Getting Started with QlikView 11 Desktop

Hey guys – thought I would share a simple video series of how to get started with QlikView 11 Desktop. Each link will open in light-box type window, overlaying this main page. Please feel free to ask questions via the comments section, or join me on the QlikCommunity.

QlikView 11 Desktop – Download and Install

QlikView 11 Desktop – Connect to and Query Data

QlikView 11 Desktop – Creating your first chart object

QlikView Desktop 11 – Adjusting Chart Properties

QlikView 11 Desktop – Additional Chart Properties

Enjoy!

Data Governance – Sometimes overlooked

p5rn7vb

A Brief Conversation about Data Governance

officer.pngReader: “Woah, woah, hold on a second. Really Mike? – A post on Data Governance? – Don’t you represent QlikView!? Shouldn’t you be blogging about Business Discovery, Big Data or those sexy Data Visualizations!?”

Mike T: “Easy now, take a moment and breath. <sarcastic>You seem to really know your trendy labels, don’t you?</sarcastic> Before we can discover our business, visualize our data or understand if our Big Data’s signal-to-noise ratio is even relevant – something more needs to happen. Applications and data are typically prepared from gathered requirements before they are deployed to the masses. However, it is this preparation process that will determine the accuracy, consistency, assurance and overall longevity of the BI solution; aspects commonly overlooked when a proper Data Governance framework is NOT in place.”

Reader: “A proper Data Governance what?!”

Mike T: “Exactly!”

It’s a Problem

Over the course of my career I have seen many organizations quickly adopt a BI solution and jump right into creating reports and dashboards for one or a few specific needs, while giving little thought to the rest of the BI solution and how others may benefit from previous work. So what happens? Another application is then developed with its own requirements, possibly using data and attributes similar to the first. When developed in an independent and organic manner (as with many organizations) business models, data definitions and semantics can be stored and defined inconsistently. This causes inaccuracies which only delays decisions as users search for the truth in data. As Enterprises strive to consolidate data and express a need for data re-purposing, it becomes critical to introduce Data Governance standards. It’s been established by many analysts that a high percentage of BI projects fail to meet their objectives; siting a variety of issues including failure to implement a centralized data repository, inconsistent data models, little to no metadata management and lack of authority to institute and uphold best practices.

Data Governance

Data Governance can be considered ambiguous as it has an emerging definition – it can be simply defined as the exercise of authority for data related matters.  It ensures that important information assets are formally managed throughout the enterprise and can be trusted to provide effective decisions.

Some of the goals of applying Data Governance practices include:

  • Increasing consistency
  • Reducing redundancy
  • Improving regulatory compliance
  • Improving security
  • Introducing best practices and repeatable processes
  • Encouraging reuse
  • Conforming column definitions across all applications

For the most part, with many business intelligence solutions, it should work with some sort of metadata repository / data dictionary in order to be functional to answer critical deployment questions. Once in place, Data Governance will influence the actions and conduct of people who implement and follow these practices.

QlikView Expressor and the QlikView Governance Dashboard can help

If you are using QlikView and are experiencing the similar aforementioned problems, you may want to look at the QlikView Governance Dashboard and QlikView Expressor.  Two products that can introduce Data Governance practices to your organization.
The first product is the QlikView Governance Dashboard (QVGD) - This is a free product available from QlikMarket (requires QlikView registration) which contains a QlikView Dashboard (.QVW file) and a run-time processing engine. Its overall function is to retro-actively scan a QlikView deployment(s), create a QlikView associative data model and present various KPIS/metrics about the depolyment(s). It is intended to be largely used by IT and other technical staff to gain visibility and insight to help them answer those questions that pertain to … well simply – “What is going on in my QlikView deployment?”.  The overall value and benefit of the QVGD is to allow those to take actions on their finding such as instituting data governance practices to their QlikView environment, in-turn allowing them to measure its overall effectiveness and efficiency.Some examples of the questions answered include:

  • What QVD/QVX files/fields are/are not being used?
  • How many QlikView applications exist in my deployment?
  • What data is or is not being used and by which QV apps?
  • Which expressions/labels are being used the most (recurring / overlapping)?
  • What and how many of each sheet objects are being used?
  • What sources of data are being accessed?

Please refer to the QVGD product landing page on our web site for more information.  http://www.qlik.com/us/explore/products/governance-dashboard

sessions.png

b) The second product is QlikView Expressor Desktop / Server – which comprises of 4 components. A design environment – QVE Desktop, a version control and team development Repository, a server side Engine so created content can be deployed and executed on a server (QV Server / Publisher) and the QlikView Expressor Connector.

QVEtoQVw_repos.png

There are 3 license options for QlikView Expressor:

  • A free Desktop edition (interactive execution only)
  • Standard ( 8 core processing limitation, repository, engine)
  • Enterprise (unlimited cores, repository, engine)

QlikView Expressor Desktop – is used to prepare and manage data for QlikView applications. Its primary function is to create a Dataflow that visually provisions (access, conform, cleanse, etc.) data for QlikView. There are components to access data, cleanse, transform and control its flow and output to QlikView and other target systems. QlikView Expressor defines and captures the source, target and business rule metadata along the way which can be reused in other projects and reused amongst multiple QlikView applications. It can help reduce QlikView scripting in certain cases and offers a repeatable way of defining meta-driven QlikView applications. It provides an easy to use interface that most QlikView developers will feel comfortable with.

The Repository allows the storage and version control of what are called design-time model components used to create the Dataflow. (connections, schemas, business rules, templates, etc.)

The Server (engine component known as etask.exe) – will just execute what is created on the QV Server / Publisher machines.

Figure1.png

QlikView Expressor Desktop and a Dataflow with data output to QlikView

Figure4.png

QlikView Expressor Desktop Rules Editor – defining a parameterized, reusable business rule

2. What are some uses of QlikView Expressor within QlikView

In summary, both the QlikView Governance Dashboard and QlikView Expressor enable  discovery and understanding of a QlikView deployment and its data by applying data governance, increasing reuse and facilitating the creation of metadata driven QlikView applications across the entire QlikView environment.

When creating QlikView applications there are few ways one can prepare data for QlikView.

  • One can provide direct access to the data via its connectors to databases, files and web services directly in the QlikView application (.QVW) – then use SQL and LOAD script functionality to further transform the data needed for the application.
  • QVWs can also be used to just prepare the data with the LOAD scripts, without the layout and chart objects. Connectors, SQL and LOAD scripts are used to access, conform, cleanse the data to create a QlikView datafile known as a .QVD file (QlikView Data layer). Other QlikView applications can use that QVD file if needed. These processes can be scheduled and refreshed as needed using QlikView Publisher (Distribution Service and its task manager)

Due to the extremely user friendly and addictive nature that QlikView offers, anyone can rapidly create content to answer those business questions easily. What happens  when QlikView deployments starts to expand throughout an organization is multiple versions of the rules, metrics, column definitions may exists or are defined differently across similar applications. This can possibly create a difference in conclusions, reducing the confidence in the data, therefore delaying decisions.  The QlikView Governance Dashboard can help identify these areas of concern and QlikView Expressor can help provide a way to manage reusable and consistent data for those QlikView applications as the environment continues to grow.

3. What data sources / targets can QlikView Expressor read / write?

QlikView Expressor can read and write a variety of data using Read and Write Operators. For data sources where an operator does not exist Read and Write Custom operators can be used along with the Datascript syntax.

Sources and targets include:

  • Common RDBMs (included drivers – MySQL, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, DB2, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, Netezza
  • Files (Flat / Delimited, Excel, QlikView, Fixed)
  • Apache Hive
  • Cloudera Impala
  • MongoDB – (via Datascript API)
  • Salesforce
  • Teradata
  • Generic ODBC (requires DSN configuration)
  • QVX Connector – any QlikView connector that has been built using the QVX specification

4. How do you connect QlikView to QlikView Expressor

QlikView Expressor – can read and write QlikView QVD files. So the QVD output that is created is used as you would normally use it with QlikView. This can then be used as a data source file within QlikView application design as any other QlikView data file. If you output to QVX with QlikView Expressor, you have the option of using the QlikView Expressor Connector (QVEC) – which will allow you to source data directly from the QVE Dataflow without having to explicitly reference the .QVX file from a LOAD script. The QVEC allows you to access what is similar to a traditional metadata repository. “Deployment Packages” defined within QVE projects can be accessed and expose all the Dataflows that will be used to provision data for the QlikView application. The QlikView Expressor connector works specifically with Dataflows that output QVX only.

5. Where can QlikView Expressor Fit?

etl_flow.png

QlikView Expressor (QVE) provides data governance and data management within a QlikView environment; providing visibility and data confidence in QlikView deployments. It strengths enable the creation of a single conformed data management layer that can be used to drive QlikView applications. QlikView Expressor has also been used as an ETL (Extract Transform Load) / data integration tool to supplement other data preparation needs such as the creation of various data stores. This is common in a setting where other ETL tools are not available. QVE can help consolidate multiple data sources, augment data and create a data store/mart/warehouse to be accessed by QlikView and other applications. Other benefits of QlikView Expressor include its ability to graphically prepare and control the flow of data while storing, sharing and reusing various components of the development process.

Videos