Generating reports on daily transactions is easy if your business is still in the startup phase. Noticing important market trends is also easy, granted you still operate on a micro-level. Once the influx of demand goes up in your company, you are likely to find difficulties in the immediate generation of information useful to your firm.
Are you wondering how business titans are able to yield meaningful interpretations from large volumes of data? Aside from their competent team of analysts, they also use business intelligence (BI) software. BI aims to make data interpretation easier, despite its cluttered sources. These types of software even provide historical and predictive outcomes of your business operations. Business intelligence platforms do not just present data over an interactive graph, they also interpret results from it.
Business intelligence works by making analyses of external data related to the firm (such as sales) and internal data (invoices processed per hour, customer satisfaction survey results etc.). These are then combined, allowing the program to provide vital insights about companies. In case you are a budding businessman, there will come a time when your firm will be large enough for business intelligence software. QlikView gives you this solution via a simple download in your computer.
QlikView – the Background
QlikView is the flagship business intelligence software of the US data analytics firm Qlik. QlikView started as a personal desktop tool that was originally sold in Sweden. At first, the program was called ‘Quik’, an acronym that stood for ‘Quality, Understanding, Interaction and Knowledge’.
The business intelligence area became the company’s main focus in the early 2000s. The server-based web tool replaced its long-time single-user desktop tool in 2005. Qlik also established partnership with Intel and HP to incorporate colored graphs in QlikView-generated reports. Through the years, it rose to prominence and is now credited with making the in-memory database system popular.
Currently, QlikView is used by about 36,000 consumers in more than 100 countries. It received acclaim for actually improving business operations and efficient reporting, as well as helping in the discovery of new opportunities in their business. Some of its clients are Ericsson, Swedish Post and some Cambridge University hospitals. In June 2016, Qlik was sold to Thoma Bravo LLC for $3 billion or so. The company joined with other business intelligence firms, which were also purchased by private equity companies.
QlikView works in both 32-bit and 64-bit personal computers. This business intelligence software requires your PC to have at least an Intel Core Duo processor for optimal performance. Below are the other requirements needed for QlikView to work properly:
|Feature||32-bit (x86)||64-bit (x64)|
|Memory||1 GB minimum, but may be more depending on the data volume being processed||4 GB minimum, but may be more depending on the data volume being processed|
|Disk space||Requires 450 MB to install||Requires 450 MB to install|
|Processor||Intel Core Duo compatible, but higher processors are recommended||At least multi-core x64 compatible processors|
|Operating System||Windows 74|
Windows Server 2003
Windows Server 2008
|Windows XP Professional x64 SP24
Windows Vista x644
Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition
Windows Server 2008 x64 Edition
Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows Server 2012
Despite the relatively taxing specifications needed to operate this software, QlikView runs in almost every browser. A corresponding mobile app is also available. However, you may only use its management console with Internet Explorer and Firefox.
A Beginner’s Guide
Analysts laud QlikView for its simplicity of use and for providing just what the customers want. It assimilates data from different sources and presents them so that even rookies can understand. So, previous knowledge about other business intelligence software is not required. Installation success rate is also very high, at 98%, according to International Data Corporation (IDC).
After installing the software, click the Qlik icon in the QlikView group. You can also go to the Start Menu, then look for it in Programs. To open a document, choose Open from the File menu. You can choose Tutorial.qvw under Tutorial/WorkingWithQV to open your first QlikView document. The QlikView icons and the menu layout are very much alike those of Microsoft Word. The menu tab also contains several ribbons and tabs, which are aptly named for their use. The topmost portion of the screen has the menu bar, and a toolbar is located under it. Below the toolbar are tabs which allow you to process raw data. Lastly, these tabs are attached to sheets.
These sheets contain buttons that execute certain commands. Sheet objects are tools you can use to get a better view of your business data. The most basic one is called a List Box. It represents a column field of database and contains several field values. Other sheet objects are statistics boxes, charts, multi boxes and table. In case you do not have any idea about the other functions of these buttons and sheets, you may refer to the Help section. If your concern lies on the field values, just select them. QlikView then presents data related to that respective field value. The highlight color turns green whenever you select an item. Undoing the selection simply prompts you to click the field value again, or to select another item. You may also highlight, move and combine multiple highlights.
Saving a file or creating changes in a QlikView document is also similar to Microsoft Word. You can go to File, then click Save. Choose Save As to save the original document while creating a new one which reflects the changes you made.
Opening QlikView Sheets
As mentioned earlier, every QlikView Tab contains sheets, so you can put various sheet objects on every sheet. Just be reminded that changes will reflect on all sheets when your tab contains multiple sheets. For example, a certain person who is in charge of nursing operations will not be found in the other sheet if you are looking for tasks related to financing and the persons who accomplished those. It filters information that aren’t relevant with your previous selections.
Adding a Sheet is also enabled. Select Add Sheet from the Layout Menu and an empty sheet appears. You must fix the setup in Sheet Properties dialogue first, to forge logical relationship with other sheets. Change the name of the Sheet and fill up the necessary Field Boxes. Several options are available in fields, which appear as list boxes in your sheet. You may move the sheet position, but the convenience of Microsoft Excel’s drag and drop isn’t present here. Click the right mouse button and a floating menu appears. For there, select Promote Tab. Select Clear Selections once you are done moving your sheets.
Sheet Objects are added depending on your need. The following sheet objects are available for use in QlikView:
- Bookmark objects
- Charts (including pivot tables and straight tables)
- Current Selections boxes
- Custom Objects
- Input boxes
- Line/Arrow objects
- List boxes
- Multi boxes
- Slider objects
- Statistics boxes
- Table boxes
- Text objects
The two most used sheet objects above are List Boxes and Statistics Boxes. All of these can be used for making selections and viewing results in the data. The List Box is the most basic object in a QlikView document. It has the list of all possible values, given a specific field. For example, all the undergraduate degrees are located in the field name College.
You can add, change, move and remove List Boxes, but make sure that the one you are manipulating and the source of additional boxes are active. Adding boxes can be done by selecting Fields in the Layout menu. If you want to copy an existing List Box, press the CTRL key on the active sheet. Then press the mouse button and drag it to the contents. Remember to press the button all the way. When the cursor turns into a round arrow, it means you have copied the List Box in full. Copying from a current sheet is also possible. Lastly, shortcuts CTRL + C (copy) and CTRL + V (paste) of Windows also work in QlikView. Moving List Boxes is also done in the same fashion as mentioned above, without pressing the CTRL button. If you want to remove a box, press right click and a floating menu appears. Then select Delete.
On the other hand, Statistical boxes show individual numeric data, which are not interesting in itself, but create a more meaningful data when collated. Different statistical tools are also located in the box. Some functions include mean, median, mode, etc. Of course, the data are related to the corresponding List Box you have in the list. For example, the item Sales has statistical data pertaining to dollars.
Creating a Statistics Box can be done after you generated a List Box. Right click on your mouse and a floating menu appears. Then you can select Create Statistics box. Just make sure the sheet you need to have one is active. You may adjust a Statistics Box’s size, if you want to see all the numbers properly. On the General Page, you choose the statistical tools you wish to use in your data. Selections are made by choosing non-calculated functions (e.g. Mean, Median, Mode). Press Clear Selections if you want to make new selections.
A variety of charts can also be generated using QlikView. Charts are created once List Boxes are generated. You may refer to their Tutorial Guide for a complete guide for the remaining sheet objects.
Analyst and User Reviews
An overwhelming majority of QlikView users find the software really easy to use. Its data assimilating features are also deemed to be fast, while providing in-depth solutions for complex problems. QlikView’s unique point is based on an in-memory database system, that results in faster data response. It has patented technology which ensures that users will be able to generate reports only minutes after installation. This software can refresh data in real time, as opposed to your traditional disk based storage. You do not have to process the data from other third-party applications to make them readable for QlikView. Utilization of data manipulation tools is above average, thanks to the interactive analytics for segmented business data.
With the rise of powerful RAMs, QlikView’s status also elevated, and today it is one of the global leaders in business intelligence. Hospitals use this software primarily to detect inefficiencies, from management to operations, through generated charts from management data. An investment of about $1 million made by a firm with large scale operations may result in savings (or sales increase) of as much as $40 million, thanks to the insights provided by QlikView. Analysts and users alike praise its customer loyalty. There is an active online community dedicated for user queries. Currently, it uses Microsoft Active Directory and NTLM to ensure security of your data. You may also select third-party applications in this case.
QlikView did not escape criticisms, though. Its slow changing nature allows its competitors to catch up and, through time, it might lose its competitive advantage. But Qlik compensated this shortcoming with upgrades and integrations of other useful features. Also, in its layout similar to that of Microsoft Word, critics have noted the presence of too many tabs and 3D graphs that may not have any real business value. Report generation is indeed fast, but formatting the visuals is time consuming and outdated. It lacks the drag and drop features of other BI software, like Tableau. The same can be said about imposing security for your data. It has to be established per document, because no centralized data-level security has been generated so far.
Qlik is kind enough in sharing the QlikView experience for prospective customers through its free personal version. Other than that, a small business edition server costs $8,675 and it can accommodate up to 25 users at a time. An Enterprise Edition costs $36,150. The prices are leaning towards the expensive, at least according to a third of clients surveyed when asked about it. Nonetheless, they are still 50% lower than other business intelligence software used by large companies. Qlik has also devised several other flexible plans, to accommodate the budget of entrepreneurs and companies. These are not disclosed online, but you may arrange this by sending a message to their sales associate.
QlikView is a powerful business intelligence software that capitalizes ease of use and complex reporting. The price sits among the very affordable for large firms, but a tad pricey for small and medium business. Nonetheless, it serves as an accessible alternative for (sometimes) exorbitant consultancy fees. Perhaps its sale will prompt the company to change its menu-layouts to more dated ones. It has to address evolving business needs, or face the risk of being left behind. However, it still brings satisfied consumers, and they deem QlikView as one of the best business intelligence software on the market right now.
Have you tried using a business intelligence software? Voice your thoughts in the comment box!