QlikView Review

Continues changing, adding more features, improving performance, opening new possibilities

QlikView was born in 1994 in Lund, Sweden. While it was quickly spreading in Europe, it was virtually unknown in the US for many years. In 2000, there were few companies that used this BI tool. (I was lucky to work in one of these companies and learn QlikView in early 2000.) The situation is quite different now. Certainly the product has changed a lot, but the most important features that are responsible for its success remain the same.

First of all, the exceptional ease of use. User doesn’t need to learn anything “BI-specific” or any particular technology. If you know how to click – you can use QlikView applications. Well, maybe 15-minute presentation is needed to explain what this particular application is about and how to use it.

Second, there is no steep learning curve for the developers. After initial training (two or three days), you can create QlikView applications. Not the advanced ones yet, but quite reasonable and useful. The only technical knowledge I consider a pre-requisite is SQL, and you don’t need to be on an advanced level, basic “SELECT … FROM …” is good enough to start from. Even if you don’t know any SQL, you still will be able to develop QlikView applications using wizards that will create simple SQL queries for you. Developer certainly must understand the business needs, and know where to get the data which support business requirements.

Another important advantage of QlikView – it is “in-memory analytics” tool, I believe the first of this kind. All data is in memory rather than on the disk or other storage, and this allows get the results fast. Certainly it was somewhat a limitation in early years because of the limits of 32-bit architecture and memory price. Now with much cheaper memory and 64-bit systems, the “in-memory” applications can handle larger amounts of data than ever before.

Unlike the most (if not all) other BI tools, QlikView does not require data warehouse. Data can be read directly from the original sources, and all ETL work can be performed within QlikView application itself in the data load script and on the front-end level. If a data warehouse exists already, QlikView can use it as well.

Speaking of data sources, QlikView can load data from the variety of the RDBMS (I used it with Sybase SQL Anywhere, Oracle, MS SQL Server), Excel files and many file types including CSV and XML. There is also a proprietary data type, QVD (for QlikView Data) for temporary storage and retrieval, which is extremely fast. In practice, it is not uncommon for one QlikView application to read data from several heterogeneous data sources – multiple databases, maybe even of different types, from QVDs and flat files.

QlikView continues changing, adding more features, improving performance, opening new possibilities. The important event in the company’s history were moving to the US in 2006, and going public in 2010. I guess it is here to stay and increase its market share.

Disclosure: The company I work for is a Microsoft Partner

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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author avatarit_user1068 (Tech Support Staff at a tech company with 1,001-5,000 employees)

There are various reasons why QlikView continues to shine in the BI tools market. It is easy to use in the sense that users do not require prior skills and knowledge in order to make use of it.

Developers do not have to be geeks in using this tool in order to come up with viable products for their clients or businesses, by using this solution.

Knowledge of basic SQL, access to business information or data and being aware of the needs of a company or business is all that a novice developer requires for him/her to come up with a working product.

Faster access of information is made possible due to the fact that data is kept in memory locations. The various capacities of memory available in the market allows for as much information as possible to be kept while working with QlikView. As a result, this program works with/without warehousing or storage of data.

Moreover, QlikView allows for easy retrieval of data needed from various sources when in use. Generally, great performance, enhanced features and better functionality places this BI tool above many other alternatives, making it a good choice for most businesses.