerings, customers must choose on-premise or cloud deployments. We aim to change the choice to “and” by building our platform to work seamlessly across on-premise and cloud environments (including private, managed or public cloud), and increasingly on edge-computing infrastructures and devices running any operating system.

Finally, users need to be met where they are, with the right capabilities for whatever they are trying to do. This could include a range of current and future use cases from visualising data and creating analytics, to exploring centrally deployed apps, to consuming printed output, to analysing on mobile devices (online or offline), and to building custom applications and embedded analytics.

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