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Analysis Services vs. QlikView


Analysis Services vs. QlikView

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randy.witt
randy.witt
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Greetings,

I have just been given the task of investigating tools for developing dashboards, business intelligence, etc. I am beginning to read about Analysis Services, but this is a component of SQL Server that I really know nothing much about it yet. I have also been requested to investigate QlikView, which appears to be a business intelligence tool that might achieve what we want.

I would welcome comments from those who know Analysis Services and/or QlikView, and why we might want to choose one or the other (or something else.) At this point, I probably don't even know exactly the right questions to ask, so input from those with more familiarity with this topic is much appreciated!

Thanks,
Randy
stoevern
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Good luck with your task!

The market for Business Intelligence and Performance Measurement is substantial:

- SAS Institute
- IBM - SPSS, Cognos, Xcelsius and - Oracle - Hyperion, Siebel
- Micro Strategy
- Panorama
- Corporater (with Agresso ERP add ins)
- Infor (Previously Comshare)
- Profitbase/Proscon
- Informatica (emphasis on ETL)
- SAP with BO I think?!
- Sybase IQ (Sun)
- Microsoft SQL Server with Powerpivot, Sharepoint, Performance Point

I can list many more, however, the task is after all yours. Then there is along list of specialist tools for ETL etc and a long list of Data Warehouse vendors.

Qlikview is a newcomer. Its focus is on in memory (as Powerpivot and others also use in memory analytical approaches - some column based like Sybase). Qlikview has to to the same job as the other tools, however, the focus on user satifaction through showing results quicly in templates. Remember try to develop yourself. And find the cost of the server software etc and you may find that someone will have to do the development and that a business user may find this hard. Their User Satisfaction measurements is NOT the same as developers satisfaction. It is hard for people with long experience in e.g. Excel and databases to understand and make applications fast. So you may end up paying and using just as much time as with any other vendor.

Qlikview is a tool we find a lot of writing about, however, they represent much less than 1% af the market in terms of money paid for solutions and licenses. So lots of noice, few real life references and I am unsure if this ever will become a main stream tool.

My advice is to think about what needs you want to satisify, what is your infra structure so far, how much resources do you have to get a solution up and going and then real tests of development on your own data (Not just using something a Qlikview consultant set up for you - chances are you will spend a lot more time setting up the same thing). And finally DO visit referance sites and talk to the users and find out if THEY develop or if the IT department develops OR if they have to use Qlikview consultants.

Anyway, best of luck!
rabradford
rabradford
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I can tell you something about Qlikview and no.. I don't work for them.

The organisation I work for used Qlikview for about 4 years as a reporting tool for a bespoke Complaints system that was clocking up about 12000 complaint/adjudications per year with all the associated records and complaint history. The only reason we don't use this tool anymore is because that division was hived off to another organisation. I also seem to recall that at least one large energy company in the UK used to use it for showing KPI's.

It is in my experience an extremely effective and efficient tool that gives the end users the ability to dynamically "click" on items in the report to pivot, zoom in or drill down and hence is very popular with these end users. The graphics are quite nice too Wink

It can be used as a web server enterprise type tool (like SSRS) so is accessible from web browsers or via client workstation installs.

The caveats with Qlikview are:

To pull the data appears to be simple, it is as Qlikview uses fairly standard TSQL.. but Qlikview will make quite a few assumptions on this data so most of the struggle is to mold the data you pull in so that Qlikview makes the correct one. This can involve quite some time messing around with queries and the Qlikview scripting language, consequently it requires a fairly good knowledge of Qlikview itself as well as some design sense.

It is hard to develop complex dashboards unless you know Qlikview quite well - you'll need to go on a course or two or read a lot of books/how-tos and experiment with the product.

The end users of your dashboard can get lost as the Qlikview interface though simple is not something they'll be used to, they will need some basic training on how to use the end product of your design efforts.

If using the web browser client you will have to have the permissions to download and install and activex component on all your clients for full functionality luckily this is an msi so can be published from AD.

In my experience with it (I've not used it for about 1-2 years now so am getting a bit blurry on it) it gives you snapshots not real time data, but you can set this to refresh on a regular basis.

Check out the Qlikview site - just because it has only 1% of the market share doesn't mean it isn't any good. I've used a variety of reporting tools and IMO Qlikview is much better than most but I'd still recommend you get a Qlikview consultant to initially get you up and running while you learn how to use the product. They're still trying to break into various markets so you may be able come to some sort of arrangement with them or their re-sellers.. especially to demo the product using some of your data.
theSuda
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I will keep it short. Last project proposal I wrote was for a client who just wanted any alternative to QlikView. Few reasons they gave were VERY high hardware requirement, technical resources(people who know QlikView) are VERY rare and licencing costs are high(or not good .. I don't understand this part, don't ask).

So technically I find QlikView very good but be sure you check on other factos like maintenance cost and licencing.

Happy hunting ;-)

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'Some people still are alive simply because it is illegal to shoot them... o_O Cool '
rabradford
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I'd agree with thesuda on the complexity of the product, but the licensing is pretty much on par with things like BO and OBIEE if not slightly cheaper and at least Qliktech's resellers are open to negotiation.

I don't recall there being any hardware issues, it is best to place the enterprise edition on its own server but the server we used for this was not exactly top of the range.

I must admit, if you want ease of report development, don't use Qlikview - it can be a bit of a pig to use.

Having said this, I don't know why SQL Server houses don't use SSRS by default (we're now mixed Oracle/SQL Server so use OBIEE), the SQL 2008 R2 version is IMO an excellent product and it is cheap to run and develop.
theSuda
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One more thing. If people are specific about look and feel of reports, and you already have MS Sharepoint in your org, look no further. PPS is enough.

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'Some people still are alive simply because it is illegal to shoot them... o_O Cool '
snap254
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Qlikview is for "personal" analytics. SSAS is for designed for a broader range : from "workgroup" analytics up to "enterprise" level.

I have just helped a client (Fortune 100) recover from a Qlikview binge that saw them deploy it across their enterprise, only to find the the "in-memory" solution does not scale at all! In fact, its utterly useless for large data footprints. Instead it works for small data sets that a single user might analyse on their own PC. With MS PowerPivot, its entirely possible now to replicate that functionatliy of Qlikview in Excel for free.

If you want some real power use SSAS and you'll be able to support hundreds if not thousands of users without any of the Qlikview hang ups. Complement the engine with a good client tool for viewing the cubes (like Pyramid Analytics) and your end users will never look back.

Cool
elad7690
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The scalability issues in-memory BI tools such as QlikView have are well known, and described here:

http://elasticube.blogspot.com/2010/09/in-memory-bi-is-not-future-its-past.html
Bill Anton
Bill Anton
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I tend to share a similar opinion of QView, but I too am a MS-junkie.

Data Enthusiast | @SQLbyoBI | www.opifexsolutions.com
ToddFields
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Wow... just following this blog post.

SSRS: No end user is able to use this tool. Take report builder 3.0 to the river and drop it in. Reporting needs to be self service and SSRS is not.

EXCEL: As my 9 year old daughter says, "Really?" - for BI?

How do you manage the flexibility? Yes, you can do anything with the pivot, is that good? I would say not. A controlled drill path and consistant view is what our VP of sales wants distributed to the reps. He wants them to see what he sees in the same format. We have people making pivots over the SSAS pivots. When we change a field name, it's like a deck of cards where everything falls.

How do you use this on a mobile platform like an iPhone or iPad... oops, I said it... I'm sorry MS.

Do you really want your exec team playing with Excel pivots?

How do you share all this? Oh, right SharePoint. Big assumption there isn't it?

I'm not going to tell you Qlikview is the best and we are not using it, but as a MS shop only doing SSRS and Excel, we are looking for more robust options.
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