What is most valuable?
As a BI professional sometimes you have to tackle projects with poor or no documentation at all, just the datasources and some vague requirements. In QlikView it is quite easy build up a first data model (dimensional or not) and use the first stage to understand the entities and relations between it and the business. From there you can explore the business, understand the users real requirements and needs and improve the model with a few changes, without much effort. This is because Qlikview has a very flexible and short cycle of development in each iteration.
For the user QlikView is a wonderful tool of data discovery, providing powerful tools to navigate easily between a sea of data in an intuitive, easy, and clear way, allowing them to go from facts to KPI and vice versa.
How has it helped my organization?
Qlikview can be used both as an advanced reporting tool as well as an BI KPI tool, becoming the base for continuous process improvements. In general the benefits of the tool become clear at the early development stage when the user is challenged to input clearly his ideas, problems and needs and that will affect the process in which he participates. Typically in a second iteration the key user will ask for a new release more oriented to advanced KPIs rather than just reports. This is a direct consequence of the process making things clearer and evolving. So the main value supplied by Qlikview is to reduce uncertainty, make the participants question, discover, interact with each other, and eventually improve the process. Properly used should function as an improvement catalyst for the processes involved.
What needs improvement?
It is well know that the ETL is quite far away from leading products like Data Stagem Informatica and others. Currently Qliktech is working on this problem with Expressor, a powerful graphic dataflow tool. Another area is the licensing scheme, which leaves out many SMO. To remedy this and try to stop the eruption of third parties (e.g: Tableau), QlikTech launched Qlik Sense, although the future is unclear and there may be a possible merge of the two branches (Qlik Sense + QlikView). Finally QlikTech, since release 10/11, leaves the development of new graphic charts to the community with mixed results.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have using it for the last five years, since 2010 at least.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
The deployment of the dashbords, in the simplest scenario, is so easy you just drop a unique file (qvw extension) in the published folder and the solution appears into the main web page that works like an index of all solutions: the access point.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The product has great stability although in some circumstances, especially if it is low in resources or the reload process encounters some kind of dead lock while extracting the data from the DB, it could/will result in the shutdown of the service. The good news is the automatic behavior: I never saw corrupted data or unstable behavior, just restart the service / reload and all works well again.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
The product is designed to scale both horizontally and vertically. Some organizatations which have servers and dashboards that handle until 30 Tb of data have had some issues that finally have been addressed by the support service of QlikTech.
How are customer service and technical support?
The customer service is provided by the local reseller and is fine. We have mainly used it to get the new releases and some support during the installation. Technical Support
The technical support in my country is provided by the master reseller and it looks good even when they have to pass the case to Qliktech to figure-out the problem and find a solution. In this last case it can be somewhat delayed because these cases needed to reach the top levels of the service.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I have used (and still use) Microsoft BI: SSISm SSAS and SSRS. The productivity level of QlikView is quite superior, whilst Microsoft licensing scheme is really better, specially when there are large number of users and a lot of SQL licences deployed making it (MS) much cheaper.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was absolutely seamless and the only requirement for a successful deploy is a little training to the users, not only about how to use QlikView, but what can be done with QlikView, giving them the initial spark.
What about the implementation team?
In general the vendors which I have worked with were very well qualified, although not very inclined to share information easily.
What was our ROI?
This question is hard to answer because except for a few cases its impossible to measure how the project (not the tool) improves the results of the organization. Such measures are available at the organizational level, but it is difficult to quantify the proportion of the contribution from one tool to a whole process.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The start cost is around of US $25.000 and the annual royalties are around 20% that includes customer and technical support and upgrades.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I have evaluated Tableau and Microstrategy. The first one is too basic (wonderful if you are a final user). The second one: extremely complex, just for very large organizations and large IT teams.
What other advice do I have?
Think seriously about the possible population of users, how it will grow-up, and check the licensing cost and its limitations.