Another Qonnections is in the books. Like all Qonnections (this is my 5th), it has passed like a whirlwind of activity and fun. I will try to sort through the experience to find some of the random notables coming out of Qonnections 2017.
The most exciting information came out of the day 1 general session. Anthony Deighton revealed the 2020 Vision and Roadmap. The overall vision is that unlike the “scary version” of AI where the machines take over the world, Qlik is embracing AI as “Augmented Intelligence” where the human is still the central point in the decision-making process and the machine intelligence supports the human in an intelligent way. As a result, Qlik declared they are “investing heavily” in AI related technology.
With this overall vision, there were some major areas of focus and new features looking to become part of Qlik Sense (in no particular order)
- Improvement of the Data Manager (self-service loading and transforming of data)
- New Visualizations – Boxplot, Histograms, Distribution Chart
- Integration with R and Python (and other tools to be announced)
- Dimensional Color Intelligence
- Context based Search and learning
- Qlik Sense App for fully featured Offline Use
- Improved On-Demand App Generation
- Certification process for externally created extensions
- Focus on a hybrid cloud environment where clients have a seamless mix of on premises and cloud based solutions.
- Big Data Associative Indexing
The most interesting news for me is the idea of Big Data Associative Indexing. Although I am foggy on the details, it seems that we will soon be able to spread the associative engine load for an app across more than one node. Unlike the “Direct Discovery” feature that was touted as the answer for Big Data (it was not), Big Data Associative Indexing represents a breakthrough in the core technology and a REAL SOLUTION for big data. This will absolutely bring the power Qlik to much larger data sets. I cannot wait to learn more about this.
Where was QlikView?
Which of these features will make it into QlikView? We have absolutely no idea.
Although of course we expect Qlik Sense to remain center stage, there was nary a mention of QlikView in any content that I saw the entire conference. I did see that QlikView is part of the roadmap, with 1 release in November.
I understand the more sustainable path for the future more directly involves Qlik Sense. With that said, the large bulk of Qlik’s customers are still using QlikView. And anecdotally, some of the customers I spoke with at Qonnections voiced disappointment about the lack of attention for the product they use and love.
Although Qlik has made the claim that they are “officially supporting and improving both products well into the future”, it is clear to me that what Qlik really wants is for all customers to move to Qlik Sense as soon as possible.
The Luminary Cocktail Event
The Luminary event was great fun. I was a little overwhelmed meeting so many legendary people at one time. So, I apologize if I said anything weird out of my obvious nervousness. Special Shout-outs to Brian Booden, Karl Pover, Julian Villafuerte, Angelika Klidas, Jason Michaelides, Richard Pearce and Gysbert Wassenaar.
The Keynote Speaker Jason Silva
Well, I don’t want to hate on Jason Silva too much. He seems like a really nice person. But it felt like he read some Carl Sagan and then used a word cloud of the top trending words about the “future” to cobble together his speech about “moments of awe”. It seems his passion is genuine, but the feeling of awe he was obviously experiencing was not transferring to me.
Maybe I feel this way because he followed Scott Kelly, the keynote speaker from last year. Commander Scott Kelly is an American astronaut who had just completed a 1-year mission in space. In contrast to Mr. Silva’s emotive style, Commander Kelly was calm and matter-of-fact in his presentation. Yet last year I found myself at the edge of my seat clinging to his every word. That was an example of a truly awe-inspiring moment for me.
I am only speaking for myself, a developer who goes down the technical track of the breakout sessions. It seems to me that there were fewer opportunities for real learning and knowledge transfer this year than in past years. One notable exception was the hands-on workshop provided for GeoAnalytics. That is the kind of learning that helps me in my business.
I firmly believe that Qlik Sense and QlikView are amazing products. Qlik is undoubtedly the leader of the Business Discovery space.
With that said, I think there is a slight disconnect developing between Qlik and their partners and customers. My hope is that the Qlik team does not take partners and customers for granted. Listen to the partners (all the partners). Listen to the customers (including QlikView customers). They will happily tell you the pains they are having with the programs and the products.
All-in-all, Qonnections 2017 was a successful event. Personally, I always get so much out of Qonnections. The highlight for me this year was meeting so many great new people.