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Data governance in QlikSense (Part 2)

April 7, 2016

 

What is the point of a Business Dictionary for QlikSense apps ?

 

Actually there are many, but lets list the most salient ...

 

1: Single source of truth for the implementation of agreed business rules.

 

2: A 99% reduction in post implementation maintenance where dashboard calculations (expressions) require change. Change once in the dictionary and all dashboards using the calc will be updated at next scheduled load. Why only 99%? for QlikSense where the business requires a change to the labelling of a metric, the developer will have to change this manually, currently QlikSense (unlike QlikView) does not support expression based column labelling, it has been requested, it is anticipated in a future release of QlikSense.

 

3: Self built documentation for users to refer to from the dashboard

 

4: Variables containing the expressions can be defined in QlikSense Master Items making them available to any sheet in the app. 

 

5: Opportunity for governed Self-Service.

 

QlikSense is great for Self-Service BI; however calculations can be complex that can potentially deter a user from creating anything more than basic dashboard using the default calculation functions e.g. Sum, Count, Avg etc.

 

Leveraging the business dictionary and master items in QlikSense a development team can create template apps that users will utilise with pre-loaded master items that have already done the complex work, such that a user only needs to insert the desired master item to their sheet object.

 

For example, let us look at the ranking of the top 5 claim cause categories, the ranking is based on the claim cause category with the greater count of claims, as a user it would be preferable just to drag/insert a predefined object to the chart dimension and not worry about the calculation which looks like this …

 

if(aggr(rank(Count({$<[Claim Cause Category]-={'Unknown', 'Not Recorded', 'Miscellaneous'},claim_notify_year={"$(vMaxClaimNotifyYear)"}>} CLAIMNO)),[Claim Cause Category])<=4, [Claim Cause Category], 'Other')

 

Hence a developer can create and test the calculation for a metric and then insert the expression to the business dictionary for wider application use.

 

6: Encourages/enforces generalised business stakeholder agreement on the rules and their calculations, thus providing a conformed view of any given metric/KPI in the data visualisation. Thus preventing misaligned understanding of calculations leading to differing outputs across the organisation, this is obvious in the use of spreadsheets, where users have their islands of data and their own interpretation of a calculation; this is un-deniable and should be discouraged!

 

In the next post, we will start looking at the architecture of a simple Business Dictionary.

 

 

 

 

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