Mastering Qlik Sense: 6 Power Tips from Expert Developers

Analytics June 25, 2024 | 16 min read

Do you want to know how you can turn on your data in ways that are insightful and appear to create business value? This is one of the questions every company asks itself as it tries to increase its market share in a fast world like ours. It has been claimed that the need for experienced data practitioners has never been greater because there has been an exponential increase in data outputs and growing reliance on analytics for decision-making. The big data and analytics industry records have recently shown a remarkable growth rate indicating this from various sources. A 13.8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is expected from $104.19 billion in 2023 to $118.55 billion in 2024. It shows a rising application of analysis techniques on data to improve the results for business.

Amidst all this, in this flood of data, one trailblazer stands out as an outstanding platform in terms of being a symbol of novelty and empowerment: Qlik Sense. While its core strength lies in data visualization and analytics, making it a vital tool for modern organizations, Qlik Sense goes beyond mere presentation. It empowers users to extract meaningful insights that fuel growth and innovation. Mastering Qlik Sense goes far beyond the tool to harnessing the power of data to make an impact in the real world.

In this blog post, learn more about the transformative power of Qlik Sense, then get into six expert tips that will take your data analytics game to the next level. From advanced filtering techniques via custom visualization to collaborative insights, the following tips will arm you with the right skills and knowledge to empower yourself with Qlik Sense in your organization and head toward success.

Are you ready to kick off this journey of exploration and empowerment? Let’s dive in then!

Utilize Set Analysis for Advanced Filtering

Utilizing Set Analysis for Advanced Filtering in Qlik Sense is akin to unlocking a treasure trove of possibilities for developers aiming to craft highly dynamic and insightful data visualizations. Set Analysis, a robust scripting language within the Qlik Sense platform, offers developers fine-grained control over data selection and aggregation, enabling them to tailor applications to precise user requirements and analytical objectives.

Understanding Set Analysis

Set Analysis operates by defining sets of data based on user selections or predefined conditions. These sets serve as the foundation for performing calculations, aggregations, or filtering within expressions, providing developers with unparalleled flexibility in data manipulation and presentation.

Key Advantages of Set Analysis

Dynamic Filtering
Set Analysis enables the creation of context-aware expressions that dynamically adapt based on user interactions. This capability allows developers to calculate metrics and insights tailored to the user’s current selections, enhancing the responsiveness and relevance of dashboards and reports.

Complex Business Logic
With Set Analysis, developers can implement intricate business logic and conditional statements within expressions. This empowers them to craft sophisticated calculations that accommodate various scenarios, exceptions, or business rules, thereby delivering deeper and more nuanced insights.

Performance Optimization
Set Analysis offers mechanisms for optimizing performance by limiting the volume of data processed within expressions. Developers can employ set modifiers such as “Only,” “Excluded,” or “Alternate” to selectively filter data, thereby reducing computational overhead and enhancing application efficiency, particularly with large datasets.

Practical Applications of Set Analysis

Sales Performance Analysis
Calculate sales metrics such as revenue, profit margins, and sales growth dynamically based on user-selected periods, regions, or product categories.

Customer Segmentation
Customers may be segmented basically across purchasing behavior, demographics, or geographic regions to enable focused marketing campaigns and customer experiences.

Comparative Analysis
Comparative analysis is the technique of analyzing measures over time, geographic areas, or business units to uncover patterns, exceptions, and irregularities.

Budgeting and Forecasting
Develop budget and forecast models that are dynamic in changing in response to user-defined assumptions or scenarios, giving the stakeholders a real–time look at financial performance and planning.

Mastering Set Analysis

Mastering Set Analysis requires a mix of technical knowledge and creativity. Developers need familiarity with the syntax and functions of Set Analysis, but at the same time, learn to translate business requirements into workable expressions.

Optimize Data Model Design for Performance

Optimize your data model design also for performance in Qlik Sense to ensure efficient processing, faster reload times, and enhanced user satisfaction. Setting up a well-structured data model lays the foundation for strong and manageable analytic applications, making it easier for developers to derive actionable insights from institutional data.

Importance of Data Model Optimization

Optimizing the data model is necessary for both the performance and scalability of Qlik Sense applications. Bad data modelling can mean that the reloads are slow, the memory consumption is high, and sometimes they may cause a poor user experience. Following best practices in data modelling, developers can build high-performance apps that answer the needs of their customers and organizations by avoiding these issues.

Best Practices for Data Model Optimization

Reduce Synthetic Keys and Circular References
Synthetic keys and circular references can complicate data relationships and negatively impact performance. By resolving synthetic keys and eliminating circular references, developers can simplify the data model and improve reload times.

Minimize Data Redundancy
Redundant data storage can lead to increased memory usage and slower data reloads. By normalizing the data model and removing redundant fields or tables, developers can optimize memory utilization and improve performance.

Optimize Table Associations
Properly configuring table associations ensures efficient data retrieval and aggregation. Developers should establish appropriate relationships between tables using key fields and avoid unnecessary joins or associations that can degrade performance.

Partition Large Data Sets
Partitioning large data sets into smaller chunks can enhance data reload performance and reduce memory consumption. By implementing incremental data loading or partitioning strategies, developers can optimize data processing and improve application responsiveness.

Implement Data Compression Techniques
Data compression techniques, such as symbol tables and data reduction can optimize memory usage for better query performance. Therefore, developers should utilize the compression functionality available within Qlik Sense to ensure that their apps have a smaller memory footprint.

Utilize QVD Files for Data Storage
Storing data in QVD (QlikView Data) files can improve performance during data reloads and also support incremental data loads as needed. QVD files should be generated from the extracts and transformations of data developed in the course of a load to enable faster reloads of the same application with reduced dependency on external data sources.

Continuous Monitoring and Optimization
The data model is iteratively optimized through its continuous monitoring and further optimization. Developers should regularly analyse data reload logs, monitor application performance metrics, and identify opportunities for improvement. By continuously refining the data model and implementing optimization techniques, developers can ensure that their Qlik Sense applications deliver optimal performance and provide users with actionable insights in real-time.

Harness the Power of Advanced Scripting

Advanced scripting in Qlik Sense provides a very rich toolset that empowers the developer to manipulate, transform, and enrich data with very high accuracy and efficiency levels. The scripting language across the Qlik Sense product family is called the QlikView Scripting Language (QVSL). It provides a robust environment for undertaking all types of data processing tasks, from loading and transforming data to complicated calculations and analysis. Advanced scripting techniques in the hands of a developer can unleash the full potential of Qlik Sense for developing high-end analytics applications that give actionable insight to various stakeholders.

Understanding QlikView Scripting Language (QVSL)

QVSL is the spine of the Qlik Sense data processing engine that allows developers to define data sources, transform raw data into meaningful information, and create associate data models supporting interactive analysis. The syntax of QVSL combines script statements, functions, and operators that enable the developer to easily and flexibly manipulate data.

Key Components of Advanced Scripting

Data Loading and Transformation
Advanced scripting allows loading data from various sources, such as databases, spreadsheets, and web services, and turning it into the Qlik Sense associative data model. The processes for loading data may contain various techniques that ensure the quality and consistency of data, such as data cleansing or data normalization. Data can be transformed into aggregate forms that reduce the volume of data but still carry meaningful information.

Incremental Data Loading
Incremental data loading is a powerful technique by which the developer only needs to load new or changed data since the last reload, thus significantly reducing the time of any reload and potentially minimizing application performance degradation. Developers can leverage the incremental load functionality of Qlik Sense and develop incremental load scripts to load changes to data identified for refresh and make the application more responsive and efficient.

Data Concatenation and Concatenation Techniques
Data concatenation allows developers to combine multiple data tables or sources into a single table, enabling seamless integration and analysis of disparate data sets. Techniques such as concatenation, concatenation with mapping, and concatenation with preceding load enable developers to merge data efficiently while preserving data integrity and relationships.

Data Encryption and Security
Advanced scripting provides capabilities for data encryption and security, allowing developers to encrypt sensitive data fields, implement row-level security, and enforce access controls within Qlik Sense applications. Developers can assure compliance with data privacy requirements and protect sensitive information by utilizing encryption functions and security settings.

Custom Business Logic and Calculations
QVSL enables the possibility of custom business logic and calculations in Qlik Sense applications to develop complex analytics solutions in response to business needs. Conditional statements, loop statements, and aggregation functions will, therefore, make the developer able to realize complex calculations, obtain actionable insights, and finally perform data-driven decision-making.
Practical Applications of Advanced Scripting

Financial Reporting and Analysis
Make tools for finance reports that help you easily get data from accounting systems, change currencies, and find key numbers like revenue, earnings, and return on investment.

Supply Chain Optimization
Supply chain analytic applications will help carry out inventory level analysis; product shipping analysis while logistics optimization ensures lowest costs but at a high efficiency level.

Customer Relationship Management
Develop CRM dashboards that aggregate data from many sources, segment customers based on their purchasing activity, and deliver customized advertising recommendations to boost customer engagement and retention.

Predictive Analytics and Machine Learning Integration
Integrate predictive analytics and machine learning models into Qlik Sense applications to project sales trends, outlining patterns and making data-driven predictions to drive strategic decision-making in a bid for a sustainable competitive edge.

Mastering Advanced Scripting
Advanced scripting in Qlik Sense requires a combination of technical skills, domain knowledge, and creative problem-solving. A developer should understand how syntax, functions, and best practices within QVSL go alongside knowledge of the data model and the business environment. Learning, testing continuously, and collaborating with others within the peer group or experts in their fields are critical in the process of improving skills at scripting and unleashing the full power of Qlik Sense.

Implement Custom Visualizations with Extensions

‎The power of extensions enables the realization of custom visualizations, extending new creative possibilities to address the developer who wants to create very customized and powerful data visualizations in Qlik Sense. With its extensions, Qlik Sense is easy for developers to integrate into applications their own custom JavaScript visualizations. This will therefore extend the power and functionality of the platform to the need and capability to create unique and engaging data-driven experiences. 

Understanding Qlik Sense Extensions 

Qlik Sense extensions are based on JavaScript and extend the Qlik Sense platform, offering users the ability to realize custom-made visualizations, widgets, and controls within their instance. Employing the open, agile architecture of Qlik Sense, developers could create extensions that would nicely serve specific business needs, new user engagement methods, and insights brought in new and more intuitive ways. 

Key Components of Extension Development

JavaScript Visualization Libraries
Many extension developers use open-source, popular JavaScript libraries for visualization, such as D3.js, Highcharts, or Plotly, in order to build different types of charting and graphing and other interactive visualizations. Such libraries have a great number of pre-built chart types, customization options, and animation effects that allow a developer to make breathtaking visualizations full of information.

Qlik Sense API Integration
Qlik Sense Extensions hook into the Qlik Sense Engine API to connect to the underlying data model, fetch data, and synchronize user selections. The developers can fetch data from the Qlik Sense apps and transform it in their applications with the use of the Engine API, after which they will be able to update the visualizations on the go while the user is interacting and provide a seamless and responsive experience for their users.

Styling and Theming
Extension developers can put their own styling or theming to their visualizations to adapt the look and feel of Qlik Sense applications. Following design guidelines from Qlik Sense and putting in all the elements of branding, the developer can institute visual cohesiveness throughout an application interface that improves user experience and usability.

Interactivity and User Controls
Qlik Sense Extensions can embed interactivity and user controls, so it dynamically allows users to discover themselves through the data. This could be drill-down functionality, filtering options, or tooltip interactions that let users further investigate the data for useful insights to come out, making them more engaged and involved in the analytics experience.

Practical Applications of Custom Visualizations

Geospatial Analysis
Create customized map visualizations to represent geographical data, such as sales territories, customer locations, or distribution networks that allow users to easily inspect spatial patterns and trends.

Network Analysis
Customized network diagrams or graph visualization to illustrate relationships between entities, like customers, products, and employees, in a way that makes it easy to perform network analysis and visualization of complex data structures.

Timeline Visualization
Custom timeline visualizations that can render temporal data, be it project timelines, event schedules, or historical trends, should be designed in a way to show users changes over time and enable them to discover patterns or anomalies.

Hierarchical Visualization
Build dedicated hierarchical visualizations such as sunburst charts, treemaps, or dendrogram diagrams for representing hierarchical relationships within data sets, and allow users to explore the hierarchical structures, drilling down to details.

Mastering Extension Development
Mastering Qlik Sense extension development requires skill in JavaScript programming, knowledge of Qlik Sense APIs, and a very good understanding of data visualization principles. The developer needs to experiment enough with different visualization techniques and collaborate upon and iterate on designs so as to come up with aesthetically pleasing and very informative extensions that meet the user and organizational needs.

Embrace Collaboration with Qlik Sense Cloud

Moving to collaboration with Qlik Sense Cloud excludes one from the conventional way of team collaboration, sharing insights, and driving data-driven decision-making. Qlik Sense Cloud offers a collaborative environment wherein developers, analysts, and stakeholders find themselves on the same strut to break silos and foster a culture for collaboration and innovation.
If one wants to significantly increase the speed of the Qlik Sense application development cycle, facilitate seamless collaboration through the sharing of knowledge, and properly democratize access to data and analytics, then it can be done through Qlik Sense Cloud.

Understanding Qlik Sense Cloud

Qlik Sense Cloud is a cloud-based, in-cloud platform for creating, sharing, and collaboration in Qlik Sense apps anywhere on any device.
Qlik Sense Cloud allows fast upload of data to create live dashboards for insights, whether shared with coworkers or external stakeholders, while maintaining a secure, scalable cloud workspace. Qlik Sense Cloud offers flexibility and scalability between free and paid versions for individual or organizational users looking to work like a team or an organization.

Key Features and Benefits of Qlik Sense Cloud Collaboration

Shared Workspaces
You can create shared workspaces where teams can collaborate on Qlik Sense applications in real-time. Shared Workspaces provides a one-stop location for work, data analysis, and management activities that enable teams to collaborate more effectively and efficiently.

Real-time Collaboration
Using Qlik Sense Cloud, now multiple business users can co-create, make changes, and add insights to the same Qlik Sense application. They can discuss their findings in real-time. Such real-time collaboration increases transparency, communication, and alignment between teams, but it also accelerates decision-making and problem-solving.

Commenting and Annotation
Qlik Sense Cloud supports superscription of comments, annotations, and notes directly within a Qlik Sense application, providing a means to drive communication toward specific areas of interest, charts, or insights. The context obtained by the commenting and annotation features is valuable when teams need to interpret data, share their observations, and be more effective at collaboration.

Version History and Audit Trails
Qlik Sense Cloud supports the version history and audit trail for Qlik Sense apps. As a result, users can view previous revisions, revert to previous versions, and audits changes over time. Version history and auditing significantly raise the level of transparency, accountability, and governance since teams are much more explicitly aware of the record of collaboration activities and changes made to applications.

Integration with Qlik Sense Desktop and Enterprise
Qlik Sense Cloud performs effectively together with Qlik Sense Desktop and Qlik Sense Enterprise. One may create applications on a local system and then publish them to the cloud for cooperation and sharing.

Qlik Sense can be linked to Qlik Sense Desktop and Enterprise, allowing for the flexible creation and distribution of Qlik Sense apps across several environments.

Practical Applications of Collaboration with Qlik Sense Cloud

Cross-functional Collaboration
Empower cross-functional teams from sales, marketing, finance, and operations to work together on analytic projects for common data issues to drive more alignment and synergy across the organization.

Client Collaboration
Share Qlik Sense apps through Qlik Sense Cloud to enable collaboration with clients, partners and external stakeholders across geographies in real-time data analysis, decision-making, and problem-solving.
Easy sharing of Qlik Sense apps using Qlik Sense Cloud allows real-time co-authoring with clients, partners, external stakeholders, or whomever else is implicated in the analysis for making decisions. Hence, problem-solving becomes more effective.

Project Management and Task Collaboration
Use Qlik Sense Cloud as a central hub for project management, task collaboration, and workflow coordination, allowing teams to track project progress, assign tasks, and collaborate on deliverables within Qlik Sense applications.

Training and Knowledge Sharing
Establish a shared learning environment in your Qlik Sense Cloud for a continuous learning culture within the organization that allows members to work and learn from each other. Get access to training materials, tutorials, and best practices with Qlik Sense, providing all that is needed for effective collaboration.

Mastering Collaboration with Qlik Sense Cloud
Effective collaboration in Qlik Sense Cloud should be based on clear and agreed communication protocols, well-defined roles, and the inculcation of a collaborative culture within the enterprise through shared learning. Teams should utilize training resources, support documentation, and community forums to maximize the potential of collaboration and drive diverse organizational success using Qlik Sense Cloud.

Continuous Learning and Community Engagement

Continuous Learning and Community Engagement are the two basic pillars that a self-driven individual and every organization must consider thriving within the fast-moving, quick-changing arena of data analytics, particularly in a Qlik Sense environment.

This mindset would have practitioners be lifelong learners, actively involved in community forums, webinars, and user groups to stay up to date with Qlik Sense trends, best practices, and innovations. With such knowledge, practitioners should be able to continue improving their skill level and further learn more about the tool in order to maximize value from data analytics initiatives.

Importance of Continuous Learning

Continuous learning is key when the business environment changes all the time. With Qlik Sense, continuous learning empowers the practitioner to understand features, functionalities, and capabilities of the tool that will let them unlock new ways of analysing data, visualizing, and telling stories.
Continuous learning will help one keep pace with changing technology, industry trends, and emerging best practices; this helps in keeping relevant skills current and expertise valuable.

Benefits of Community Engagement

The developers derive many benefits by engaging in the Qlik Sense ecosystem. Qlik community engagement provides opportunities to connect to interact with peers, share knowledge and experience, and work collaboratively through projects and initiatives. Community forums, user groups, and social media channels can become extremely useful places to ask questions, request advice, and troubleshoot problems, leveraging a great amount of collective wisdom and experience.

Involvement in community activities like webinars, conferences, and hackathons creates networking opportunities and mentorship for professional growth, which increases learning experiences and consequently professional horizons.

Strategies for Continuous Learning and Community Engagement

Attend Webinars and Training Sessions
Attend Qlik and partner webinars, product training sessions, and other events to stay current with new features of the product and advanced techniques on top practices in your field of data analytics and visualization.

Join Community Forums and User Groups
Join online networks like Qlik Community or LinkedIn user groups to interact with peers, ask queries, and share ideas and insights with other professionals.

Contribute to Open-Source Projects
Engage with others in open source projects around Qlik Sense, either extensions, connectors, or libraries, and contribute towards the bigger Qlik community.

Participate in Hackathons and Challenges
Participate in Qlik hackathons, challenges, competitions, and similar activities by partners. This will help showcase your capabilities to solve pertinent problems while learning from your peers or experts all at once.

Read Blogs and Articles
Stay updated with the latest trends, case studies, and best practices in data analytics and visualization through multiple blogs, articles, and other thought leadership regarding Qlik Sense.

Engage on Social Media
Catch up with the latest data analytics and visualization advances by following Qlik and industry leaders on social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Cultivating a Culture of Continuous Learning

Organizations may apply this to promote a culture of ongoing learning and community participation among their staff. The organization would be able to empower its talent to stay ahead of the wave, innovating and driving excellence in data analytics by letting it access rich training resources, engaging actively in the community forums, attending the community events, and recognizing/rewarding accomplishments in learning.

Conclusion

Mastering Qlik Sense requires much more than technical knowledge; it requires deep knowledge of the tool, its features, and accompanying best practices and advanced techniques. By following the tips in this blog post and learning from the community, you can become a great Qlik Sense developer and help companies succeed with strong data analytics.

Want to boost your Qlik Sense skills?

You’re at the Right Place. At Imenso Software, you will get the expertise, guidance and support that help maximize the value of a Qlik Sense solution for your organization.

Need to know how we at Imenso Software can help you empower the power of Qlik Sense in using all its capabilities for business success through data analytics? Contact us today.

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