Qlikview

QlikView Review
The fact that QlikView provides its own QVD structure, removes all dependency on having a DBMS in place before implementing.


Valuable Features:

The ability to provide drill down functionality quickly and easily into large data sets. Anyone working with a large amount of data in Microsoft Excel and then waiting ages for it to subtotal all that information, will certainly appreciate the speed and efficiency with which QlikView handles data. Users can get a lot more done, and a lot more data can be analysed in a shorter period of time.

The fact that QlikView provides its own QVD structure, as well, removes all dependency on having a DBMS in place before implementing QlikView – so it is cost effective.

The fact that QlikView can literally plug in to so many different types of data sources, as well, is a definite benefit.

The facility to auto-reload at scheduled times is great too!

Improvements to My Organization:

My company was recently bought out by a competitor, now forming one group. The organisations are on different versions of a particular ERP solution, and the need immediately arose, from a regional and management executive level, for a dashboard to measure the sales performance of the group as a whole. Using QlikView, we managed to pull information from two different servers - one running off a QVD file structure, the other using a Microsoft SQL Server - and provide a consolidated sales performance model. This allows our executives to be able to examine the performance of their companies from a central point.

Room for Improvement:

Some improvement to the user interface (for the developers). It could certainly use a re-vamp. The existing tab structure can be confusing sometimes and the controls that you would expect to find on one particular tab are actually on another.

I'm referring to the properties of the various charts that you can create within Qlikview – this brings up a dialogue box with a number of different tabs along the top;

In my opinion, for example, the tabs “Visual Cues” and “Style” could be combined into one. “Caption” for another example could be renamed to “Title Bar config” or “Chart Config” or something like that. Some aspects of the “Layout” tab could be added to “Presentation”.

The dialogue box itself isn’t quite wide enough, so if you end up going all the way to the right you have to click on an arrow a couple of times to see the tabs all the way to the left again, and you can’t resize it either – Why???. The box itself should be wide enough to encompass the number of tabs in a single view. Either that, or have a maximise / minimise buttons on it to give the users the choice.

There are no doubt a few others I can point out if I give more though to it, just my feeling of the product is that it can be a little unwieldy, especially to people initially learning the program.

Use of Solution:

The company has had the solution for the last five years, I have been involved for the last two.

Stability Issues:

No issues encountered, the solution is stable, and the users are happy with the solutions provided.

Technical Support:

Customer service and support from QlikView South Africa is first rate. They respond quickly, and are always friendly, professional and very efficient.

Previous Solutions:

QlikView was this company’s first foray into making use of an external business intelligence tool.

Initial Setup:

The setup is fairly simple, but you do have to have a decent level of technical knowledge if you are going to set up a Qlikview Server yourself. Otherwise, I’d suggest the use of a consultant. The client software is very simple to set up.

Implementation Team:

We implemented through a vendor. The advice I would have is to ensure that you attend all necessary QlikView courses (i.e. designer / developer), to get a very clear idea for yourself exactly how QlikView works. Sometimes sales consultants will over-sell you on the bells and whistles of a product, and when you actually want to make use of it in a particular way, you might not be able to. This has not been the case during our QlikView implementation, but I have experienced other implementations that have been like this.

So you do need to be very clear on:

  • What exactly do you want to get out of a business intelligence solution, what data do you want to manipulate and analyse, etc.
  • For your own sanity, be very clear on how QlikView works and that you will get the solutions out of it that you want.

ROI:

One cannot really place a monetary value on the depth of very valuable information that QlikView can help you extract. My advice also would be to be very clear on the licensing model you want to go for. The QlikView licensing model is complicated, so be sure that whoever is selling QlikView to you explains it thoroughly.

Other Advice:

I would suggest having someone in-house doing the development of your models for you, be it dedicated to that role or in addition to another duty. Nobody understands your business quite like you or the people working for you, and that is always advantageous when building solutions for the business. Not to put down external consultants, but doing it this way can save you a bundle into the bargain.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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