QlikView and the power of gray

Published on the 08/08/2013 | Written by Newsdesk


Letting the mind wander can often throw up better results than a direct answer to an initial question. This associative thinking style can also be applied to software queries as the experts from QlikView explain…

QlikView provides what we call an ‘associative experience’.  Our minds connect data by association, allowing one question to lead to another question and then another, gradually drilling down and focusing in on the information. For example when we try to recall the face of someone we’ve met previously, we often think about whether they had glasses, what colour hair they had or where we met. We don’t forget everyone else; we just take them out of focus.

QlikView offers a similar associative experience for interrogating your business data, allowing you to reframe questions and queries to discover ‘hidden’ data that would not otherwise have appeared on a regular report.For example, if you wanted to know how to increase sales you could apply an associative process.

First we might look up the most popular products – a standard query – and then we might look up all the customers who have purchased those products  in the last six months – nothing unusual there, but then we could start to explore the ‘gray data’ by using the associative process. Gray data is data that isn’t associated with anything else in the system but is there none the less. It’s hidden data, if you like.

So far our search has showed us the people who have bought our most popular products in the last six months. But what about the people who haven’t? Using gray data and the associative experience we can ask the system to show us all the active customers who have not purchased this particular product in the last six months – and that is the list of customers who I should target for my marketing campaign.

We have countless examples from our QlikView customers of how they use the associative experience to let one question lead to another query which can be executed in the system in just a few clicks, as you can see in the video example.

So, while there may be edge cases where it’s necessary to hide gray data, we generally find that displaying all data in the associative manner is a unique and special advantage of QlikView.

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