Qlik Sense – a Business Intelligence tool for everyone

Szymon Serwin | Business Intelligence | 12.04.2021

Qlik Sense – narzędzie Business Intelligence dla każdego

Many implementations of tools in companies start from a bottom-up initiative. It often turns out that one of the employees starts using a tool to facilitate their work, recommends it to a colleague, and so the tool begins to be used more widely in the organization, the natural consequence of which is an official implementation. An example of such a tool is Qlik Sense, a system that facilitates independent data analysis. You do not need any programming knowledge to test them, and you can develop a simple application yourself, using a free account. In the article, I will guide you step by step how to do this.

Hobby: data collection

The example of Michał Rogalski proves that bottom-up initiatives can turn into large-scale projects. Michał is a young data analysis specialist and enthusiast who has created a database on the coronavirus pandemic, based on publicly available sources and available to everyone. Today, everyone, even if they are not as passionate about data as Michał, can conduct an analysis for their own purposes using widely available Business Intelligence tools.

Qlik Sense Cloud – the perfect BI tool?

Nowadays the range of Business Intelligence tools on offer is huge. The most well-known of these tools are:

  • Microsoft Power BI
  • Qlik Sense
  • Qlik View
  • Tableau

Today I would like to focus mainly on the cloud version of Qlik Sense, because it is a good choice if you want to test the tool’s capabilities for your own purposes. I will show you how to easily create an analytical application that can initiate the implementation of Qlik Sense throughout the entire organization. You can try the cloud version of Qlik Sense for free for 30 days. To access the tool, you just need to create an account on the Qlik website:

Qlik Sense za darmo

An advantage of the cloud version is that you can use it on any device – Windows PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone, regardless of whether it’s an Android or iOS device.

The first Business Intelligence application – where to start?

The first step is the hardest to take. And how to take it in the world of data analysis? Once we have access to Qlik Sense in the cloud version, a simple Excel sheet is enough to start with. We will develop an application based on this – don’t worry, no programming knowledge is required here. I will also use publicly available sources to show how to easily build an application that analyzes data on the coronavirus pandemic.

  1. We download Excel with publicly available data:Business Intelligence - Qlik Sense
  2. You do not need to know any programming languages or SQL scripting skills to build your first application. In Qlik Sense, many basic operations can be performed using the “Drag & Drop” option.Przeciągnij i upuść Qlik SenseQlik Sense Drag & DropAfter dragging the Excel sheet with the data, the script will be generated automatically, based on which you can build a data model. Now we just need to create the visualizations that we are interested in. In this case, we will base them on simple aggregation functions that have equivalents in Excel.Based on Excel, our application will contain 2 reports which will analyze the number of cases and tests. We will build the application based on one scheme, which will include:
    • A panel of the most important filters
    • A line chart for analysis over time
    • A KPI type object with the number of cases
    • A pie chart showing data by location
    • A map with marked-out areas, colored according to the number of cases
  3. We start with the filter panel.In the report editing mode, on the left, select Charts and drag the Filter Panel object onto the report.Qlik Sense, filter panelThen we add the dimensions that interest us (in this case: the year). The search tool for fields previously loaded into the model makes it easier.Filter Panel Qlik SenseWe can change the name displayed on the report by filling in the Title field. For example: YearQlik Sense Filter Panel
  4. We create a bar chart objectWe drag the object in the same way as the filter panel.For the dimension, we select the Year-Month field (automatically generated earlier by the Qlik engine based on the date field in Excel). We add a measure analogically  – we choose the field on which the measure will be based, as in the case of dimensions. In our case, the new cases.  After confirming, we select the aggregate function – in this case, the sum.Bar chart Qlik Sense
  5. Finally, in the Appearance section, we can go to Presentation and select the display type as an area.Area Qlik SenseThe final result will look like this:Qlik Sense
  6. We create a KPI object.
    The KPI object will use a similar measure. We drag it onto the report and add the measure in the same way as we did in the line chart. You can add a label to enhance the look, just as with the filters panel.KPI Qlik Sense
  7. We create a pie chart
    Similarly, we create a pie chart object. In the dimension section, however, we select the location field to present the number of cases in a given location. The final result looks like this:Pie chart Qlik Sense
  8. We create a mapThe map object is the last thing to be created. After dragging the map object, we click the add layer option and select the area layer. We choose location again as the source dimension.  This is when we can take care of the colors of our visualization. To color the areas, go to the colors option. We choose custom settings and the option “According to measures”. As a measure, we enter the sum of new cases known to us.Location Qlik Sense
  9. Below, we choose Divergent Gradient as the Color Scheme and check the Invert Colors option.Visualisaton Qlik Sense

The final result is as follows:

Mapa Qlik Sense

And the report looks like this:

Raport Qlik Sense

Due to the fact that subsequent reports will be created according to the same scheme, we can copy the entire report and replace the measures with those that analyze daily test increments (new_tests) in subsequent copies. To copy a given report, just go to Application Overview, select the report, right-click on it and select Duplicate.

Qlik Sense

This way you have just developed your first data analysis application without coding.

After replacing the measures with those calculating the number of tests, the report looks like this:

Qlik Sense testy

Implementation of Qlik Sense in the organization

At the beginning I mentioned implementations in organizations inspired by bottom-up initiatives. Let’s imagine that you have tested the tool’s capabilities, and data analysis painted such a picture that you have managed to reach the CEO and convince him to implement the Business Intelligence system at your company.

What now?

In the case of commercial implementations, it is worth having the support of a technology partner. All you need to do is reach out to a company with Business Intelligence implementations in their portfolio. At JCommerce, we implement both Qlik Sense and the aforementioned Microsoft Power BI solutions. As part of the project, Business Intelligence specialists will:

  • collect requirements,
  • configure the server,
  • prepare data that will feed the applications,
  • build a package of basic analyzes that users can freely modify and extend later on in self-service mode,
  • take care of support and maintenance of the environment and develop the tool if necessary,
  • conduct training for users and assist them.

Summary

Low-code, no code solutions and Data Democracy are becoming increasingly important. As you can see, thanks to their combined forces, creating your own analyses based on simple data is a piece of cake, and the results may surprise you. Even larger and more complex data sets can be analyzed in a similar way, provided that they are properly prepared during the initial implementation. As a result, business users who are unfamiliar with complicated programming languages can create their own reports using the “Drag and Drop” option and taking advantage of simple aggregation functions. If you are interested in this subject, please contact us to discuss how your company can take advantage of the possibilities created by analytical tools.

The author of the post is:

Specjalista Business IntelligenceBusiness Intelligence Specialist

An enthusiast of QlikView and Qlik Sense solutions and a Business Intelligence consultant at JCommerce. A graduate of the Jagiellonian University and the University of Economics in Krakow. A fan of music in every form.

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