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Version control gave VTCT the freedom for data exploration in Qlik Sense. They no longer have to worry about creating new copies of each iteration of design.

VTCT is a Qlik Data Intensive Company

Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT) is a specialist awarding organization offering vocational and technical qualifications in a range of service sectors. Its objectives are for the advancement of education, research, and public dissemination of knowledge. And data overflows at VTCT.

Since 2015, they have grown from 3 to over 18 different sources that now create their data ecosystem. This allows data to
be used in context and provides deep insights that result in actions. This same year is when Sean Bruton, Qlik Luminary 2018-2019 and Business Intelligence Architect at VTCT, first discovered and implemented Qlik Sense.

Too Much Time Spent on Administration

With Qlik Sense, Sean was able to scale down the number of apps by roughly 80% while simultaneously expanding the variety of data worldwide. This enabled a richer story to be told through the data. The apps are accessible through dynamic dashboards that give employees throughout the organization quick and easy access to the data they need.

As Qlik Sense enabled Sean to create apps so much more quickly, he sought out a way to rapidly track all changes. Any change to a data point in a Qlik Sense app can have a ripple effect throughout the organization; there is no room for error. Initially, Sean relied on a “home grown” version control approach, which involved creating copies of each version of an app locally so he could restore a previous version if an error was found. This involved keeping each version and naming them “V1, V2, V3, etc.”

If a mistake was made, the BI Team would have to search for the last correct version and manually copy the information into the live Qlik environment. This could be quite tedious and take anywhere from hours to days. There’s the additional risk that any new information that had been added to the latest version could be lost if they needed to revert back to a previous version. This process required meticulous attention to detail on data entry and scripting. Rework and data entry takes valuable time away from analysis and taking action.

Working More Efficiently in Qlik

In 2018, Sean discovered a product called Soterre. Soterre, a solution from Motio, Inc., eliminates time-consuming and cumbersome administration tasks in Qlik Sense. Sean now uses it daily in his role at VTCT.

Soterre runs as a separate app within the Qlik Sense environment and offers complete visibility of additions/deletions, changes, etc. “It’s not just a cliché. Time is precious and there is a set amount of it. I am doing the design, the development, and the analysis. If I spend too much time on building an app, I will have less time to educate and empower others through the analysis and projections of its results.”

The version control capability in Soterre changed the way VTCT work in Qlik Sense:

  • Improved production rate of Qlik apps
  • Reduced similar content for a cleaner environment
  • Created a “safety net” as you can revert previous or deleted content

“Soterre removes the stress and anxiety of needing to track changes. It offers me peace of mind.” He now focuses on how a possible change can empower stakeholders, improve data quality or even quicken processes instead of worrying that making the change could cause a possible error and cost hours of time. Now, the BI team doesn’t have to weigh the risk of creative changes, they are at liberty to make alterations that will help anticipate trends and stay ahead of the data.

Beyond the day-to-day usage, Soterre’s version Control aids VTCT in their compliance. The qualifications that VTCT produces are regulated by government bodies. Version control offers a clear, comprehensive audit trail that can be understood by any external party.

“My job is to make data talk and empower my coworkers through those data insights. Because of Soterre, I am no longer restrained by administrative tasks and creating unscheduled backups. This enables me to focus on how I can empower people every day. And you can’t put a price tag on that.”