Sitrep

Hi

Update from my last post – I am being kept off the streets once more by Assocaited British Sugar – developing in Qlik View and Qlik Sense.  Hopefully soon I can start posting some decent hints and tips for Qlik Sense & Qlik View.

Once quick one though is CHECK OUT VIZLIB…. This thing rocks, supercharing an already kick butt system – the Qlik Sense extension to end all extensions!!!

Vizlib website link

vizlib.png

 

Times they are a chaNgin’

So my course is ready for an alteration once more, with destination unknown right now!

While it’s obviously a scary time it’s also exciting.  No one likes to leave the company and role they love but as some famous bloke once said “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”.

Watch this space…

VFL news re closure

Qlik Nation

So today I was invited to a fun little part of the Qlik world- Qlik Nation

http://qliknation.qlik.com/

Looks to be a fun way to learn more about Qlik / get involved with getting the word out about the product.

You basically earn points and cash them in for Qlik swag!  I’ve not claimed anything yet but will let you know how I get on.

qlik nation swag

 

Example of the challenges – fun a!

qlik nation

 

 

Choosing Qlik Sense

It was summer last year when the company I worked for decided they would invest in a BI tool so off we trekked to look for our suitor.

The starting point was the Garter Magic Quadrant. This helped us shortlist the options and therefore focus our feasibility study.

Qlik Sense Gartner Magic Quadrant link

Our shortlist:

  1. Power BI
  2. Tableau
  3. Qlik

The decision boiled down to;

  • Cost
  • Online community / support
  • A well established, stable, local provider and development partner

Whilst cost is always balanced with benefits the conclusion we came involved;

  1. Power BI was too new and had a smaller comparative online community. Local partners were generalists. It also seemed more focused on cloud ERP infrastructure, which in a world of data security went against our IT security strategy. The query builder is relatively simple to use and the visuals are easy to get to grips with.
  2. Tableau was a close second. It has a good GUI & scripting facility and the visuals are by far the best on the market.
  3. Qlik had a relatively new product in Qlik Sense, albeit backward supported via a vast history of technical online support & community.  For the uber geeks amongst us the scripting side of things seemed pretty unrestrictive and hence more appealing.

Our choice then..

Googling presented a number of local companies that dealt with Qlik Sense. We selected a few specialists, did credit checks to make sure they checked out financially and arranged visits to their offices.

We chose QlikIT of Rotherham. It was a great choice. They have been great development partners and I would wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone – QlikIT website

After a few detailed demos we were even more convinced that we could quickly implement a solution that would add value to our data. We would not need to make changes to our current systems and could pretty much grab data from all of our warehouses of data and keep it all on premises.

Qlik Sense is swift due to the database being held in server memory, which allowed for users to dive all over the place to quickly discover insights. You can develop it with a light touch approach via the GUI or geek out on what so far seems pretty unlimited scripting functionality.

Don’t get me wrong the visuals are still under development and seem a few years behind the latest web graphics but they do the job nicely. Could just do with tarting up a bit and adding some extra functionality. Qlik are very active with developments and release regular updates that always provide a leap in functionality rather than unnoticeable patches. There are also a decent number of free extensions (think apps / add ons) to enhance it.

The beginning…

So today I start my blog….

With limited knowledge of the blogging world and as a lad from Hull some may say a limited knowledge of the English language, I thought I’d give it a go.

I hope to share my experiences and knowledge along with useful links on the subject of ‘playing with data’, using my favourite weapons of choice, Qlik Sense, Excel functions / VBA, ODBC / ADO, SQL, and possibly even a bit of MS access.

To add context… Whilst training as a practice accountant back in the 90’s I noticed most colleagues used their computers for no more than desktop publishing and those lucky enough to have use of a laptop, no more than large paper weights. I however was intrigued to see how this tool could make my job easier.

I qualified as an accountant back in 2001 and so for the past 25 years or so have been swimming in data.

My personal history is;

– an early age user of computers, from back in the early 80’s with my Commodore 64! Graduating to a keen hobbyist and geek youth gamer / bulletin board enthusiast on the Amiga.

– As I completed my A Levels at school I moved onto learning how to use MS DOS, mainly to hide games from the teachers. Side by side with this I discovered new tools such as Lotus 1-2-3 and Excel. Yet to realise my future exciting venture into a world of finance I strangely studied the FTSE 100, specifically water company prices to look for trends, compared to other correlating factors. At the time this took the form of a pen and pad, a trip to the local library and many many hours glued to a microfiche machine collecting the data. Inputting the data into my very basic database I quickly learned the timely, costly and painful lesson of crap in = crap out. My first personal data revelation…

It makes no difference what tools we use. It can be a pen and pad, or the best systems money can buy. If we have no mechanism for stewardship of new data and no feedback loop to cleanse poor data, the outputs can be complete rubbish in some cases and in some cases dangerously misleading.

Standardisation, common sense / usable naming conventions or codes and good housekeeping are paramount. Consistency is king.

Qlik Sense & Excel Help Site