The first ever public sector-focused networking business breakfast by QlikView SA, which took place in Johannesburg, was attended by 60 delegates from 25 government agencies, all showing a lively interest in visual analytics leader Qlik’s ability to extract data from all sources across functional silos and turn it into actionable intelligence – in near realtime.

Delegates were impressed with Qlik’s power to improve decision-making through all-round visibility across all government forms and functions – including individual agencies, departments and state-owned enterprises; supra-departmental clusters; public-private partnerships; and intergovernmental collaborations.

The presence of David Bolton, Qlik’s global industry solutions director: public sector and healthcare, did much to lend weight to the gathering, as C-level attendees (directors, DGs, representatives and CIOs) welcomed opportunities to share in Qlik’s global best practices and collaborative learning to aid their implementations.

“The outlook is positive as we move to repeat our good results elsewhere in this sector,” says Davide Hanan, MD of QlikView SA. “Qlik’s local public sector footprint in South Africa doesn’t reflect our value and success across other regions and sectors, but we’ve comprehensively demonstrated its abilities to meet government’s challenges today. It was roundly agreed that our government’s challenges are largely identical to others globally, so we expect Qlik will have increasing success within the South African public sector.”

Talking about public sector challenges, Bolton comments: “Fundamentally, all organisations across sectors are trying to cope with the current explosion in data. But people are still making the decisions, so the real challenge lies in turning all this data into decision-supporting intelligence.”

From a government perspective, citizens and employees have greater expectations to be served by advanced, accessible technologies, imposing a greater support burden on agencies. Meanwhile, the pressure is on to do more with less, and there is immense scrutiny to account for expenditure.

In all these challenges, Qlik leads by enabling cost-efficient, high-powered collaboration across multiple agencies, cross-platform (mobile, desktop and online) accessibility and all-round organisational visibility – supporting faster decision-making, better service delivery, greater agility and more transparency.

Qlik’s support of humanitarian and conservation work in Africa provided insights into its work in the region. The vendor provides free licences to aid Medair in fighting Ebola, Harambe in its promotion of youth employment and training, and SANPARKS in combating poaching.

While data visualisation is the new buzz in analytics, alone it is not enough, Bolton adds. Qlik offers a broad spectrum of capabilities ranging from data acquisition, storage, preparation and automated pre-analysis to databases, analytic apps, reporting, collaboration, mobile and embedded analytics.

Having pioneered data associations to overcome the long-winded Structured Query Logic of SQL tools, the Qlik platform transcends traditionally static, historic reports (what happened some time back) with real-time diagnostic tools (why something is happening right now) and predictive analytics (what could happen).

Another pioneering contribution is Qlik’s uniquely user-centric (versus IT-driven) view of business intelligence, with accessible tools for visualisation, analytics, collaboration and reporting. This is counterbalanced by a trusted governance framework, to satisfy IT.

An energetic post-conference Q&A generated much excitement, as delegates delved into Qlik’s cross-platform data extraction capability and speed of data access.

“It is clear that our early exploration into this vital sector has much potential,” Hanan says. “We look forward to helping the government attain its ideals and overcome its challenges with globally recognised solutions in proven use cases.”