Vanilla Go Glamping

Last weekend we all headed out with our families to Bedale in Yorkshire for the annual Vanilla Summer Party, glamping at the Camp Hill Estate.

Incredibly for the UK, we had perfect weather all weekend! We arrived on location for a buffet lunch and then proceeded straight into activities. Separated into 3 teams we participated in some family friendly fun such as the Quadbike Olympics (which found Andy Bell and Holly Lewin in their element), Foot Golf and exploring The Woodland Kingdom. As we tend to work on-site with our customers across the UK, Europe and the Middle East, we rarely get to meet up to enjoy some down time together, so it was the perfect opportunity to do so with our loved-ones in tow.

After the formal activities, we got to see where we would be sleeping – luxury bell tents, furnished with Moroccan rugs, fairy lights and a fair share of creepy crawlies. We had a central lodge to relax and unwind in and this is where we found the Vanilla goodie bags that included camping essentials and our very own Vanilla hoodies. These proved essential in the early hours when temperatures dropped significantly!

Our children all became firm friends, racing around the estate and enjoying the bouncy castle and the sunshine. Sultan Amin, our Head of Business Development, was a clear favourite with the kids, having organised a rounder’s tournament in the afternoon. In the evening, we all sat down for a hog roast and a few drinks, toasted marshmallows and celebrated the engagement of one of our consultants, Maria Nikolaidou and her fiancé Rory. Congratulations again to you both!

Settling in for the evening, we enjoyed good food, good drinks and good company. The children didn’t slow down but we made a fair few attempts to settle them with ‘story time’ in the lodge. The next morning was a little hazy due to Janine’s rhubarb gin and a series of questionable drinking games organised by Paul Darwin, but we were treated to a lovely full English on the BBQ and a cup of Yorkshire tea before heading home.

Thank you to everyone that attended the day, and to your families who helped to make some treasured memories.
A huge thank you to Rachel our HR Manager and Jason Belcher, Director for organising the whole thing and remembering to think about the little touches, such as the enamel mugs, frisbees & Vanilla-engraved torches, that proved invaluable at 1 am!

We are already looking forward to Summer 2018!!

Day 3 of Qonnections and there’s no slowing down yet!

We’ve crammed in as many sessions as we could and have picked out some of the key messages from today to share with you. We are proud to be a part of this global data revolution.

Corporate Social Responsibility

We had our eyes truly opened to the possibilities of using our skills for good. Jake Porway, Founder of DataKind gave a fantastic session this morning. Jake works with a network of volunteers to use big data to tackle social problems. His organisation connects skilled data professionals, community representatives and other stakeholders to help charities and NGOs benefit from the power of analytics. They are literally saving and improving lives by harnessing the power of Qlik! We were inspired by Jake’s work and plan to volunteer some of Vanilla’s skills to support his amazing initiative.

An example of where DataKind’s work is doing good can be found here, where BI is being used to forecast and plan water demand in California when every drop counts. Click here to read more.

On a lighter note, we were both stunned and amused by The LA Swimmer- 43123 Pools I have not visited and never will. Take a look by clicking here.

United Nations Data Revolution

Qlik and the United Nations have partnered to bring the power of data analytics to humanitarian missions around the world. Problems in one country reverberate in another, Qlik and the UN are working collaboratively across sectors and industries to address how to realise new approaches to finance, investment, trade and technology. Leverage joint resources they are uncovering solutions. We found it exciting to see the vision for not just how data can be leveraged but for how they can make that date available to citizens across the world for their own understanding and to make a global impact, for good.


We attended a fascinating session on the Qlik GeoAnalytics platform which drew an important distinction between merely mapping data and instead, applying calculations and rules to allow critical business decisions to be made using geospatial input.  We would love to work with our customers to provide solutions for their business challenges using this power technology.

Augmented Intelligence

Finally, a glimpse of the future!  A highlight of the day was being given a preview of the prototype Qlik Conversational Bot.  This is really a test-bed for a host of new natural language and augmented intelligence features that Qlik are working on.  Using a text messaging interface, we could see the Bot understand business questions posed in human language and provide amazing answers, updates and analytics.  It was also able to remember the context of its ‘conversations’ and even interact with several users in a multi-way chat.  We were stunned and very slightly afraid!

One more day to go, get in touch for more info!