Onze Education Manager en Data Literacy Expert Angelika Klidas deelt haar inzichten op het gebied van data & data literacy! 
(dit is een Engelstalig artikel)

"Back to the Future" read about my personal journey as a human and manager and how I used data and insights throughout my career and of course a touch to the future how I see the world in a couple of years.


I have been thinking a lot lately, and it gave me a great trip down memory lane that I’d like to share with you. As most of you know I have been working in the data & analytics work field for such a long time and have seen a lot of different things over the years. Like the first versions of Windows for example, and I don’t mean how I was working with Word Perfect and my first (refrigerator size) mobile phone… but how we started to work with data back then! So I like to share with you a view into the past… the history

The past: once upon a time there was a static report

During one my first management roles one of my tasks was to deliver reports about a certain process in a specific time, and in this specific time there where different steps involved. In my team at that time we had several persona’s in which I was expecting deliveries on time in order to book the results in the systems by the administrational team. So next to needing to take care of the timely delivery, I also had to take care of the correct registrations and timely planning of the activities.

My decision making during that time from a hind side perspective, was looking back and having static worklists on what to do and where to steer on. Every Monday morning I got new lists from the source system which I printed out (sometimes more than 5 pages) and with that list I could see whom needed to deliver “what”, and I could ask the question “when” the files would be delivered in order to book the results on time. Yes guys, even then we had targets!

Back then this was acceptable because I did not have the possibility to analyze deeper in to the activities like what was happening, why the results where different or what was the cause in the late deliveries etc. From the moment I received the manually printed list I was just walking around and asked questions to colleagues about open activities and ensuring everyone was handling and completing the activities on time.

At that moment it was a good way to work, but it was completely manual, we were only looking backwards and mostly we did re-active work. 

A static, printed list where I was running around with

A static, printed list where I was running around with: 

A static, printed list where I was running around with. 

So here are some key elements from a historical perspective:

 Static, directly from the source system reports
  There were more work lists to handle
 Running around in the organization to get the work done
 Control, manage and no interactivity to analyze whatsoever
 Data quality was not mentioned,  and not addressed

Current (and a touch of the past) 

At around 2007 I started to work with an interesting completely dynamic tool which I found on the net. I think at that time QlikView 7 or 8 was released, and I was over the top excited and saw the immediate and endless possibilities. Not only to use it in my own work environment but also at the University (where I started as a student and now already work at for 13 years).

The little frustrating part was that I am absolutely not a programmer and building a solid script was sometimes a bit hard from me, fortunately I got some help for that. From the functional perspective it was jaw dropping and absolutely powerful to use. When I made a first dashboard (oh yeah…. I did that too… building 3D visualizations dashboards!) for my ServiceDesk team, the noise started! Even at the HR department and the the facility management department where the tool was also implemented the noise was loud, louder than ever and the enthusiastic buzz was amazing… 2007 was an amazing Business Intelligence year, the buzz around this topic was great and the shift (I truly believe a paradigm shift) was fantastic! 

Image: Dashboard, old school and blurred (of course) but it did the trick

To be able to analyze through the data, from incident, to machine, to see the software that was implemented on that machine and at which provider we had to address the questions… that was fantastic! From high aggregations to such a detailed level was completely new for our management. Not having to wait for 15 days to receive the reports from our administration office, but exactly on the first of the month a direct insight and more proactive action-ability, saved loads of money at that time (Yup a very positive business case!).

So at that time, I was walking around with (oh yeah, a very heavy) laptop, and I could easily show the facts that where presented in the dashboard. If you want to know which machines have the issues, you must have the Configuration ID (CI) but if the CI is not a mandatory field, you can imagine what happens. But showing, telling, preaching and helping everyone to understand the beautiful processes of Business Intelligence became successful. And Data Quality was also on top of my mind (and automatically also for our team).

When we added another report about the number of questions at our providers, my manager had direct insight every Friday. During meetings he could confront providers directly with the open questions (incidents & requests) so we were able to ask critical questions to these parties we had to pay so much money to and we were able to manage these suppliers. And I could go on with stories about what we have built after that. 

Now in the year 2020, which is a sad year. A bad year for me with regards to some personal stuff and of course the horrifying Pandemic. But data & analytics is more and more embedded in our lives and it is definitely a necessity. We are (thank god) more aware of what is possible with data & analytics. And if you look how things changed since 2007 it is amazing what happened in 13 years, which is beyond every dream I had.  For example, being able to analyze with my iPad or phone is something incredible, with tools that automatically render to the screen that I am using. How cool is that?

And of course even more technical possibilities are there, Power BI, Qlik Sense, QlikView, SAS analytics, Pyramid Analytics and many more! Unbelievably good tools, that all do their magic. From a personal perspective, it is just what you are used to use and that is the tool that you go for as a person, but also as an organization.

Analyzing now, like automatically asking the next question, being able to find causes and dig deeper in the insights is amazing. To be able to add context with some incredible add on tools like the Vizlib products, or have a process flow visualized like we have designed and is build bij Inphinity to have more value within your dashboards & reports is fantastic.

The world as it is now in Data & Analytics is amazingly changed, where I was used to only look back, I can look forward or even predict or prescribe things. Artificial Intelligence has gone way further than I ever could have imagined. Being able to recognize eye diseases or cancer much faster by the insights analysis provide in a hospital, or what the ideal retail grocery package levels should be etc. is amazing and fantastic.  

From a managerial perspective, I use our dashboards on a daily basis for planning, sales forecasting and finances. And really this has changed my managerial live enormously!

Key takeaways from the touch of history and the current perspective:

 From static to dynamic
 Find factors and causes in your data
 Insights available any time, any place, on any device
 Loads of interactivity to analyze whatsoever
 Data quality is addressed and act upon

The Future (actually, a touch of now)

And now, a new broader horizon comes into place, and futuristic moments (I’ve seen some incredible things) occur in my head and the path in analyzing data grows further and further.

Right now, Active Intelligence is a hot topic. But what is Active Intelligence? According to Qlik it’s continuous intelligence derived from (near)real-time data specifically designed to trigger immediate actions. And actually, I firmly agree with the possibility for immediate action, or even with Natural Language being able to ask questions, in human language, to the data set.  I can agree on that from a certain point of view. Sometimes immediate actions are necessary like in the pandemic era we are living in now.

At this moment in our crucial data & analytics environment we need to be able to:

 Call upon extra doctors, nurses and staff to help the sick, by giving direct information from our reports in an alerting way!

 When triage is needed in a call center and the lines are fully occupied, extra staff is arranged to help and get on the phone activated by an alert from the data & analytics environment.

 Alert staff to immediately prepare rooms and beds for new patients from a Command Center in the hospital, via a trigger or an alert that is send automatically from the data which is collected near real-time

 Order parts for crucial machines when a certain level has been reached that activates a signal which sends an automatic mail to the production manager. Or even better: a machine part is ordered automatically when a signal goes to the planning.

This list could be enormous and I think at this moment the more direct alerting possibilities, the (near) real-time data collection and showing things not only from a hind side perspective, but even add the predictive and prescriptive data, I truly believe that data can save lives and make businesses better in what they do. It doesn’t matter if you work in a healthcare environment, governmental, or commercial environment, Active Intelligence can help to do the things that are necessary right now!

From my managers role, alerting is a great way to get into immediate action and being able to directly act on problems and situations that occur. With Active Intelligence we probably achieve more than we were with working just with our dashboards (open laptop, go to server, open dashboard, click through dashboards, make decision and act upon that). From the Active Intelligence perspective, of course I will still use my dashboards every day, but how good is it to receive a message on my phone with an alert about a certain situation and I can just click on the link provided to act immediately.

Active Intelligence will definitely help achieve more data driven decision making and help data literacy grow in organizations. I am not very sure about the fact that we need (near) real-time data for everything, but for some very crucial and core processes I do agree with that! 

Key takeaways for the touch of the past and now:

 From dynamic to full action with alerting possibilities

 Find factors and causes in your data just by asking the question

 Insights available any time, any place, any device

 Data quality can be monitored by add on functions like writeback

   Data can handle some issues (like ordering a part automatically)

My dream

When I was in the US, I went to the StarWars virtual show ( Oh wow, that was so amazing. We had a pack on our back, guns and a mask and helmet and we were in a real StarWars environment. After that I started dreaming…

Walking with my (Google) glasses around a virtual data storage environment, looking at all the tables that are in my data storage environment, getting a table and connecting it (without programming, because that is done for me) finger I get and with a touch of my finger interesting, and automatically generated graphs in front of me. These graphs will be presented based on my skillset so I do not have to worry about any design aspect. From an Active Intelligence perspective I get alerts on my phone, my watch or through my glasses that I am wearing. Or even pick a graph to my liking to show me the numbers, my targets etc. (@Elif Tutuk are you with me?)

Would that be possible in the future? I’m looking forward to finding out for sure!

Take care my friends, dear readers be safe and healthy!

Angelika Klidas

Strategic Advisor & Manager Education2Foqus Data & Analytics


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