Behind the Data Strategy

The Qlik World Tour 2023, a global roadshow dedicated to unlocking the potential of data, made its mark in Johannesburg, South Africa. Tech enthusiasts, industry experts, and data aficionados came together to explore the latest trends in data analytics and business intelligence. Among the bright minds gracing the event, Upuli De Abrew, Director at Insight Consulting, provided us with some valuable insights into the realm of data strategy, the enduring Qlik partnerships, and the essential task of fostering a data culture within organizations. Here, we offer a glimpse into her thoughts on the industry and her enduring journey with Insight Consulting.

Upuli De Abrew: A Brief Profile

Upuli De Abrew is a graduate of Rhodes University with a Master’s degree in Information Systems. As a co-founder and Director at Insight Consulting, she plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the customer-consulting partnership is seamless and that the company’s solutions and service delivery maximize value for clients. Upuli’s passion for continuous learning and her eagerness to explore a wide range of industry and functional areas have contributed to her role as an effective advisor to customers. She also recognizes the importance of mentoring consultants and building their capabilities to align with the firm’s ethos.

Fostering a Data Culture

Speaking about Insight Consulting’s focus, Upuli expressed her pride in their 16-year partnership with Qlik, making them one of the oldest Qlik partners in South Africa. Their expertise in the entire data value chain and commitment to creating a data culture have set them apart in the industry.

Upuli highlighted a common challenge faced by organizations, regardless of the cutting-edge Qlik solutions they offer – the ability to get people to use data effectively. According to her, this challenge is met by partnering with customers to create data strategies that foster a strong data culture. A robust data culture, she explains, is the key to reaping the maximum benefits from tools like Qlik.

The Significance of Data Literacy

Data literacy, Upuli emphasized, is a crucial indicator of data maturity. It extends beyond the ability to read or create graphs; it’s about effectively communicating data in a way that makes sense to the audience. Understanding the business, knowing the audience, and crafting a compelling narrative from the data are integral components of data literacy. In essence, it’s about creating a story that people can easily grasp and act upon.

The Data Maturity Framework

Discussing the data maturity journey, Upuli drew attention to the Data Maturity Framework. Many organizations believe they are further along this framework than they actually are, she noted. To make the transformation into a data-driven organization, executive buy-in is vital. Mapping out the current state (the “as is” state) is the initial step. It involves assessing data flows, data skills, reports, security, governance, and more.

Once the “as is” state is clear, aligning the data strategy with business objectives becomes imperative. Upuli emphasized that a successful data strategy must address people, processes, and technology, all aligned with the organization’s vision.

Celebrating Success: A Journey with Qlik

In her closing remarks, Upuli shared her personal pride and emotional connection to the success of Insight Consulting’s early clients. These were the pioneers who adopted QlikView as a cutting-edge technology 15 to 16 years ago. Today, they continue to derive immense value from Qlik, having transitioned to Qlik Sense and even explored the realm of data integration and machine learning.

These long-term clients, who took the initial leap with QlikView and still thrive on Qlik’s latest offerings, serve as a testament to Insight Consulting’s dedication and the enduring benefits of a data-driven approach.

As the interview with Upuli De Abrew came to a close, it was evident that her passion for data strategy, her commitment to nurturing a data culture, and her profound connection with clients make her a remarkable figure in the world of data analytics and a driving force behind Insight Consulting’s success. The Qlik World Tour 2023 in Johannesburg provided a glimpse into the evolving landscape of data strategy and the experts who are shaping its future.

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