Visualization Capabilities with Qlikview
After being an SAP Business Objects developer for many years, I must say I was biased toward one strong reporting tool and was very apprehensive when I began using another powerful reporting tool called Qlikview for developing a dashboard. It took some time, but Qlikview impressed me by being a performance-driven, high-quality great data visualization tool. It gives the developer an ability to jump into data modeling without knowing much about data, and makes it easy to implement your data transformation rules. The Qlikview application does not use data cubes; instead, it loads all of the tables into memory, resulting in highly intuitive, very clean, simple and easy-to-drill-down dashboards. It offers a variety of features, which results in visually appealing reports and dashboards with great analytical power and data insight. In this blog I will be talking about a handful of such features, which in my opinion were very powerful and convenient to use.
1. Trellis Charts – A great representation for comparative analysis. Trellis is a property that groups similar charts in a grid representing different values of one dimension. We require two dimensions, one acting as a grid variable and the other as the actual value measured in each small chart. For example, if we want to compare the sales of the past few years across countries, we could do so with either a stacked bar or a line chart, but in Qlikview we can make use of the trellis chart feature that gives a side-by-side comparison of sales numbers for all the countries. In this example, country was the primary dimension in each chart, with sales as a measurement and year as the secondary dimension.
2. Mini Charts – A powerful way of combining numbers with charts in a tabular form, and you do not have to choose one over another. This feature lets you place them in a single table — it is a cluster of information shown in a very limited space. Mini charts add various representation modes to your tables, giving the user a good historical context for better decision making.
3. Pivot Table – Though pivot tables are heavily and commonly used in Excel for cross-tabular structure, I personally find this functionality very useful when placed in an interactive dashboard, and quite easy to achieve too. If I had to create a pivot table structure in Business Objects, I would have to put a lot of thought into how to design it, but in Qlikview it is as simple as selecting the chart type from chart wizard and the pivot is ready to use. It was one of the most-liked features by the finance team because it gave them all the information sorted in an accurate format, and they could play around with numbers very conveniently.
4. Fast Type Change – Let’s say we have two different sets of users in our audience for the dashboard, and the developer has limited screen area. One group demands a visual presentation of the numbers while the other group wants to use the numbers in a tabular format. In such a scenario, Qlikview provides a great solution to serve both types of users in a limited screen area. A “fast type change” feature allows users to switch between a chart and a straight table with just a single click. An icon on top of the chart indicates the allowed chart types for the selected chart.
In conclusion, I would like to say that there are many more outstanding features of Qlikview that make it a strong and convenient visualization tool.