After a substantial redesign and content migration effort, last week we re-launched our QlikCommunity site on a technology platform from Jive Software. This is very exciting because it radically improves the way our community members engage with each other and QlikTech employees.



The new QlikCommunity platform

For perspective on the highlights of the new QlikCommunity platform, I spoke with Jason Long (community manager) and Peter Simonsen (executive director of web and community). They shared their tips for getting the most out of participating in QlikCommunity:

  • Start out in the “Community Corner” and “New to QlikView” areas. Community Corner is the place to learn about how to use the site, get info on the features and functionality, and ask questions or make suggestions about the site. We recommend new community members start out by spending 5 or 10 minutes here. And if you’re new to the QlikView Business Discovery platform, there’s a section just for you. In the “New to QlikView” area you’ll find tips and instructions for building your first QlikView app as well as an FAQ for QlikView Desktop / Personal Edition.
  • Get social. Use QlikCommunity to build up your network of people who have expertise with or passion for QlikView. Communicate with people everywhere; with the click of a button you can translate any page on the community into any of 44 languages. You can add members as “friends” and easily follow their activities in the community. If you fill out your profile, others can find and connect with you. If you permit, others can download a vcard containing this information, including your email address. And using a “share” link you can easily share any page on the community via email or social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Check out sub-communities focused on specific topic areas. Technical sub-communities include development (QlikView Desktop), deployment and management (Server / Publisher / Ajax / Internet Explore / web parts), connectivity and data sources, integration and extensions, and mobile. We also have sub-communities for QlikView Labs and QlikView-related jobs. Each sub-community has functionality like discussion threads, a “top participants” leaderboard, a shared document space, and tag cloud. 
  • Stay tuned for collaborative ideation. Soon we plan to give members of the community the option to submit, vote on, and comment on ideas about QlikView. Positive votes will rise to the top of the list and serve as valuable input to QlikTech about our product.


I asked Jason Long and Peter Simonsen to tell me their number one recommendations to new community members. Jason said, “It would be this: you get out of it what you put into it. The more you participate―ask questions and answer questions, and share content―you more value you receive. Don't be afraid to ask a question or to offer an answer to someone else's question. If you have knowledge, share it. If you need knowledge, ask for it.” Peter added, “Even if you don't have a question: it's a great place to get inspiration. It can open your eyes to uses of QlikView beyond what you are already doing.”


If you’re not already a member, click here to join QlikCommunity.

The 2010 book Empowered by Forrester Research analysts Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler is about employees who are “HEROes”―Highly Empowered Resourceful Operatives. HEROes use accessible, do-it-yourself technologies to solve problems, connect with customers, and build solutions for their companies. HEROes are agile, innovative risk takers who share their learnings with others. They boost the business with projects that improve the flow of information. Book cover image - Empowered.JPG


HEROes need to provision their own technology

In this book, the authors make the point that two things are necessary for HEROes to be successful. First, the organization’s leadership must encourage innovation and give HEROes the autonomy they need to go off and find solutions. Second, IT must take on the role of advisor to HEROes and their managers.

In HERO-powered organizations, IT is not simply a provider of technology. Instead, IT is a supporter of technology projects created by HEROes. Bernoff and Schadler wrote, “HEROes don’t operate at the speed of IT, they move at the speed of the groundswell―and as a result, they need to provision their own technology.” IT’s job becomes supporting projects as a technology advisor, helping HEROes manage risks, and helping the organization move from what HEROes have built to a system the entire company can use.

QlikView: A technology for HEROes

This story is a very familiar one to us at QlikTech because it is HEROes who are the champions for QlikView. In many QlikView customer environments, the relationship between business users and IT is just as Bernoff and Schadler described HERO-powered organizations. Here’s a typical QlikView scenario.

  1. A HERO finds out about the QlikView Business Discovery platform. They may hear about it from a colleague, peer, or industry analyst, or in the media or from a social media platform like Twitter. They download the personal edition from and use the wizard-driven interface to import data from one or more sources into memory. They set up some charts and list boxes.
  2. The HERO begins exploring data. They conduct searches in QlikView and make selections to instantaneously filter the entire data set. They identify relationships in the data, seeing not only what data is associated but what data is not associated. (For example, when clicking on a customer name all products that customer has purchased are highlighted in white and all products that customers has not purchased are highlighted in gray.) They have “a-ha” moments as they make discoveries that enable them to solve the business problem they’re working on.
  3. More people start using QlikView and adoption spreads throughout the organization. The HERO shares not only their insights but how they arrived at those insights: using QlikView. They point other people in the direction of QlikView so that they can a) start creating their own insights and b) share insights on a common platform. As colleagues see QlikView and hear about how it helped HEROes solve problems, they want it too.
  4. IT takes on the role of advisor, taking the QlikView deployment to a new level. It becomes clear to business and IT leaders that QlikView is not just a team or departmental Business Discovery platform―it is a business-critical technology that should be deployed on a broad scale. IT gets involved and puts plans in place to optimize scalability, security, and performance of the QlikView environment, and to make sure the data is clean. IT partners with the business and empowers HEROs with tools to help them derive their own insights, rather than force-feeding them predefined reports or dashboards.


In nearly all our customers’ organizations, it is HEROes who bring in QlikView. They use it to solve problems, connect with customers, and build solutions for their organizations―typically in a way that improves the flow of information. QlikView is a Business Discovery platform designed for HERO-powered organizations.

While I was in Australia at the Gartner BI and Information Management Summit in February (see this related blog post) I spent some time with Ben Mills, managing director and lead consultant with AtoBI. AtoBI is a QlikTech solution provider that specializes in complex solutions and training.

Moments of Discovery with QlikView.png

Last week I spoke with Ben in more detail about business discoveries some of his customers have made with QlikView. “One of the things I love about QlikView,” Ben said, “is seeing those a-ha moments in the eyes and faces of customers. Recently, a half hour into a QlikView training course, one of the participants literally jumped up, threw her hands in the air and said ‘YES!!! That’s amazing. Can I give you a round of applause now?’ I was demoing how easily we can pull in and associate multiple data sources.”

In financial services: discovery of an invalid $40 million trade

One financial services company Ben worked with made an extraordinary discovery with QlikView. The QlikView user, a savvy global business manager, was sitting at his desk exploring the data. He was drilling down through summary figures to the nitty gritty detail about individual trades―a level of detail he had never been able to see before. As he was exploring the data he found an outlier and discovered that it was an invalid $40 million trade that had been entered into in the system.


He corrected the entry and was then able to accurately reforecast the company’s figures. Aside from the value of correcting this $40 million mistake, the company derived untold value from the confidence they were now able to have in the accuracy of their figures, and their ability to truly and quickly analyze their data down to the detailed level.

In telecom: insights into what drives customer satisfaction

A telecom company Ben worked with used QlikView to put some facts and figures to the theories that had been bandied about regarding the factors that affect customer satisfaction. Ben worked with a customer satisfaction analysis team inside the company to create a QlikView application for analyzing customer data. The application contained more than 20 different data sets such as bills, orders placed, products purchased, customer service interactions, survey data, and phone service activations and connections.


The customer satisfaction analysis team used QlikView to track, analyze, and weight all aspects of the customer experience. Their discovery? Insights into, and quantification of, the factors that affect customer satisfaction. The team is now better able to understand customers’ needs and tailor the company’s initiatives accordingly, setting business targets for customer satisfaction and implementing new initiatives. The company’s thinking is that increased customer satisfaction will lead to increased referrals, to happy customers who stay with the company longer . . .  and ultimately increased revenues.


Do you have your own story about Business Discovery with QlikView? Drop me a line and tell me about it. I’m at

Researchers at MIT and the University of Pennsylvania recently published a paper titled, "Strength in Numbers: How Does Data-Driven Decisionmaking Affect Firm Performance." In 2008, researchers Erik Brynjolfsson, Lorin Hitt, and Heekyung Kim conducted a detailed survey of senior HR managers and CIOs who worked for 179 large publicly-traded companies. The survey questions were about business practices and IT investments. The researchers combined the survey data with financial measures (e.g., physical assets, employees, sales, operating income) derived from Compustat and public sources of information.



While the bulk of the paper describes the statistical model used to identify a relationship between data-driven decision making and business outcomes, it summarizes some of key findings from the research:


  • It's not just about collecting data-it's about using it. How do companies make better decisions? They gather detailed data and propagate knowledge from their consumers, suppliers, alliance partners, and competitors. They use data mining and business intelligence software to identify patterns and make sense of all the data.
  • Data-driven decision making leads to business success. The researchers found that companies that adopt data-driven decision making have output and productivity that is 5% to 6% higher than what would be expected given their other investments and IT usage. Data-driven decision making is also associated with significantly higher profitability and market value.
  • Adoption of data-driven decision making is observable by organizational characteristics. The primary characteristics are: 1) company age, and 2) consistency of business practices. Younger companies have less organizational inertia. Organizational inertia limits the ability of the organization to make radical changes in strategy and structure in the face of environmental changes. And companies with more consistent business practices can scale up new business decisions (such as instituting data-driven decision making) more readily, once the initial cost of making the decision is incurred, compared to companies of the same size that have less consistent business practices.


Interesting findings, well worth a read.

Are you a QlikView customer who deeply "gets" the business value of our software? If so, now's a chance to get your voice heard!

Industry analyst firm Business Application Research Center (BARC) is now conducting its annual survey of the real-world experiences of BI software users, "The BI Survey 10: The Customer Verdict."

Click this link or the image below to fill out the online survey, which is open through the end of May. Survey respondents can fill out the form in English, French, German, or Spanish.

The BI Survey is a helpful tool for selection of BI platforms. No vendors (not even QlikTech Big Smile) will be involved with the formulation of The BI Survey. It is not commissioned, suggested, sponsored, or influenced by vendors . . . it contains no sponsored or private questions and the questions are compiled without reference to vendors. Vendors are not given an early preview of the findings, nor are we allowed to review the report before its publication.

We encourage you to fill out the survey. To give you a sense for the work BARC is doing with this study, here is a link to the QlikView summary of last year's report (BI Survey 9). This summary was produced by QlikView and approved by BARC.

When I was at the Qonnections 2011 Partner Summit in Miami (see this related blog post), I met Douglas Robbins and Rakesh Mehta of QlikView partner DI Squared. DI Squared is an Atlanta-based solution provider focused on QlikView implementations that feature huge data sets, complex data models, and integration with SAP and other ERP systems.

This week I spoke with Doug and Rakesh in more detail about "a-ha" moments they've experienced with QlikView. They told a story about a large manufacturing company where they both worked, where Doug was VP of applications and Rakesh was IT director.

The business problem: no cohesive view of customer profitability

At this manufacturing company, executives had limited visibility into customer purchases, the profitability of customers by product line and overall, and market share across various product lines. As a result, executives would go out on the road and sit down with a customer only to find out that they were trying to sell customers products they didn't really want or need. They had limited ability to cross-sell into accounts, or to focus their efforts in such a way as to increase market share against competitors. What the sales executives needed was a single view of the customer that showed what customers had and hadn't purchased, as well as customer profitability from high level down to the finest level of detail.

The technology problem: no way to get at the "mother of all cubes"

For many years, the IT organization had tried to produce a single view of the customer out of the company's SAP Business Warehouse (BW). BW contained a complex, highly customized OLAP cube that had more than 100 million large records and lots of fields. The complex design was needed to meet the needs of the company's global sales organization and attempt to get a 360 degree view of the customer.

Many times, the IT team tried to access this cube to produce a single view of the customer. They tried Business Objects, Cognos, and Microsoft. Nothing worked--until a QlikView consultant came in.

The solution: a QlikView-based customer cockpit

Within a week, the QlikView consultant created a customer dashboard, leveraging data in the SAP system. It was "amazing to see," in Rakesh's words. There on one screen was all the relevant data about the products a customer had purchased and profitability of the customer by product line as well as overall. Users could make selections to filter the data any way they liked: by product, customer, region, profitability, etc.

Behind the scenes was a complex data model like the one shown above. But the business user experience was clean and straightforward?and users were not restricted by limited data or predetermined drill paths. Executives could now take customized printouts from the QlikView-based customer cockpit with them on their travels, to prepare for their sales calls. Reports contained info about the top accounts in the region based on whatever criteria the user wanted. Executives had never had this level of insight into customer profitability before.

What made QlikView so compelling?

In addition to rapid time to value, QlikView stole the show due to:

  • Transparency. The IT team had confidence in QlikView because they could see and review every line of script. This was a very different experience from dealing with consultants who worked with traditional BI solutions?they would come in, work for many days, and leave a black box behind.
  • Flexibility. Rakesh and Doug?and the executives they supported?were impressed by the ease with which they could add dimensions and dril -downs into detailed data in new ways. Previously unheard-of flexibility was a huge part of the "a-ha" experience.

As a result of its success with QlikView, the company decommissioned SAP's BW for sales and marketing users. This generated huge IT cost savings. And once Doug and Rakesh understood the ease and speed of deploying quality BI solutions to businesses, they were sold on becoming a QlikView partner and helping other businesses achieve similar quick time to value. Thus the launch of DI Squared.

Data from thousands of customers supports the fact that QlikView deployments can handle many thousands of users and can address huge data quantities. An important characteristic of QlikView is that deployments scale uniformly as the organization adds more data and users. In a new video series, John Callan, a senior director of global product marketing at QlikTech, offers guidance and examples for how to scale QlikView based on widely-ranging requirements.


The QlikView Scalability Video Series

The series has five parts:

  1. Video one: QlikView scalability overview. This video covers the major QlikView components and how they fit together: QlikView Developer, QlikView Server, and QlikView Publisher. It covers the core message that end user performance scales uniformly with CPU capacity and data volumes, as well as with RAM and data volumes. It provides an overview of the high-level concepts covered in the following four videos in the series.
  2. Video two: QlikView system resource usage. With QlikView, all data to be used for analysis is stored in random-access memory (RAM). The amount of RAM needed is dependent on the number of applications running on the server at any given time. Data volumes and current number of users' requests also play a part in the number of processor resources required. As IT adds more CPU cores, user response times follow a predictable pattern. Hard drive usage only becomes a consideration in deployments where the organization has many QlikView applications or QlikView data files (QVDs).
  3. Video three: Scaling by data. We recommend that customers adhere to an architectural design process to determine the hardware needed to support the data in an initial QlikView deployment. It's important to establish baseline characteristics early in the process. The design of each individual application is a major factor.
  4. Video four: Scaling by users. QlikView Server and QlikView Publisher instances can be clustered and load balanced, for positive impact on user performance. Each additional user requires additional RAM.
  5. Video five: Scaling by apps. Typically, QlikView deployments start small, and then grow to become departmental and eventually enterprise-scale. The same core application can be used across these scenarios. We recommend a staged approach to deploying applications. At the simplest end, a single-tier build can accommodate prototypes and initial discovery. At the more complex end of the spectrum, the more complex four-tier mixed builds are used when the development (back end) and design (front end) are split between a technical team and a business team.

For more details about QlikView scalability, stay tuned for a soon-to-be published QlikView Technology White Paper titled, "QlikView Scalability."

Unlike traditional business intelligence, mobile Business Discovery enables users to forge new paths and make new discoveries--wherever they are. Users are not limited to predefined paths they must follow, or questions they must formulate ahead of time. Wherever they happen to be, they can ask what they need to ask and explore their data up, down, and sideways rather than only drilling down.

A new white paper is available: "Mobility Is Exploding: Are You Ready?" This white paper, written by CITO Research, describes five use cases for mobile Business Discovery. These are: pharmaceutical sales reps (sales preparation), field service technicians (service), retail store managers and category managers (crossing lines of business), hospital direct materials managers (procurement), and retail bank financial advisors (sales coaching).


You can download this white paper in its entirety here: "Mobility Is Exploding: Are You Ready?" To learn more about the new iPad solution for QlikView, download the data sheet, "QlikView on Mobile."

"When was the last time you did something for the first time?"

This is the opening salvo in?and the subtitle of?the recently-published book Poke the Box by best-selling author Seth Godin. Godin wrote Poke the Box as a "rant" or "manifesto" about the importance of initiating things at work--of starting up and taking action.

Getting off our seats and making things happen is important because the pace of change in business keeps increasing. Customer feedback is instantaneous, in this world of social media. Competitors are popping up in new corners of the globe. And product development cycles are shrinking. But organizations can't move fast unless people take action, push go, and start and ship their projects.

Easier said than done, though, right?

The trouble is, many of us are saddled with fear. Fear of making the wrong choice. Fear of starting up a project that fails. Fear of saying yes to a project without having adequate information. "How to invent and choose and stick with or abandon ideas, how to select and predict and forecast the future of a project?this is all difficult," Godin acknowledges. "We hold back, promise to do more research, wait for a better moment, seek out a kinder audience. This habit . . . eats up our genius and destroys our ability to make the contribution we're quite capable of making." All this fear can lead to inaction.

Start projects more easily, with less fear and anxiety

As I was reading Poke the Box I was thinking that QlikView is a tool for the "yes people"?the initiators, the starters. Also for those who want to be yes people but need to be able to make decisions on more than a hunch. QlikView can help you start, initiate, go?with less fear. How? When you explore data with QlikView?looking for associations and outliers, asking and answering questions based on insights you derive from the data?you are able to make data-based discoveries and decisions.

QlikView users can pursue their own leads, follow their own thought paths, and derive their own insights. They can look at all the data relevant to a decision, regardless of how many source systems the data comes from. Once the data is brought in memory and associated based on key fields, the "yes person" can explore the data, making selections and seeing not only what data is related but also what data is unrelated. (See related blog posts and videos here and here.) He or she can explore the data, making discoveries that make it clear which projects are most worthy of investment.

A critical element of this is that the data that supports QlikView discoveries and the resulting decisions is (typically) a trusted source of shared data. It could be cost or sales numbers, customer data, or information about products and parts. The data could come from an enterprise data warehouse, enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, or departmental budget spreadsheet. My point is that it may be easier to get buy-in for project ideas that are based on hard, cold data?compared to projects someone wants to do because they seem cool, or the person had a hunch.

Create a culture of "poking the box"

QlikView can help organizations develop a culture in which more people are encouraged to initiate, make decisions, start projects, ship their work. Godin describes the modern organization, in which "What might be considered a board-level decision at one of your competitors' companies gets done as a matter of course. What might be reserved for a manager's intervention gets handled at the customer level, saving you time and money (and generating customer joy)." With QlikView, organizations can push insight creation and decision-making out to the edges.

The icing on the cake: the joy of discovery

On top of the competitive imperative, there is joy and satisfaction in discovery of the unexpected. Godin writes, "What makes our work and our life interesting is discovery, surprise, and the risk of exploration. Joy comes from surprise and connection and humanity and transparency and new." Godin draws an analogy to visiting a haunted house. "Curiosity drives us to the haunted house because the thrills lie in what we don't expect, not in what's safe. Curiosity can start us down the path to shipping, to bringing things to the world, to examining them, refining them, and repeating the process again (and again)."

[QlikView is a tool for the curious. Check out this blog post by Shawn Helwig, manager of business intelligence and CRM consulting at Wipfli (a QlikTech partner): "Intellectual Curiosity…Can QlikView Change Corporate Culture?" Also see the related QlikView blog post, "QlikView as a Change Agent."]

In this 7-minute video, QlikView product manager for connectivity Ian Crosland gives a sneak peek into how QlikView can extend the value of existing SAP™ investments. He demonstrates how developers create QlikView apps that utilize SAP data?in this case using the SQL connector.



Steps to creating a QlikView application using SAP data

  1. The developer selects the SQL connector to populate the script builder application with the data dictionary files from SAP R/3™. The script builder maps the cryptic SAP table nomenclature to meaningful business descriptors. The script builder imports SAP metadata (table names and descriptions) and translates it into any language the organization has active in the SAP data dictionary.
  2. The QlikView developer then uses the script builder to develop an analysis application looking at sales information, for example. Once the data is imported into QlikView and stored in memory, the developer can then browse through tables and peruse the data model. He can run functions, add fields, and change field names, as well as create list boxes, tables, and charts.
  3. Users can immediately begin analyzing and interacting with their SAP data and add additional analyses from the prebuilt data model.

For more information about QlikView works with SAP, see related blog posts here and here and here. Or download the data sheet for the QlikView Connector for use with SAP NetWeaver®. We have also made prebuilt templates covering typical SAP™ modules available, such as this example for accounts payable (AP) here.

This week at the Qonnections 2011 Global Partner Summit in Miami, we held our first-ever QlikTech-sponsored Social Media Meetup. We held this happy-hour event to celebrate the influential leaders in the QlikView social media communityprimarily Twitter and the QlikCommunity. A couple dozen members of the community gathered to make new connections, talk to QlikTech folks and special guest Gartner analyst Rita Sallam, and get some face time with people they are already connected to online. (As an aside, here's a link to the tweet stream from Qonnections 2011.)

The event was a big success. Lots of fun was had by all. Overheard during the event:

  • "I get up at 4:00 in the morning to check the QlikCommunity forums. I tend to what needs attention, then go downstairs and have my breakfast."
  • "This meetup was awesome. I got to be with the stars of the QlikView community."
  • "It's great to be able to match up the Twitter handle with a name and a face."
  • "I didn't think ____ would be so short / tall."
  • "It's you!!" (accompanied by a huge smile).
  • "I was thrilled to run into ____. He just answered a question for me on QlikCommunity."

Engaging with Us via the QlikCommunity

QlikCommunity is the global online community for QlikView, bringing together developers and business professionals to interact, learn and share their experiences. To help you get started quickly, here is a link to the "Top Members" page on QlikCommunity. You must be a registered member and signed into the community to view this page.





Engaging with Us via Twitter

And to get started interacting with the QlikView community on Twitter, here are some active contributors to follow: @bardessgroup, @bri_tri2, @camargos, @dholowack, @DimitriPietersz, @donalddotfarmer (QlikView Product Advocate Donald Farmer), @EduardoCorsi, @EricaDriver (that's me!), @gdollen, @gillespol, @jmichel_franco, @jsboehm (QlikTech VP Product Marketing Jeff Boehm), @johnsonio, @larryoverstreet, @libertyhere, @mabaeyens, @MarcAlgera, @mateusmorato, @meneerharmsen, @nickjewell, @nicksatch, @noelyshannon, @projectbrokers, @QlikMex, @QlikView (QlikCommunity community manager Jason Long), @quintelligence, @realbenhodgson, @sbhelwig, @spastorcilaos, @stephencredmond, @techChirag, @TIQview, @Ungvall, and @Wit_BI.

QlikCommunity and Twitter are just two of the many ways to engage with the QlikView community. We're also starting to see activity heat up on Quora, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Got someone to add to this list (including yourself)? Or should we be paying attention to additional QlikView community channels? Post it in a comment.

Yesterday we broadcast the premier episode of QlikTV live from our Qonnections 2011 Global Partner Summit in Miami, Florida. This half hour episode was called "Business Discovery: The Next Generation of BI" and featured an interview with QlikTech's VP of Global Marketing Doug Laird.

Doug is the driving force behind QlikTech's Business Discovery strategy and positioning. He shared his thoughts about Business Discovery and answered questions from a live audience. Some people were in the room with us at Qonnections and others participated via online chat.

To watch the replay, click the image below. Click the "Videos" tab to the right and select "QlikTV from Qonnections 2011."

Doug Laird on Business Discovery

In this interview, Doug described Business Discovery as a new kind of business intelligence focused on business users. It enables business users to explore their data quickly and easily. Information is crafted so the business user sees just the information that is relevant to their business problem.

In this age of the empowered consumer, people are having a powerful technology experience with iPhones and iPads, iTunes, Google, and Facebook. They come into the workplace and expect a similarly user-friendly experience. Business Discovery delivers on that expectation.

Business Discovery works with what you have and infuses new capabilities into BI: insight everywhere, zero-wait analysis, an app-driven model, remixability and reassembly, a social and collaborative experience, and mobility. You can find more details in the QlikView White Paper, "Business Discovery: The Next Generation of BI."

About QlikTV
QlikTV is a series of live interviews with QlikTech executives and QlikView experts on topics of interest to the QlikView community. Each half-hour episode will be broadcast live over the Internet at There, you'll be able to watch and listen to the interviews and interact with each other and our special guests via text chat.

Please let me know what other topics you'd like to hear about during future episodes of QlikTV. You can comment on this post or send me an email at

At QlikTech we are launching an experimental program called QlikTV, a series of live interviews with QlikTech executives and QlikView experts on topics that are of interest to the QlikView community. Each half-hour episode will be broadcast live over the Internet at There, you'll be able to watch and listen to the interviews and interact with each other and our special guests via text chat.



Please join us for the premier episode of QlikTV on Monday at 3:30PM EDT

Interested in QlikTech's Business Discovery strategy? Even if you can't make it to Qonnections next week, you can participate in an interview with Doug Laird, VP of Marketing. We'll broadcast live, in front of a live audience, from Qonnections on Monday.

  • Who: An interview with Doug Laird, QlikTech VP Marketing
  • What: A half-hour interview about Business Discovery. What is Business Discovery? How does QlikView deliver on our vision of Business Discovery? What does Business Discovery mean for QlikTech partners? Join us to interact directly with the QlikTech executive who is the driving force behind our Business Discovery strategy.
  • When: Monday, April 4th from 3:30-4:00PM EDT (Miami time)
  • Where: Live from the Qonnections partner summit in Miami, Florida and online at (Qonnections attendees: see your summit agenda for location specifics.)
  • Why: Learn about Business Discovery straight from the source. Learn what makes QlikTech stand out among BI software vendors. Get answers to your questions about Business Discovery.

QlikTV is a new series of events. Please comment on this post with ideas for topics you'd like to hear about or speakers you'd like to hear from via QlikTV. Or send me an email at

I recently spoke with Bill Lay, former BI director at Technicolor and now an independent QlikView consultant. I wanted to understand what inspired him to go off on his own and focus his fledgling business exclusively on Business Discovery--exclusively on QlikView.

QlikView "A-Ha" Moments

A few years back, Bill created a BI prototype that had about 50 million records in it. Creating the prototype was an enormous undertaking. It involved setting up tables in SQL Server, building a Business Objects universe, and creating static reports. The process was so onerous that the business sponsor decided not to pursue the project.

Bill's first "a-ha" moment with QlikView occurred the first time he got his hands on the software. He tried once again to create the prototype he had tried to build in the past. This time he used QlikView. Results were immediate. Performance, even with 50 million records, was "spectacular"?even on a standard business-grade laptop. "QlikView is fast," Bill said, "but not quick and dirty. It's quick and robust."

Another area where QlikView really shone was flexibility. "I took what I had done with SQL Server integration servers and BO and replaced it all with one box: one QlikView app," Bill said. "That's when I realized this is far more than a dashboard tool."

Bill also pointed out that with QlikView, going from a prototype to a production application is an order of magnitude easier than it is with traditional BI tools. With other BI tools you throw away the prototype and rebuild a production application. But with QlikView it's pretty much seamless. When you're happy with your prototype you put it on a server and apply security to it. You can decouple the data from the code gradually, if you want to. Bill said, "You can get your application out the door, then come back in and do some refactoring if you need to. It's the concept of incrementally coming in and polishing off pieces."


The Business Value of QlikView


Thinking back on his time as a BI director at Technicolor, Bill describes the power of bringing together in one place data that may have been seemingly unrelated. He was able to remix and reassemble data sourced from multiple systems?data people previously were not able to analyze all at the same time. He was able to handle significant volumes of data and to link the data together in meaningful ways.

He also used QlikView to identify anomalies in the data. "In a traditional approach," Bill said, "to try to do a quick analysis you might try to link the data up, then create Excel spreadsheets to manage the master data. With QlikView, you set up inline tables in QlikView. You explore the data and can see when things don't match up. It may seem like a small thing, but for our application we were able to see that in some cases we abbreviated the word 'avenue' while in other places we didn't. This kind of visibility into data quality helped us improve our operations."


At Technicolor, interest in QlikView exploded as Bill and his team began to show it around. QlikView usage and adoption spread all the way up to senior management, and the organization was able to do some great things to optimize operations. Eventually, it got to the point that QlikView was all Bill wanted to work on. Thus his transition?luckily for us!?from BI director at a multi-billion dollar company to independent QlikView consultant.

Business intelligence stakeholders tend to view metadata as a painful hurdle the IT organization must clear before business analysts can do any serious work on analysis definition and begin to meet end user requirements. This perception persists because traditional BI solutions treat metadata as a separate data and software layer for customers to populate, query, integrate, manage, and staff. While some traditional BI offerings contain comprehensive metadata modules, these modules frequently go unused. They are work-intensive and expensive to populate and maintain.

The good news is: it doesn't have to be this way. QlikView takes a pragmatic approach to metadata, which balances speed of deployment with oversight and control. QlikView handles three forms of metadata: descriptive, administrative, and structural. The glue that binds these together is the QlikView document. As administrators, developers, or business users look at the descriptive data for a QlikView document, they can also see the administrative and structural metadata.

The beauty of it is that with QlikView:

  • Metadata management is optional and pervasive. QlikView customers use metadata only when and where it adds value. QlikView creates metadata automatically. Whether or not it is used is up to the designers and developers.
  • Our focus is on QlikView itself. QlikView's metadata focus is on helping stakeholders understand and manage the QlikView environment. Developers and designers get a clear picture of how well their QlikView applications were built and gain insights that help them maintain their applications.
  • Developers can introduce metadata usage over time. With QlikView, developers do not have to create a metadata layer ahead of time. They can define and collect metadata after they have created, tested, and even deployed applications. Project teams can instead focus on getting the right business information and analytical tools in the hands of the right people at the right time.

Using our approach, QlikView administrators and deployment owners can better support users and refine processes. Developers and data architects can conduct better planning. Designers and content developers streamline their work efforts. And business users gain insight into usage and system health. To learn more, please download the QlikView Technology White Paper, "QlikView's Pragmatic Approach to Metadata."

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