Saturday, 8 December 2012

Rear (Qlik)view mirror

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @hotpixUK

In a recent financial system procurement that I was involved with this year, the MI / BI (Management/Business Intelligence tool we eventually went for was Qlikview. It was an application I had not seen close up before, but was aware of it among that other clutch of reporting dashboards generally found in housing.

Most of them sound very much like they were named after probiotic yoghurts and nearly all of the popular ones start with the letter ‘C’. Spooky eh? You know who I mean; Corvu, Cognos, Caci Infoflow, Capita Insight, Clearview, Covalent and Coactiva. The latter comes with three key benefits: antioxidant vitamins A and E, fibre and probiotics for digestive health, and calcium and vitamin D for bone health. Plus, each report is delicious and cream and that makes your taste buds happy too. Or I am sure thats what the nice lady demo-ing it said!

Well Qlikview does not begin with a ‘C’, offer any health benefits and breaks the rule of my old English teacher, Mrs Holtam (quite a fox in her day I am sure), that ‘Q’ generally needs to be followed by a ‘U’. That aside it’s an impressive application. Manipulating all its data in memory and supporting the usual mass of data sources you can mix and match, it’s quite a hidden gem. A free download can be obtained from

It’s easy to setup and (for once) just as the salesman said “I was up and running in minutes”.  With Qlikview it is easy to highlight issues and strange data, in its familiar default green, gray and black interface. I have also pointed it retail data that I was doing a project with. That was 800mb+ of detail on ladies underwear (don’t ask, it was a project for larger size retailer JD Williams) and it breezed through it, even on a rather aging Acer laptop, with only a 2 x 1.2Ghz processor. ‘On the fly’ drilldown was just that. Fast and easy.

Qlikview can cache your data too if required, so can operate independent of the source if the database is off-line or otherwise unavailable. Many other solutions would fail or fall over in that situation. Initial costs are very reasonable too. £11K might well be sufficient for a medium sized housing organisation. At a recent conference at London Olympia (NHF-national Housing Federation Housing IT Managers) I was chatting with an old friend from Worthing Homes, Stephen Wallace, over a pint of course in The Albion on Hammersmith Road. He mentioned he too had selected Qlikview for his housing data and had more or less got started with it straight away. The ease of identifying poor or strange data is a real bonus. This can be spotted visually and passed straight away to the team responsible for fixing it.

This is what Gartner had to say about Qlikview: The report placed it with the leaders and visionaries.

During my recent finance project a third party was utilised to initially pull together a very complex data structure. Impressively the company Differentia ( ), specialist Qlikview integrators came back after 5 free days of consultancy and blew me and the project team away with what had been achieved. It’s great for once to see delivered exactly what was sold.

I am convinced that more and more organisations in the housing sector will probably be looking at Qlikview for MI / BI in the near future. I will be keeping in touch with Stephen to see how Worthing Homes get on with it. Probably over a few Ram and Specials, if planned properly.

It cannot have escaped your attention that the December festival of retailing is upon us. I would like to wish all my readers a happy Christmas and thoughts of a less stormy and prosperous 2013 for you and your loved ones. Peace on earth perhaps a tough call, but let’s love each other more. If we all do a bit, maybe it will catch on across the world.
Here’s my Christmas card to you -

Read on to, Twitter Social Fools:

Pearl Jam always checked their Qlikview Mirror".
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting

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