“Cybit is very knowledgeable about Qlik. We like their support and hands on practical approach, and they are down to earth. Being demand-led, we find that flexibility and adaptability to be really useful." Simon Tate, Business Intelligence Analyst

Our vision for the future is to get a deep insight into our community and workforce needs, and to have a greater understanding of our capability to meet future demands.

– Simon Tate, Business Intelligence Analyst, Northumbria Police

Customer Story:  Northumbria Police

Utilising Big Data to Better Service the Community

Northumbria Police share how they are making a difference by analysing 999 call volumes, incident response times, and missing persons data.

Northumbria Police serves a population of 1.5 million people and covers an area of more than 2,000 square miles in the North East of England; from the Scottish border down to County Durham and from the Pennines across to the North East coast.

The force is one of the largest in the country and is recognised as one of the top performing in the UK. There are over 5000 police officers and staff as of October 2020. Their role is to respond to emergencies, safeguard vulnerable people, and keep neighbourhoods safe.

Watch their Qlik Sense success story below or keep reading for the written case study.

Watch the Northumbria Police Case Study

Challenges & Goals

Using systems for analytics and reporting that were no longer meeting their needs, including Microsoft Excel and QlikView, Northumbria Police were experiencing a number of issues including:

  • Heavy reliance on complex spreadsheets
  • Analysts spending time processing data instead of interrogating data
  • An inability to explore large data sets
  • Emailing reports out to staff – made it hard to get engagement
  • Data modelling was repetitive and time consuming

To become a data-led organisation, they wanted to achieve the following goals:

  • Real-time, intuitive, interactive apps
  • An agile platform that can be used by staff (e.g. officers) on the go, on any device
  • Democratised data – self-service analytics to remove the bottleneck of analysts/IT
  • Broaden the data they use and share with partners (e.g. with social demographic data)
  • Get a deeper insight into their community and workforce needs, to meet future demands

Business Intelligence Analyst, Simon Tate, explains: “We want to know what’s coming a year, two years, three years down the line. It’s very much a drive to do that across the police service so that we’re better kitted out for the future. A high-performance data literate culture is an aspiration of ours.”

Choosing an Analytics Solution

Northumbria Police selected Qlik Sense as it was agile for on-the-go staff like officers, and they could easily build multiple tailored dashboards.

Simon adds: “I’ve personally found that Qlik is not as complex to learn as some of the other systems out there. On a basic level, if you want to produce a dashboard, you can do that very quickly. Of course, you’ve got the power to be as complex as you want with it.”

Qlik NPrinting was selected as a complementary tool, for a more cost-efficient way of producing, tailoring, and sharing reports. Alerts can be set up (for example if certain metrics are met/exceeded) to trigger reports to be automatically shared.

Choosing an Analytics Solution Provider

Northumbria Police chose Cybit as their analytics solution provider because of the following reasons:

  • Only Qlik Elite Partner in the North East
  • Hands-on practical approach to support and down-to-earth attitude
  • Experience with the local community
  • Understanding of Northumbria Police and their challenges
  • Their flexible and adaptable support

Simon explains: “Cybit is very knowledgeable about Qlik. We like their support and hands on practical approach, and they are down to earth. Being demand-led, we find that flexibility and adaptability to be really useful. We’ve pounced on Cybit a few times to request service days and they’ve always been quite amenable to that.”

Choosing an Analytics Solution Provider

Tips for Analytics Project Success

It can be difficult when starting a new project to onboard users who haven’t used the tool before. Simon offers the following tips based on their experience:

  • Play a long game – create a data strategy and vision
  • Demo the solution to anyone who will be using it
  • Get executives involved in the strategy
  • Host an event for supervisors and managers to get top-down approval
  • Assign “Super Users” the more technical people who get excited by data – sometimes not even in IT or analytic roles – to act as ambassadors. Officers can approach Super Users with questions or for help.
  • Work with IT to avoid bottlenecks in resources
  • Set up the data architecture properly for systems to run smoothly
  • While it can be tempting to build complex, exciting dashboards, build dashboards to meet your target audience’s needs
  • Create a dedicated mailbox for users to request dashboards/reports or ask questions
  • Report on your organisation’s analytics tool usage statistics

How Does Northumbria Police Use Qlik Sense?

Qlik dashboards have been created to monitor and analyse:

  • Missing persons’ data to speed up finding people and identifying potential root causes of issues
  • Performance – demand and their capability to respond to that demand

The Business Intelligence Analyst says: “Another thing I really like about Qlik, which is difficult to do in Excel etc., is you can drill in and out of the data as much as you want. If you have a performance issue, you can see which hour it was straight away. Then you can start asking questions like, how were we resourced at that time, and were we set up to deal with that demand? Qlik is really useful for that.”

  • The number of calls made to 999
  • How quickly are calls answered
  • Peaks and troughs in call volumes
  • Online (via their website) communication statistics

In 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, they saw a huge rise in people using digital channels to make contact. At its peak, 1 in 5 contacts were made using digital channels, which they had never seen before.

Benefits of Using Qlik Sense: Deeper Insights & Data Democracy

The benefits that Northumbria Police have found using Qlik Sense are wide ranging – and still expanding today. It has transformed how they analyse their huge amounts of data. Benefits of using Qlik Sense include:

Empowered front-line staff

For customer-facing staff, Qlik Sense offers agile platform that can be taken with staff (e.g. officers) on the go, on any device. Northumbria Police have achieved an empowered workforce with officers and staff who can make data-led decisions more quickly.

“The officers and staff have really embraced it. We can see the usage stats. You can monitor quite closely how people are using Qlik, and it has been engaged with really well, so that’s satisfying to see.”

A shift from admin to analysis

Analysts have shifted from building reports to analysing them to find insights. They gain deeper insight into demands, the community, and their workforce to proactively meet future needs.  With Qlik they have the ability to explore huge datasets and Big Data.

Becoming a data-led organisation

Qlik Sense provides near real-time, intuitive, interactive apps for staff to freely explore information and ask questions of the data. They are enabled to effortlessly get a high-level overview of business insights – or to drill into granular details.

Acting proactively to resourcing demands

Resourcing is much more accurate and effective using data-driven insights, and the organisation can act proactively rather than reactively to demand.

“Qlik helps us to balance our resources and focus on the channel with the greatest demand. Another thing is that data is as near to real-time as we’ve got. That’s another exciting feature that we’re moving into, the ability to react hour to hour, not just day to day.”

Upskilling staff with self-service analytics

The force is on their way to achieving data democracy, with users able to analyse data themselves, removing the bottleneck of resources with analysts or IT. Staff are no longer emailed static reports, as NPrinting allows for a cheaper, automated way of sharing reports

“We’re upskilling our analysts across the organisation. We’re improving the data literacy of our officers. You’ve got to give them support to embrace Qlik, but it’s so easy to use that they’ve picked it up and ran with it straight away.”

Improved data modelling

For behind-the-scenes BI staff and analysts who build the dashboards, data modelling is much faster and easier.

Simon advises that: “I find if I can figure out a data model, you do it once, then it works for you forever. You just make adjustments when new datasets become available. I built my first data model with Cybit’s support in April. Now we’re about to launch our fourth app.”

Watch a demo of their missing people dashboard

Future Plans

Understanding more of the why behind data

There are some plans in place already such as new dashboards to be produced, and to delve more into HR analytics.

“We’ve got a good picture of our demand and our performance against demand. What we want to know next is why. Why was performance poor – did we have a lot of staff training or sickness? We get a well-rounded picture of why things have happened.”

Qlik Data Integration

Northumbria Police are looking to take advantage of the powerful Qlik Data Integration (QDI) stack to extract, transform and warehouse data from historic systems. It also enables data cleanse, track, audit and generate datasets that can be directly imported into their Qlik Sense platform. This will create a fully governed platform from start to finish for their analytics journey.

Being part of a strong analytics community

There are many at Northumbria Police who get involved with analytics – and other forces are moving in the same direction. “We work with and partner with other forces who are also using Qlik, so that’s fantastic, because they’ve been through the same journey we have. We’re able to share knowledge and learn from each other.”

On top of this is the Qlik online community.

Simon concludes: “I thought I’d end by saying Qlik is a great platform; it’s a great piece of technology. But the community that underpins it shares ideas and problem solves together – that’s really what sells it for me and appeals to me.”

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