Great Expectations

What I learned from our young intern on what the next generation expects from data and BI

Great Expectations

It’s summertime, and like many of you, I wanted to take a break from the regular routine. So, instead of discussing one of the many potential topics focused on Qlik and BI-related projects, I thought it might be interesting to share a different perspective.

I recently spent time with our Qlik Consulting college intern, Brian Keenan. Brian is going to be a Senior this fall at University of Miami, double majoring in Finance and Business Technology. He has spent his time learning about every aspect of Qlik Consulting – from Programs to Sales to Operations to Delivery. Talking with Brian gave me insights of how the world of data, software and consulting looks to the college student looking to enter the job market today and perhaps how we need to start thinking differently about how we deliver visual analytics and consulting in the future.

Millennials have grown up with smart phones, electronic communication and WiFi. They are the most comfortable generation to share and generate data that resides in the cloud. But even with all the articles and talk about Big Data, I learned from Brian that most business students he interacts with, many are still not fully aware about the power that data and effective visual analytics can bring to business. Data is still seen as something their geek, techie counterparts will use to build the apps that will just simply be available when they are needed. This is the world that millennials grew up in, that someone has likely already built an app for that – you just have to go find it out of the hundreds of thousands of apps already out there.

So when Brian was spending time at a customer site to experience an application discovery workshop, he was surprised to see a successful company still relying on (and very proud of their innovation) using printed charts and reports that were posted on the executive bulletin board to share business information and insights. Yes, we were there to help the customer design visual analytics to replace those printed charts and reports, but this is a typical scenario that we see in Qlik Consulting every day. Much of the business world is just beginning to transition their view of business data through an interactive, visual analytics lens – and our job as BI consultants is to help those businesses make the leap.

One of the #Qlik college interns spills the beans on what the next generation expects from data and BI

But what did we learn from Brian? After talking only a few minutes, I became increasingly nervous and excited about how much the next generation already anticipates data to be used and help them make consumer decisions. Beyond companies figuring out how to gain insights, how can we help consumers make better decisions? And in the world of driverless cars and automated on-line ordering, data and technology are already making many of our routine decisions. How will visual analytics play a role in that world?

Therefore, to the college students out there getting ready to jump into the professional workforce, be ready to listen and appreciate how your company has made business decisions in the past to help them harness the power of all data out there to gain better insights. Don’t assume that apps already exist and be ready to work closely with your techie colleagues to help design visual analytics that bring greater insights than reporting alone. Most importantly, don’t ever stop thinking about the future and being innovative in how data will play a role in our lives – professionally and personally.

 

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