Delivering Business Intelligence solutions to over 40000 customers worldwide, there is no doubt that Qlik has established a strong foothold in the analytics market for many years now. With the self-service capabilities of Qlik Sense, you can take better and more informed decisions than ever before. From simple data exploration to complex dashboarding and cloud-ready, multi-platform analytics, Qlik Sense gives you the power to find crucial, hidden insights from the depths of your data.
We got some fascinating insights from our interview with two leading Qlik community members, Ganapati Hegde and Kaushik Solanki, on what Qlik Sense offers to its users and what the future looks like for the BI landscape.
Ganapati is an engineer by background and carries an overall IT experience of over 16 years. He is currently working with Predoole Analytics, an award-winning Qlik partner in India, in the presales role. He has worked on BI projects in several industry verticals and works closely with customers, helping them with their BI strategies. His experience in other aspects of IT, like application design and development, cloud computing, networking, and IT Security – helps him design perfect BI solutions. He also conducts workshops on various technologies to increase user awareness and drive their adoption.
Kaushik has been a Qlik MVP (Most Valuable Player) for the years 2016 and 2017 and has been working with the Qlik technology for more than 7 years now. An Information technology engineer by profession, he also holds a master’s degree in finance. Having started his career as a Qlik developer, Kaushik currently works with Predoole Analytics as the Qlik Project Delivery Manager and is also a certified QlikView administrator. An active member of Qlik community, his great understanding of project delivery – right from business requirement to final implementation, has helped many businesses take valuable business decisions.
In this exciting interview, Ganapati and Kaushik take us through a compelling journey in self-service analytics, by talking about the rich features and functionalities offered by Qlik Sense. They also talk about their recently published book ‘Implementing Qlik Sense’ and what the readers can learn from it.
- With many self-service and guided analytics features, Qlik Sense is perfectly tailored to business users
- Qlik Sense allows you to build customized BI solutions with an easy interface, good mobility, collaboration, focus on high performance and very good enterprise governance
- Built-in capabilities for creating its own warehouse, a strong ETL layer and a visualization layer for creating intuitive Business Intelligence solutions are some of the strengths of Qlik Sense
- With support for open APIs, the BI solutions built using Qlik Sense can be customized and integrated with other applications without any hassle.
- Qlik Sense is not a rival to Open Source technologies such as R and Python. Qlik Sense can be integrated with R or Python to perform effective predictive analytics
- ‘Implementing Qlik Sense’ allows you to upgrade your skill-set from a Qlik developer to a Qlik Consultant. The end goal of the book is to empower the readers to implement successful Business Intelligence solutions using Qlik Sense.
There has been a significant rise in the adoption of Self-service Business Intelligence across many industries. What role do you think visualization plays in self-service BI? In a vast ocean of self-service tools, where do you think Qlik stands out from the others?
As Qlik says visualization alone is not the answer. A strong backend engine is needed which is capable of strong data integration and associations. This then enables businesses to perform self-service and get answers to all their questions. Self-service plays an important role in the choice of visualization tools, as business users today no longer want to go to IT every time they need changes. Self service enable business users to quickly build their own visualization with simple drag and drop.
Qlik stands out from the rest in its capability to bring in multiple data sources, enabling users to easily answers questions. Its unique associative engine allows users to find hidden insights. The open API allows easy customization and integrations which is a must for enterprises. Data security and governance is one of the best in Qlik.
What are the key differences between QlikView and Qlik Sense? What are the factors crucial to building powerful Business Intelligence solutions with Qlik Sense?
QlikView and Qlik Sense are similar yet different. Both share the same engine. On one hand, QlikView is a developer’s delight with the options it offers, and on the other hand, Qlik Sense with its self-service is more suited for business users. Qlik Sense has better mobility and open API as compared to QlikView, making Qlik Sense more customizable and extensible.
The beauty of Qlik Sense lies in its ability to help business get answers to their questions. It helps correlate the data between different data sources and making it very meaningful to users. Powerful data visualizations do not necessarily mean beautiful visualizations and Qlik Sense lays special emphasis on this. Finally what the users need is performance, easy interface, good mobility, collaboration and good enterprise governance – something which Qlik Sense provides.
Ganapati, you have over 15 years of experience in IT, and have extensively worked in the BI domain for many years. Please tell us something about your journey. How does your daily schedule look like?
I have been fortunate in my career to be able to work on multiple technologies ranging from programming, databases, information security, integrations and cloud solutions. All this knowledge is helping me propose the best solutions for my Qlik customers. It’s a pleasure helping customers in their analytical journey and working for a services company helps in meeting customers from multiple domains. The daily schedule involves doing Proof of Concepts/Demos for customers, designing optimum solutions on Qlik, and conducting requirement gathering workshops. It’s a pleasure facing new challenges every day and this helps me increase my knowledge base. Qlik open API opens up amazing new possibilities and lets me come up with out of the box solutions.
Kaushik, you have been awarded the Qlik MVP for 2016 and 2017, and have experience of using Qlik’s tools for over 7 years. Please tell us something about your journey in this field. How do you use the tool in your day to day work?
I started my career by working with the Qlik technology. My hunger for learning Qlik made me addicted to the Qlik community. I learned lot many things from the community by asking questions and solving real-world problems of community members. This helped me to get awarded by Qlik as MVP for consecutively 2 years. MVP award motivated me to help Qlik customers and users and that is one of the reasons why I thought about writing a book on Qlik Sense. I have implemented Qlik not only for clients but also for my personal use cases. There are many ways in which Qlik helps me in my day-to-day work and makes my life much easier. It’s safe to say that I absolutely love Qlik.
Your book ‘Implementing Qlik Sense‘ is primarily divided into 4 sections – with each section catering to a specific need when it comes to building a solid BI solution. Could you please talk more about how you have structured the book, and why?
BI projects are challenging, and it really hurts when a project doesn’t succeed. The purpose of the book is to enable Qlik Sense developers to get to implement successful Qlik Projects. There is often a lot of focus on development and thereby Qlik developers miss several other crucial factors which contribute to project success. To make the journey from a Qlik developer to a Qlik consultant the book is divided into 4 sections.
The first section focuses on the initial preparation and intended to help consultant to get their groundwork done. The second section focuses on the execution of the project and intended to help consultants play a key role in rest of phases involving requirement gathering, architecture, design, development UAT. The third section is intended to make consultant familiar with some industry domains. This section is intended to help consultant in engaging better with business users and suggesting value-additions to project. The last section is to use the knowledge gained in the three sections and approaching a project with a case study which we come across routinely.
Who is the primary target audience for this book? Are there any prerequisites they need to know before they start reading this book?
The primary target audience is the Qlik Developers who are looking to progress in their career and are looking to wear the hat of a Qlik consultant. The book is also for existing consultants who would like to sharpen their skills and use Qlik Sense more efficiently. The book will help them become trusted advisors to their clients. Those who are already familiar with some Qlik development will be able to get the most out of this book.
Qlik Sense is primarily an enterprise tool. With the rise of open source languages such as R and Python, why do you think people would still prefer enterprise tools for their data visualization?
Qlik Sense is not a competition to R and Python but there are lots of synergies. The customer gets the best value when Qlik co-exists with R/Python and can leverage the capabilities of both Qlik and R/Python. Qlik Sense does not have the predictive capability which is easily fulfilled by R/Python. For the customer, the tight integration ensures he/she doesn’t have to leave the Qlik screen. There can be other use cases for using them jointly such as analyzing unstructured data and using machine learning.
The reports and visualizations built using Qlik Sense can be viewed and ported across multiple platforms. Can you please share your views on this? How does it help the users?
Qlik has opened all gates to integrate its reporting and visualization with most of the technologies through APIs. This has empowered customers to integrate Qlik with their existing portals and provide easy access to end users. Qlik provides APIs for almost all its products, which makes Qlik the first choice for many CIOs because with those APIs they get a variety of options to integrate and automate their work.
What are the other key functionalities of Qlik Sense that help the users build better BI solutions?
Qlik Sense is not just a pure play data visualization tool. It has capabilities for creating its own warehouse, having an ETL layer and then of course there’s the visualization layer. For the customers, it’s all about getting all the relevant components required for their BI project in a single solution. Qlik is investing heavily in R&D and with its recent acquisitions and a strong portfolio, it is a complete solution enabling users to get all their use cases fulfilled. The open API has enabled opening newer avenues with custom visualizations, amazing concepts such as chatbots, augmented intelligence and much more. The core strength of strong data association, enterprise scalability, governance combined with all other aspects make Qlik one of the best in overall customer satisfaction.
Do you foresee Qlik Sense competing strongly with major players such as Tableau and Power BI in the near future? Also, how do you think Qlik plans to tackle the rising popularity of the Open Source alternatives?
Qlik has been classified as a Leader in the Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for several years now. We often come across Tableau and Microsoft Power BI as competition. We suggest our customers do a thorough evaluation and more often than not they choose Qlik for its features and the simplicity it offers. With recent acquisitions, Qlik Sense has now become an end-to-end solution for BI, covering uses cases ranging from report distributions, data-as-a-service, and geoanalytics as well. Open source alternatives have their own market and it makes more sense to leverage their capability rather than compete with them. An example, of course, is the strong integration of many BI tools with R or Python which makes life so much easier when it comes to finding useful insights from data.
Lastly, what are the 3 key takeaways from your book ‘Implementing Qlik Sense‘? How will this book help the readers?
The book is all about meeting your client’s expectations. The key takeaways are:
- Understand the role and importance of Qlik consultant and why it’s crucial to be a trusted advisor to your clients
- Successfully navigating through all aspects which enable successful implementation of your Qlik BI Project.
- Focus on mitigating risks, driving adoption and avoiding common mistakes while using Qlik Sense.
The book is ideal for Qlik developers who aspire to become Qlik consultants. The book uses simple language and gives examples to make the learning journey as simple as possible. It helps the consultants to give equal importance to certain phases of project development that often neglected. Ultimately, the book will enable Qlik consultants to deliver quality Qlik projects.
If this interview has nudged you to explore Qlik Sense, make sure you check out our book Implementing Qlik Sense right away!