The funny thing about gold in ‘em hills is it only becomes of value (to us) when we find it.  It’s not as though the prospector created the gold, the gold was already there.  The gold holds its own intrinsic value, yet we have to see it, hold it, and possess it before we can make use of it.  Passers-by would have trampled overhead, blissfully unaware of the treasure below the surface.  The gold would remain hidden from view until it is unearthed and brought to light.

The same is true of data locked up within an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system.  The information only becomes valuable to us when it is brought to light.  More often than not the nuggets of gold that can significantly aid an organisation already exist within one system or another.  Yet, despite incumbent reporting tools these gems pass unnoticed.  Some of the reporting tools are akin to the prospector standing back from the mountain and taking weekly photographs rather than digging and panning for the gold.

Enter stage-left QlikView, a nifty BI tool (http://pa.com.au/.qlikview.html).  This was recently introduced at our own organisation and quickly spread its tentacles over our resident systems.  Within a matter of hours it was revealing gems of information that were not readily known.  What is remarkable is the realisation that underlying information hadn’t changed.  It was the same information that had been there the day before.  In fact it has been slowly accumulating for years.  We had been trampling over it week in week out, tapping away at our keyboard, blissfully unaware of the information locked up beneath our fingertips.

Of course, some of the information was previously known to us.  It was like we knew a seam of gold existed deep beneath the hard impregnable rock, sometimes we could actually see the seam poke through the surface.  But we had no easy means to mine the seam.  With QlikView, not only did we discover entirely new nuggets of gold, we could easily follow seams of previously known information.  Each exposure to information led the team deeper into the information treasure trove.

Now for the sceptics out there, what’s so special about QlikView I hear you cry.  Well it’s not as though we’ve not tried to mine for useful data before.  We’ve previously built extensive MS Reporting Services reports, we’ve developed OLAP cubes, we’ve poured over crystal reports.  What QlikView has given us is an easy to use tool that is very powerful.  Because it is easy to use, it gets used. Because it gets used, it reveals information.

So if you want to harness the gold that exists within your organisation, take a closer look at QlikView.  Incidentally, QlikTech (QlikView’s author) has recently appeared as the only new addition in the Gartner’s Leader quadrant in their Magic Quadrant for BI (January 2011).

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