Our Mercy Ships family is made up of people of many different talents and backgrounds. Johnathan Stone has been a part of our family since 2018 as a Data Engineer in the Mercy Ships IS department. He shares his view on the importance that partnerships have in fulfilling our mission of bringing hope and healing to the forgotten poor.

I began my career in business intelligence by working with QlikView in a large manufacturing organization. The platform combined pixel-perfect design and the use of smart actions to deliver detailed customization in executive dashboards.

When I joined Mercy Ships, they had already transitioned to Qlik Sense. I enjoyed learning how to leverage the responsive design elements, but I sorely missed some of the features that hadn’t yet made it to Qlik Sense. Qlik has been steadily increasing feature parity, but I still felt limited at times in my ability to customize visualizations to the extent certain use cases required.

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Enter VizLib, stage left! With its excellent date pickers, insanely customizable visualizations, and integration of advanced show conditions and smart actions, the borders of my world expanded once again. VizLib worked with us directly by suggesting visualizations and configurations for some of the problems we were trying to solve. We were able to immediately begin integrating the new VizLib functionality into an HR executive dashboard focused on the Mercy Ships volunteer experience.

We plan to use VizLib’s KPI designer to satisfy the stringent requirements of our executive dashboards. VizLib Buttons, with the programmable actions, will allow us to deliver a guided analytics experience to empower our employees to get the most out of their data without needing to be experts in how each data model is designed. The vast array of options in the VizLib Line Chart will allow us to present year-over-year visualizations of organizational key performance indicators intuitively and appealingly. These innovations will empower data-driven decisions to help us maximize our impact in the countries we serve in sub-Saharan Africa.

While VizLib has been enriching our design potential, Differentia Consulting is helping us to evolve our BI architecture and DevOps processes. They are helping us create dedicated environments for development, testing, and production operations. This initiative will streamline our ability to develop and maintain our Qlik applications while ensuring world-class service quality.

Differentia is also helping us incorporate version control into our Qlik service. This will give us the ability to monitor and manage changes in our continually evolving codebase. They are also advising us on ways we can simplify our data pipelines by reusing code. As Mercy Ships continues to grow, these improvements will help us scale up and continue to meet the analytics and reporting needs of our international operation.

There is a Nguni Bantu term, “ubuntu,” which can be translated as, “I am because we are.” Mercy Ships can only serve the poorest of the poor in sub-Saharan Africa through essential partnerships. We rely on our generous donors, our talented volunteers, and our corporate partners to carry out our mission. Our partnerships with Qlik, Differentia, and VizLib have enabled us to use state-of-the-art analytics to help the people who need it the most. We are honored to stand together with them as we seek to provide the highest-quality medical care, free of cost, to our patients!