2018 - The Year of Qlik Sense
We have been delivering QlikView solutions since 2007 and Qlik Sense solutions since 2016, so until recently I have regarded Qlik Sense as the “cutting edge” solution, where you gain some great new features at the expense of some of the richer, more complete features of QlikView. However, as 2018 comes to a close, I can now say that I would recommend Qlik Sense over QlikView in almost any scenario, the features introduced in the 2018 releases have pushed Qlik Sense ahead of QlikView, and any other BI product I’ve tried. These are some of the things that really made an impact for us this year in delivering practical, usable solutions to our clients.
- Improved Self-service. Users having the ability to build their own dashboards has been part of Qlik Sense since the beginning, but 2018 was the year I really saw a big uptake in users at our clients creating and sharing their own content. After some basic training on creating charts and expression syntax more users than I would have expected dived in and duplicated existing sheets, creating their own custom dashboards and reports for their departments. This became even simpler from the June 2018 release onwards, with chart suggestions, the Insight Advisor and the ability to manage and publish apps from the Hub.
- Maps. The map object in Qlik Sense was transformed in 2018 from the original simple map allowing the display of point and area data to a multi-layered, genuinely useful geo-analytical object. Qlik added line, heatmap and chart layers and we used these to provide visual analytics of customer and supplier delivery lead times, warehouse stock levels and movements and sales vehicle routings.
- Cloud. After using QlikCloud as a playground in 2017, we delivered our first live Cloud solutions in 2018. We also used Cloud as a demo platform for client proof of concept apps. We learned the hard way that Qlik’s cloud offering was not without its teething problems, such as disappearing apps and connection issues, but it improved over the year and is an excellent low budget alternative to on-premise Qlik Sense Enterprise for small clients.
- Extensions. We have used extensions since the introduction of Qlik Sense, but 2018 was when we starting developing extensions, creating our own custom objects to meet specific client requirements that wouldn’t have been possible in QlikView. This is a big focus area for 2019, we’ll be looking at creating custom visualisations with extensions and the picasso.js charting library.
The Style Card extension we created for an online fashion retailer saves them several hours a week that was spent compiling a sales report with images.
- Master Items. One of the top picks in the office for most useful Qlik Sense feature was the ability to search through master items to easily find the dimension or measure you want to add to a chart. The ability to tag master items for searching is very useful and makes it easy for developers and power users to easily select from a set of predefined, governed dimensions and measures when building charts.
- ODAG. After attending the sessions on on-demand app generation at Qonnections in April, our team at our biggest retail client got stuck into developing apps that allowed on the fly analysis of their massive transactional data set.
- And lastly, the little things… Each release of Qlik Sense this year brought new features that closed the gap between QlikView and Qlik Sense; show/hide conditions on table and pivot table columns, default selections, alternate states, a front end variable object, containers, themes. All of these helped us build richer analytic apps, especially for non self-service users with the new Analyzer licence type, introduced in April.
2018 was, for us, the year Qlik Sense came of age as a full featured, enterprise ready BI tool that is as great to use for business users as it is for developers.