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Making business Qlik

PQ magazine’s Graham Hambly went to talk to the CFO Tim MacCarrick about Qlik, a leader in the visual analytics market

November 2017

It was 10 minutes into the interview with Qlik’s CFO, Tim MacCarrick, before we started really talking about ‘the numbers’. For MacCarrick people come first, be they customers or employees. The numbers, while important, are a by-product of doing business. But MacCarrick might just be good at the numbers, and as CFO expects them just to be there!
He also believes it is vital that every finance department looks at the business through the eyes of the customer, and what their value proposition is.
Qlik is one of those ‘sexy’ businesses that is working at the cutting edge. As its website says, it “delivers intuitive platform solutions for self-service data visualisation, guided analytics applications, embedded analytics and reporting to approximately 45,000 customers worldwide”. We are talking big data and business intelligence here. Among those customers are Deloitte, many financial institutions and the NHS.
MacCarrick believes Qlik allows business to get closer to what they do and understand it better. It also provides unique insights and it does this by focusing on business users rather than the IT.
He started his working life at Xerox and rose to become its CEO for Europe in his 23 years there. Not bad for the guy who started as a summer intern. However, it was while he was at industrial company Crane and Co that he took on his first CFO role. Part of that job was to run investor relations and he became involved in reporting results, attending analysis conferences and taking phone calls from banking institutions. We talked about transparency, confidentiality and disclosure here and the needs of shareholders. “You have to find a balance,” he explained.
He said that he had to fight the short-termism of some markets and you have to take people on your journey to provide a strategic vision. “That means telling your story over and over again until the message gets out there,” he explained.
When discussing AI and robots, MacCarrick likes to talk about Augmented Intelligence rather than Artificial Intelligence. He is in no doubt that there are plenty of areas in the intelligence gathering process that can be automated. But these figures need to be put into context and interpreted by the leaders of companies – and this includes the accountants. We will still need the humans, he argues. Which is good news.
MacCarrick was able to highlight how data analysis is helping Qlik to work better and make better decisions. Before each board meeting he releases all his numbers onto the cloud. Members can go on and click through the numbers and change them to answer any of their questions. By having the data ready to be manipulated it means he can exit the boardroom on the day of the meeting without any outstanding questions (well, that’s the aim). This in turn enables better decision in real time.
Find out more at qlik.com.

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