Posts

Outside your comfort zone

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We all have that 'comfort zone', both in the working and private aspects of our lives, where we are comfortable. There is no risk, no feeling of uncertainty or trepidation, we know we can do it and feel safe. It's important to have that safety zone, but stepping beyond that zone, driving towards the risk or uncertainty can be exciting and bring the greatest rewards. Finding your comfort zone As a kid, I was never one to step beyond that safety zone, and that zone wasn't particularly large either. There were a few things I felt comfortable doing (we'll get to those in a bit), many things however terrified me. Exams (I was never good at those), standing up in front of the class, confrontation, even just voicing my opinions. Through my time in college and university, through to my early career, that didn't change much, and I still fear exams. When I look back however, I reflect on the things that have pushed me through my life, the things and people that have

Analytics Process Automation with Alteryx and Qlik Sense.

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Following up from my last post which talked through how we can utilise the power of Qlik-CLI to trigger app reloads from app load scripts, I'm going to talk through how we can expand out the use of the Qlik-CLI functionality to trigger app reloads from Alteryx. If you've not yet read part one of this blog series and want to understand more about Qlik-CLI within Qlik Sense before you begin; you can read that post here . What is Qlik-cli? Qlik-CLI is a PowerShell module which supports the management of Qlik Sense environments via command line scripts.  Allowing for the viewing and editing of configuration, task and other functions accessible via API, through PowerShell commands and scripts.  In our case we used the Qlik-CLI available from Qlik Branch (Adam Haydon).  Check out the link to find out more about how to go about the installation of Qlik-CLI. The Qlik-CLI needs to be installed on any machine from where you want to trigger a Qlik task, in the case of Alteryx, we install

Building scalable analytics automation

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  There are many occasions when following completion of an Alteryx workflow, we'd like to reload our Qlik Apps.  Much of the time, that involves making some estimation as to when the app reload should be scheduled based on average time it takes for the workflow to complete, plus an arbitory additional period of time, 'just in case'. Much of the time, that works pretty well.  Workflows run our nightly processes so triggering the app reload 30 minutes later doesn't impact business processes or users needs. When we begin to introduce user interaction with our workflows through Gallery or though Qlik based functionality, the challenges begin.   A recent project found us in the realms of Qlik app reloads and supporting user driven app reloads. Using the VizLib Collaboration tools, we introduced a platform to manage product data from the stage of ideation.  VizLib forms provide the functionality from a user perspective to 'add' data from within a Qlik Sense app, reloa

Lakes, challenge, people and collaboration

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My latest post falls a little more in to the category of 'and things', rather than that of 'analytics', but hopefully to will see the relevance as you read. At the end of the summer, I spent my time supporting two open water swim events in the beautiful setting of the English Lake District.  Or that was the plan!  Below you can see a beautiful, calm and tranquil Ullswater, the night before. In the role of safety Kayaker and open water Lifeguard, I planned to spend my Saturday and Sunday paddling two of the most beautiful lakes in the UK, Ullswater and Windermere.  For those of you who have read some of my previous posts, you may be familiar with the journey along the Windermere One Way, for those new to my Blog, feel free to check out that post . There are many aspects of these events which cross over in to my role within data and analytics projects; people, planning, collaboration, communication, patience, focus to mention a few. Each of these events, the Ullswater Chi

Data Process Automation - Consumer Marketing

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Consumer marketing and communication  As part of any eCommerce business, interaction with the consumer is the foundation of a successful repeat customer.  If you don't communicate and interact with your customers in the right way, they'll not return.  Targeted /personalised marketing, abandoned basket emails, timely order confirmations, some of the many interactions a business will have with their customers. There are many platforms within the market which provide an enhanced consumer experience in relation to communication and marketing.  In this post, I'll be discussing how the integration of the Magento eCommerce platform and Adobe campaign (the consumer marketing platform) was achieved. What was the challenge?  To leverage the full potential of this platform, there was a requirement to enable the synchronisation of customer and transnational data between the eCommerce sites and Adobe Campaign, this allows automation of enhanced content emails to be triggered via Adobe C

Globalising EPOS Data

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Globalising Electronic Point of Sale data. With everything going on in  the world and the impact on the retail sector in particular, the importance of easy access to timely data is ever more important than ever. As a business, the we have access to a trove of Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) data from many of its retailers, along with wider data sets of market performance of competitors. Using Alteryx, they've been able to visualise data to provide an enhanced view of their operations at a global level, while adding increased visibility and access across the entire organisation.  The Challenge As a consumer packaged goods manufacturer, data is provided from retailers in relation to sales data from stores (EPOS). We receive EPOS data from over 50 retailers, across three regions (EMEA, US and APAC).  That's data for over 4500 stores global, resulting in hundreds of thousands of new rows of data on a weekly basis. Each retailer provides data in different formats. This results in a

Structure in an unstructured world.

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Reading unstructured data from Microsoft Word Many businesses have data which is held in an unstructured format within Microsoft Word, product marketing data, such as descriptions, key features, etc.. which is used on retailer websites.  This ‘information’ is generic and not linked to a specific, tangible structured data in any way..   As an example, if we wanted to link the marketing description, which is held in a separate word document for each of our products, to a specific product SKU to use in reporting or to load in to a new system, this would have to be done manually, which is massively inefficient and time consuming. A solution Using Alteryx, I addressed the challenge through utalising the Python tool and a little Python scripting  to read a list of Word documents from a directory.  This was built out in to a custom macro for reusability. Then for each file, read the content, identify each individual line of text and build a ‘list’. This list is then transformed in to a single