I’ve been working with QlikView for over five years now and since it’s launch a couple of years ago I’ve had some opportunity to learn Qlik Sense but very little opportunity to create a dashboard for customers. Until recently!
Before Sense moved to version 2 I was sceptical about the usability of the product, certain functions and capabilities just didn’t seem to be there. Apart from looking nice QlikView still was the only tool that had the grunt for a large scale. As a developer the way the product was positioned also left me a bit hurt and angry, after all I’ve got bills to pay and Qlik seemed to be selling the product on the fact you didn’t need to employ a skilled developer in order to create dashboards. Thinking about it they also said about QlikView a dashboard could be created in a day which we know isn’t strictly true…..
Truth is Sense needs skilled developers! Ok, you could have a simple excel workbook which you can import using a wizard and quickly create charts, that’s usually the sales demo although if you think about it you could pretty much do that in QlikView. It is simpler in sense that’s for sure but nothing a 15 min training video couldn’t sort out.
Sense like QlikView is all about the data structure. For me it’s the 80/20 rule that can be applied to most things in life. Developers spend 80% of their time creating the right data structure and once that’s in place then the front end visualisations are quick and easy to create.
Developing on sense I first create the script in QlikView and then cut and paste it over to Sense. QlikView does still seem to be better at quickly checking data and structure ideas. For example I may load a table into QlikView identify what I believe is the ID that links the data to other tables but need to check if it’s unique. My normal approach is to create a listbox, show frequency and sort by frequency. Searching the script using Ctrl+F didn’t work either in Sense.
With a little more experience though you can do both things in Sense, you can check a field for uniqueness in the Data Model Viewer and in the Data Load Editor there’s a Search Icon you can click. There are still things that you can’t do although I have to remember its a different tool. Just like in development you may use excel to create an inline load script or notepad as a temporary holding space for code that needs pasting elsewhere it will become another tool in the developers arsenal.
So what can I take from this. Sense is great and it’s just because I’m a bit old a stuck in my ways I like to find flaws. This is I like to find things I can do easily in QlikView but can’t (or won’t) find out how to do in Sense.
From my initial reservations I’m now actively seeking out Sense projects to work on. Luckily my role currently means I work with many projects for many customers and all new customers now are buying Sense. Speaking with the sales team they expect the majority of new sales now to be Qlik Sense!
More then a year ago that may have been a worrying thought, now its exciting! I’ve now created several proofs of concepts (POC) and complete dashboards. This should only increase with QlikView becoming less and less the main tool for dashboarding.
Sense allows you to focus more on what’s important, getting the data onto the screen in visualisation and not having to spend time making sure its correctly scaled or having to create a dashboard “look / feel” with templates or excessive branding, which if you ever read my Flat Design series for QlikView you’ll know is an art in itself.
For those of you who haven’t taking the Sense plunge yet I would encourage you all to do so, it really is a great tool and will be widely adopted by companies of all sizes in the coming years!