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3 Ways to Customize QlikView Functionalities for Better, Faster Results

AvatarMarch 2, 2016

Many of our clients have turned to QlikView as their preferred BI and data analytics tool—and for good reason. Not only is QlikView easily deployable and configurable, but thanks to its in-memory database, it offers incredible speed and performance. Additionally, QlikView’s patented “associative technology” ensures that users derive intelligence and insights on demand, while its user-driven interface makes it simple for both technical and non-technical users to produce stunning reports within minutes of installation.

Despite all of these great features, QlikView does have its limitations. In situations where traditional QlikView functionalities cannot achieve the desired outcome, a customized approach can help. While there are numerous ways to customize QlikView, in this post, we highlight three ways our InfoCepts team has customized QlikView to achieve better data visualization and analytic results for our customers:

Case 1: Designing a Drop Down Select for Responsive Navigation
With numerous reports classified into different categories, our client needed a way to improve the ease of navigation so that users could quickly and efficiently find and access specific reports.

To address the issue, we customized text boxes in QlikView to create a drop down select feature. By using variables with appropriate actions, the drop down menu allowed users to easily select and navigate to the screen of their choice. Highlighting activated sheets with a different color further improved the ease of navigation for users.

This custom approach has several advantages. First, a drop down select conserves screen space—with the list’s options hidden, a lot of information can be included in the form without cluttering the entire page. Second, a drop down provides a logical grouping of the content. Finally, a responsive select menu creates a familiar user experience, similar to the type of drop down navigation found on websites.

Case 2: Creating a Default Selections Macro
Our client was managing numerous reports from multiple sources and needed to set a number of defaults across multiple screens. Manually selecting these defaults was time-consuming and the client was looking for a better way to handle the issue.

Typically, developers would address this issue by creating a trigger or a bookmark in QlikView. However, there were downsides to both approaches. Using triggers can have a substantial impact on performance. Bookmarks, on the other hand, do not create performance issues, but they remain visible to the users—something the client wanted to avoid as well.

To speed the modification process while avoiding the downsides of triggers and bookmarks, InfoCepts determined a macro would be the best solution. Macros are VB script or J script codes written inside a QlikView document. The macro was written for default selections to be enabled on post reload. Using ActiveDocument and the Select function, the required values would be selected from a dimension. This dimension could also be evaluated by selecting minimum/maximum values or a specific period range using the Evaluate function.

The benefits of this approach were many:

  • Reduced the overall time to select defaults
  • Improved the overall performance of the system
  • Usable across applications
  • Created a post reload macro that is supported when running in AJAX client

Case 3: Using Macros to Automatically Update Graph Data
A client had a number of graphs in a PowerPoint template. The current process was to export the data to Excel, then generate the graphs in Excel and import these into PowerPoint. It was a multi-step process that took considerable time.

While skipping the Excel step would save time, QlikView can only export data, not graphs, so this step could not be skipped. For a solution, InfoCepts determined that using macros would essentially automate the process for the client and save considerable time.

To create the custom macros, InfoCepts wrote two macros, using a VB script. The first macro exported the data from QlikView to Excel while the second macro exported the data from Excel to PowerPoint. With the macros in place, the client only needed to run the macros and the PowerPoint presentation would be automatically updated with the new data, saving the client significant time, eliminating errors, and allowing the graphs to be quickly and consistently updated.

As these cases illustrate, customizing QlikView functionalities can not only improve the data environment—making it easy for end-users to see and understand the data—but save time, simplify processes, reduce errors, and improve performance.

Interested in how QlikView can be customized to improve your BI and analytics environment? Give us a call, we have the expertise to guide you to the best approach for the best results.

Geographically Analyze Data Using QlikMaps

AvatarFebruary 17, 2016

With the business intelligence platform QlikView, you can access QlikMaps Extension Object, a mapping visualization and location-based analytics engine that does not require any additional server infrastructure. QlikMaps allows you to custom map territories and regions by using custom-defined shapes known as “Shape Files” and “Boundary Files”.

The Benefits of Using QlikMaps
QlikMaps offers a variety of benefits, including:

  • Access to rich and interactive location analytics
  • Street-level views and virtual visits of locations
  • The opportunity to visualize relationships and directionalities among points plotted on the map, thanks to QlikMaps’ unique “spider” functionality
  • Heat maps to allow for quick and effective visual understanding of data
  • The ability to lasso points and polygons on the map to make selections
  • Custom regions that can be integrated using custom shape file
  • Multi-layer support, which allows you to add or remove any layer type with the click of a button
  • Custom pop-ups for additional detail information
  • Full functionality from all browsers and devices (through use of HTML5 and AJAX)

With QlikView, making a single selection in the dashboard will influence  all the reports in dashboard. Similarly in QlikMaps, you can select a region or location point using the lasso feature or clicking the particular entity twice.

QlikMaps useful features include:

  • Polygon Mapping
  • Point Mapping
  • Multi-layering

Polygon Mapping allows you to display a transparent heat map on top of the map. This feature works similarly to the straight table in QlikView, and it allows:

  • Popup labeling
  • Configuring custom pop-ups (such as charts)
  • Use of custom boundaries for the heat map
  • Street views
  • Use of custom colors
  • Exporting of data to Excel
  • Consider an example, in which a heat map is created as:

QlikMaps1
It’s clear that you are not able to see any underlying geographic data. In such cases, you can make the heat map transparent:
QlikMaps2
Point Mapping allows you to display the location of an entity in the map just by providing its latitude and longitude values. Additionally, you can:

  • Use custom icons for specific entities
  • Create different sized icons to show, at a glance, which entity has higher volume:

QlikMaps3

  • Configure custom pop-ups (such as displaying charts)
  • Use the lasso feature to select points
  • Zoom in for more detailed map view
  • Visualize a relationship between two points using “spider” functionality:

QlikMaps4
Multi-layering
Allows you to combine QlikMaps’ polygon and point mapping features, providing a geographic representation of the location along with its entities:

QlikMaps5
The benefits of multi-layering include:

  • Pop-up functionality
  • The ability to deselect any layer with a single click in the checkbox
  • A lasso feature
  • The ability to search for geographic locations

Custom Defined Shapes
Another useful feature of Qlikmaps: It allows you to use custom boundaries for  a custom location or region.

For example, consider the United States with all state boundaries delineated:

QlikMaps6
With tools like ArcGIS and QGIS it’s easy to create four regional areas within the U.S. map:

QlikMaps7
It’s possible to use similarly defined shapes in Qlikmaps.
Creating custom boundaries is a two-step process, which involves:

  • Creation of shape files (.shp) using geographical data in ArcGIS. In this step, you take a zip and territory/region map and join with the base file of ArcGIS, to create the shape file (.shp) for your custom data.

  • Converting the .shp (shape file) file into a .csv file using the QGIS Tool to create boundary files. Below, we have a shape file from the ArcGIS tool; the same can be converted into a boundary file in .csv format in QGIS.

For more information about these capabilities and improving your business analytics systems, contact us today.