Drag-and-drop data visualisation for big data discovery

Data visualisation specialist Qlik has released a new, self-service version of its software that it says will allow any information worker to do data analytics and business intelligence (BI) more easily and on any device.

Originally a Swedish firm, Qlik has been a market leader in data visualisation for BI for a number of years through its QlikView product, which the company says is used by 33,000 customers around the world. This includes the UK National Health Service's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which uses it for big data analytics for its Clinical Research Network.

Local users include the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Royal Victorian Ear and Eye Hospital, St Vincent's Hospital Sydney, and the Inner East Melbourne Medicare Local.

It has now released Qlik Sense, which uses Qlik's data indexing engine to allow users to create personalised data analyses and explore the relationships that exist in data to reveal connections instantly.

Users can drag and drop data into a range of different graphs and charts that are interactive and linked to the software on mobile phones, tablets and desktops. Qlik's lead product manager John Trigg said the product had been designed for mobile first, but that it had the capability to instantly and dynamically adjust itself to device being used.

Launching Qlik Sense in Sydney yesterday as part of a world tour, Qlik's vice president for global sales Christof Majer said the software had been designed to mimic human intuition and innate pattern recognition capabilities.

It also uses a Google-like search capability to easily find any data point and drag and drop it into a graph or table for further analysis.

Mr Trigg said the idea was about “democratising the BI process” and allowing any person to do data analysis, not just data scientists.

“But it's not just a pretty desktop tool,” Mr Trigg said. “It has been built to be enterprise class and it has the right level of security so that you can maintain trust in the data.”

It contains a rules engine to allow the IT department to control who has access to what data and where and to whom it can be published.

The company says Qlik Sense supports robust data integration that can combine multiple, disparate data sources and provide seamless analysis across them, including fast calculations, associative exploration and search.

It has been released with a range of application programming interfaces (APIs) to allow developers to embed it into web pages and custom applications. It also allows data integration capabilities that don't require external tools or data repositories.

“Qlik Sense can connect to and combine virtually any data source, including spreadsheets, databases, operational systems, ERP and web sources. And with Direct Discovery, resident big data sources such as Hadoop, Teradata and Cloudera can be integrated without requiring data to be loaded into memory.”

Mr Trigg said intuitive data visualisation was essential when it came to big data such as that generated by the healthcare sector.

“As you start talking about the notion of big data, we start thinking how, from a user perception perspective, how do we get all of that data in a meaningful way onto a screen,” he said. “We want to make sure that Qlik Sense gives you the most relevant information, but also give you clues to go look for the additional things that give you additional insight.”

Qlik is offering a free desktop version for personal users.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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