2016-12-28 15:22:00 UTC

Ad Hoc Reporting: QlikView vs. MainFrame Focus

We are looking to replace our ad hoc reporting capabilities that we currently do with MainFrame Focus (not WebFocus!) with the more modern QlikView product.  

We are creating a Pros and Cons list for QlikView, but I'd also like to hear from anyone who may have gone through with this type of conversion effort.  

We have a small group of focus power-users who would be now using QlikView to create their ad hoc reports.

1919 Answers
Real User

With regards to your question....replacing an your current adhoc reporting capabilities with a more moderne QlikView product... I am not trying to lead you down a different path but do please read what my thoughts are. I have been implementing and integrating planning, reporting and consolidation solutions for over 20 years and in this time I have worked with different tools and solutions and I have discovered that it is always best to be able to meet all your needs with a single solutions provider. I am not a promoter of any single solution provider simply because I strongly believe that the products are second and that the most important thing is to work with the right team, a team that understands your vision and has the capacity to make it happen. I always recommend a complete solution because to think that adhoc reporting is a sufficient and everything else already works fine is to bury your head in the sand. Generally speaking all organisations will have the same needs..... budgeting-planning, flash forecasting, projections future outlook, analysis, recommendations, scorecarding, and lastly, dashboards and reporting...yes of course this should involve a layer of adhoc capabilities but the point is.....if these multiple solutions do not communicate in a seamless manner then you will always find yourself back at square one. Specific solutions offer something attractive..this is true...a lower cost of ownership and generally claim to be quick and fast out of the gate but the truth will creep up on you over a short period of time as you begin to transfer data in and out of different solutions to meet your corporate needs. There is no way you only need data to do adhoc reporting....that ios only one facet of the problem and a real solution needs a global view and a global understanding.

this is only my opinion.

Denis Leclerc

2017-01-03 14:58:47 UTC03 January 17

Keep in mind that the FOCUS language has full application development capabilities as it was intended to be a simpler version of COBOL. That means power users may not just use FOCUS as a report writer, but for sophisticated data processing including online menus/screens, database updates, ETL, system interfaces, batch processing, etc.

For companies using FOCUS for real-time access to mainframe data, they can run into user dissatisfaction after trying to replace it with a reporting tool going against stale data copied from the mainframe. Consider the implications of porting not only the reporting tool but the data from the mainframe platform.

Step one is to understand your current state. Perform an accurate inventory of your FOCUS environment: FOCUS procedures (FOCEXECs), FOCUS metadata (MASTER and ACCESS), batch jobs (PROCs/JCL), and command scripts (REXX/CLists). Get an audit trail of what is actually being used so that you can determine active users and procedure/job obsolescence. Identify duplicates and redundancies so you can consolidate procedures instead of replicating things one-for-one. I have an automated tool for performing assessments if that would be useful.

As you obviously know, the modern version of FOCUS is WebFOCUS. It can also run on the mainframe (MVS or zLinux) or be ported to a mid-range platform (Windows, UNIX, Linux, iSeries, etc.). Even if ported to another platform, it can continue to access your mainframe data if you desire. Both use the same underlying 4GL code, so you can leverage your existing FOCUS investment into WebFOCUS. I have an automated tool for assisting with the port of FOCUS to WebFOCUS.

2017-01-03 14:37:19 UTC03 January 17
Real User

If you ar planning to use QlikView for ad hoc reports I suggests the following recomendations:
Do not use of the ETL capabilities of Qv, just to avoid high dependency on the product.
Beware of the abuse of .qvd files to store big data files, they are not trustworthy at all.
Remember that Qv is a Dashboarding Tool but not a complete reporting tool.
If it´s possible, try to use QlikSense instead of QlikView to avoid excessive consulting.

2017-01-03 13:28:15 UTC03 January 17
Real User

I had the opportunity to do a POC for the current company I've been working for 3 years, and I've found as great results and customer experience the Qlik Sense and Nprinting combination do the right job. I've tested another well ranked free and commercial stacks, and I've found the IT effort is a big con.

My advice is to try to do time for a POC on at least five stacks or vendors taking in mind the users expectative and some technical variables, but give significant weight to the business' ones. It's no time wasted and could help you in your decision. Check the keys and values for your company to get as the first driving decision. I've done the same work here and worth it. The current infrastructure is relevant the current sources of information the IT environment security and must integrations. However, in most cases, the big player's vendors on Gartner quadrant fit in this kind of prerequisites.

Once again as professional experience after work in many stacks I´ve found in the qlik products the right balance, and it´s getting better every year. I´m not a qlik salesman or any link with the qlik product but in my case, the quick time to market (production), the productivity, the technical integration, the extensions and customizations, and the customer experience were the primary focus and everything was fit by Qlik. Any advice or consultancy glad to help you.

2017-01-05 09:56:02 UTC05 January 17
Real User

Qlikview is not as ad-hoc as you may think - it requires quite a bit of set up and potential SQL coding, but once in place, it is very powerful. Our pros were primarily dealing with the power and capability to create an "app" not just a dashboard, but the cons were that out of the box it didn't provide something business users could just start to use. Feel free to ping me if you'd like to discuss further.

2017-01-04 02:54:50 UTC04 January 17
Real User

I had an experiences migrating from Cognos to QlikView. Users had a very good feedback at that moment as they are looking for a tool which provides self-service reporting and they are familiar with Excel. Users feedback is QlikView feels like a very powerful excel and they can play with huge volume of data within a short response time which is not able to do in excel. They can even import their own excel data as data source and no need to check with IT and go through ETL processes.

I have summarized QlikView's strengthen as below.
- Support for both structured and raw data sets
- Ease of use 
- Strong visualization 
- Multiple data sources integration 
- Short implementation time 
- Urgent Ad Hoc Analysis

However, if you are looking for a reporting tool to build pixel perfect report, official document with company logo, schedule report and canned report, it may be challenging to do it by QlikView. Qlik provides another product NPrinting to do it instead. If you are evaluating QlikView, it will be better to also have a look on Qlik Sense which provides modern outlook and easier usage. However, as a a new product compare with QlikView, it seems like QlikView has more functions than Qlik Sense at this moment. But Qlik Sense's version releases are quite frequent.

2017-01-04 02:32:49 UTC04 January 17
ConsultantTOP 5

Can we work with you on Power BI for this?

2017-01-04 01:57:39 UTC04 January 17
Real UserTOP 5

To add to Sajid's response. NPrinting is for Automated reporting or export for file sharing, etc. We use it to make the CSV files that are used with the interface to our web site. Nprinting will automate all the exporting of mashed up files that need to go to the web, vendors, customers, etc. without manual work. You will learn to love Nprinting fast if you use QlikView. It can email CSV's, Spread Sheets, PDFs, HTML inside the email...however you like.

2017-01-03 21:27:23 UTC03 January 17


I Lead the BI & Analytics practice for my Financial Services at Qlik Consulting Services. I was a Qlik customer for over 3 years prior to joining Qlik Consulting Services. Over the last 3.5 years I have migrated multitude of reports from various platforms to QV. Have not migrated Focus yet but have extracted data from Mainframes, DW Appliances, Web, HADOOP, ISAM and VSAM. Migrated Business Objects, Tableau, SSRS, SAP BW, to Qlik. Qlik is an in-memory player utilizes combination of server side RAM and Cache to publish Dashboards. However, it also offers various techniques for blending near real-time data either through Direct Discovery or On Demand App Generation solution. Qlik comes with robust set of connectors to allow you to connect to just about anything data source see link https://help.qlik.com/en-US/connectors/Content/QlikView.htm. Also, the provides full set of data integration and blending capabilities. If you have any specific questions or inquiries you can contact qlik through our website or email me directly at ssk@qlik.com. Also take a look at the Demo site for some of the example Dashboards.

FYI there are 3 key products from Qlik: 1) QlikView for guided Analytics, 2) Qlik Sense for Self Service reporting, and 3) N-Printing for distribution of static reports. Both QlikView and Sense share the same data management engine therefore, all scripts and data files can be shared, however, the visualizations are designed differently, but the expressions embedded w/in the charts can be shared across both products.


2017-01-03 21:04:35 UTC03 January 17

I'd echo what Alejandro has said. It really depends on your requirements. If you're looking for primarily a reporting tool for well defined, prompt driven and/or ad hoc tabular reports with scheduling, distribution, etc..) verses a data visualization/dashboard tool, then Qlikview is not the a great option, nor is Tableau (which is even worse for creating tabular reports IMO). Neither of those two vendors would consider themselves "Reporting" tools.

2017-01-03 21:04:11 UTC03 January 17
Real User

I do not have enough information about Focus, but I can talk a little bit about Qlik. I'll tell you about some pro's and problems, from Qlik. First we are talking about a data base that does not have a model behind, rather it does semantic relations, which makes it outstanding in departmental initiatives, but not so in initiatives that are corporate orientated. The lack of a data model generates certain data quality problems that could be unmanageable. This is my opinion on the situation commented.

2017-01-03 20:58:37 UTC03 January 17
ConsultantTOP 20

very familiar with mainframe focus. I suggest Tableau. Not qlikview. Qlikview requires too much IT involvement.

2017-01-03 14:47:49 UTC03 January 17
Real UserTOP 5

We have used QlikView for 3 years. It is the most flexible reporting tool that I have ever used. Pros: You can connect to virtually anything. Once the connection is in place, create QVD's (clean databases) to work from so you don't have to keep touching the SQL or other Databases/spread sheets directly. It works great because you can create missing fields in the transform based on the rules that you know; then use the data. It's easy. There are tons of videos and documentation online. You can learn it on your own (you just need good math skills). I would highly recommend it. You can download a personal free version and create your own proof of concept before you ever buy. Anything created in the personal version can be used without redeveloping once you purchase. QlikTech will help you with your proof of concept if you really need the help. The Online User Forum is a source for answering any "how to" question.

Caveat - create good naming conventions for your loaders/transforms and Live Production QVW's. Don't try to group multiple areas, create folders for AP, AR, GL, Inventory, Sales, Marketing (put your group security on these to keep controlled access simple).... organize your loaders/transforms the same way.

I have a spread sheet with my calendar definitions in it because we have a Fiscal year on 4-4-5 starting Jan 1, a Model year starting August 1, a Marketing Year starting June 1, Inseason, Off Season designations, and on and on. It is very simple to connect everything to this spread sheet and eliminate all the crazy formulas. I have a column for Week, Month, & Year number, so I can do rolling week or month or year formulas; also This year / Last year stuff. It's so easy.

Cons: Since we use QVD's, I have a refresh scheduler in Publisher (that's what you will really use publisher for) - these are timed as required - you will need to manage this as you add QVD's and QVW's. But it works great.

---You have nothing to loose. Try it for free. Make your proof of concept with the craziest thing you do now in Focus (I used Focus 22 years ago at a company which had a main frame and hated it then.)

2017-01-03 13:55:54 UTC03 January 17
Real User

If you arr planning to use Qlikview I would start with a dashboard of the shelf. A lot of business have similar departments with similar industry specific processes and similar KPI's. I implemented an extensive Retail dashboard in weeks instead of months. Check out the Qlikmarket for suggestions.

2017-01-03 13:47:15 UTC03 January 17
Real User

Do A POC, compare PowerBI, Tableau and Qlikview. Qlikview is beginning to show It's age, but I would sum up the 3 by saying this: Qlikview is the most functional but lacks in appearance, performance and.mobility. PowerBi is the fastest with great mobility support, improving at the fastest rate, but is the least functionality. Tableau is the most popular with a nice mix of all the categories mentioned. I feel that Qlikview is rapidly being left behind by Tableau and PowerBI. I do believe that PowerBI is going to win this market. Microsoft is kicking ass with the new CEO.

2017-01-03 13:44:21 UTC03 January 17
Real User

Hi, I‘m not a QlikView (QV) user.

I know Qlik Sense (QS) and can reflect on my experience evaluating it to Tableau and PowerBI.

QS includes many of QV best qualities such as data loading and set analysis and has modern user interface. The QS core is very powerful go printing is a drawback. Tableau has great user interface but needs well structured data sources. PowerBI has most compleate vision. I selected QS 18 months ago when PowerBI not mature at all and I opt for QS due to better data load and more powerful kernel.

2017-01-03 13:44:14 UTC03 January 17
Real User

Qlikview is very good for Dashboards,Trends Analysis Charts ,Graphs and Tabular reports .Data needs to highly aggregated and summarized. When it comes to highly formatted and detailed reports, reporting tools such as Crystal reports ,Microsoft SSRS and Jasper reports are appropriate .

2017-01-03 13:41:29 UTC03 January 17

Did you look at WebFocus ad hoc and visualization tools? They are quite modern from what I have seen and have the focus language hidden under the covers so it may be a good fit for your power users. Though I show up here as a vendor, I don't work for IBI.

2017-01-03 13:34:47 UTC03 January 17

my company has done 1000+ Qlik projects and I am doing with qlik for 9.5 years.. Please write me with details at sudhir@iconresources.com or call me at +91-9312667720

2017-01-03 13:26:48 UTC03 January 17
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