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QlikView vs Qlik Sense: is it time to switch?

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insightsoftware is a global provider of reporting, analytics, and performance management solutions, empowering organizations to unlock business data and transform the way finance and data teams operate.

The battle between QlikView and QlikSense has continued for a number of years, but the pendulum of public opinion seems to be swinging to the side of Sense. While both products have distinct data analytics purposes and target different audiences, it seems that the Qlik community is starting to favour the more recent, and more user-friendly tool.

There’s no denying that at Vizlib we’re in the Qlik Sense camp. But in this post, we’ll outline the pros and cons of both products and you can see whether you agree it’s time to switch.

What’s the difference between QlikView and Qlik Sense?

To be honest, the difference is rather stark. While they’re both Qlik products and are built on the same associative model, QlikView and Qlik Sense differ in more ways than they are similar.

QlikView. At its core, QlikView is built for developers to create a guided analytics experience. It enabled devs to move away from stacks and was essentially the start of the data analytics revolution. Today, it still supports the development of highly interactive guided analytics apps. And it generally appeals more to power users who want to build custom applications, play with data, and have the high-level technical skills to take full advantage of the software.

Qlik Sense, on the other hand, supports the entire analytics life-cycle and is built more for self-service BI. It serves both power and business users through an incredibly user-friendly interface and responsive design, often attracting new users because it allows anyone to create data visualisations without any technical knowledge. Combined with advanced capabilities like the ones we build at Vizlib and Qlik Sense Enterprise, the application becomes even more powerful and can be easily used for guided analytics as well.

The different approach to projects

Qlik Sense’s primary focus is to deliver a governed environment where business users can freely create apps and analytics without relying on dedicated IT developers or consultants. Though more complex apps and dashboards may still require a classic software development approach; Qlik Sense shifts the power more into business users’ hands with the help of augmented intelligence.

Requirements gathering

The goal of every new Qlik Sense project is to meet the requirements of the business user as closely as possible.

Understanding where the lack of efficiency lies is key to gathering requirements in Qlik Sense. In QlikView, it was always straightforward: you need a dashboard, you design it, and you and your data team are ready to go. However, if you want to empower more users to explore and analyse data themselves, you need to understand how they work. It is also crucial to identify the average user’s appetite for data analytics: are they confident to explore data themselves or would they rather have everything provided for them?

Another important aspect is understanding the level of technical difficulty. If there is a lack of technical capabilities within a project or a company, there is no point throwing set analysis at users or introducing the capacity of interactively creating data models in the load script. Keep it simple for all data users by using elements such as managed Master Key Items.

Lastly, the most critical aspect of requirement gathering is how users will utilise the app and what devices they’ll use it on. And this aspect is covered better in Qlik Sense than in QlikView. While QlikView was almost exclusively available on desktop, Qlik Sense is supported on all devices including mobile. Depending on where and how it will be used, there will be different considerations on the UX design, the context of the displayed data, as well as the level of integration with other platforms (for example, you can’t export to XLS on your iPad).


In QlikView, the implementation phase was predominantly developer- and IT-focused. Agile development processes introduced a way to maintain a close feedback loop with the business. While the same is possible in Qlik Sense, the question remains whether the implementation and adoption will be on a business-wide scale.

If the user becomes heavily involved in the development process, the implementation of Qlik Sense projects becomes more interactive. Instead of having close iterations with the business on their app, you can start actively involving the user in the development themselves. This could include building extensions for the users and writing the data model, as well as planning the architecture of the Qlik Sense environment.


QlikView is not very maintenance-heavy, aside from Qlik server maintenance and user training. You may need to respond to challenges about data being incorrect or the occasional user question, but it’s really all about the user consuming the app, and that’s it. If new ideas and requirements need to be implemented, those are usually written down and implemented in a new version of the same app. For static apps in Qlik Sense, where users cannot add content to the app, the same applies.

However, when the user has permission and is able to create their own sheets and visualisations in the app, the maintenance phase becomes integral in Qlik Sense deployment. As users can create not only their sheets but also promote those sheets to a community where all other users can view it, the maintenance phase quickly turns into a resource-intensive support phase. And, in a mature Qlik Sense environment, can become the daily job of a consultant.

In Qlik Sense, the maintenance phase becomes an interactive support phase, where the role of a Qlik Sense consultant closely resembles that of a DevOp.

Why is Sense rapidly gaining in popularity?

While we don’t have any scientific evidence to back our claims, we do know one simple fact – Sense is quickly becoming the tool of choice among business users. And here’s why:

The demand for self-service BI is growing and Sense offers independence and boosts data literacy. Sense has a user interface that makes it much easier for less tech-savvy users to create and publish their own data visualisations and reports. The added augmented intelligence together with user-friendly features, such as drag-and-drop, enables users to simply drag new data sets right into the application or leverage multiple data sources.

Qlik Sense is device responsive. Creating responsive applications in QlikView always meant extra hassle (as well as wasting document licenses), but with Sense, the experience is the opposite. The charts and navigation not only adapt to the screen size, but, easily transforms words to icons to save space, or icons can disappear entirely. Responsive design in Qlik Sense is executed to a very high standard.

Qlik Sense supports seamless deployment. Qlik Sense supports smooth deployment on-premise, in the cloud, as well as online and offline.

Qlik Sense offers a way to get data and insights fast. In a business environment, speed and agility are both highly valued. The need to get data and insights quickly and meet business users’ expectations is one of the key drivers for existing QlikView users to experiment with Sense. Many want to run it in parallel with QlikView — partly because they’re curious to see what the hype is all about and partly because it serves a real need within data-driven business organisations.

In his book “Mastering Qlik Sense”, Martin Mahler, co-founder and CEO of Vizlib, writes:

“If you are coming from a QlikView background, moving on to Qlik Sense at some point is very likely for you. While the technology is new and slightly different, there are many transferable skills, including the Qlik expression language with set analysis. But just because QlikView and Qlik Sense share the same name in parts, and the same data engine backend, it does not mean they are 100% identical. With Qlik Sense, a new way of providing data analytics using self-service is introduced. Qlik Sense is entirely web-based, and, as such, new programming languages, such as JavaScript, CSS, and HTML5 play a significant role. The key differentiator, however, is the extensibility of Qlik Sense, using the aforementioned programming languages. Building extensions, mashups, as well as integrating Qlik into other platforms becomes a stronger use case, and with it, new and different skill sets are required to implement Qlik Sense into projects successfully.”

One of the main reasons holding people back from switching from QlikView to Sense was the missing key functionality available in QlikView but not yet there in Sense. With Vizlib you can go beyond native Qlik Sense capabilities, getting easy-to-use, highly customisable value-added products for Qlik Sense that bridge the gap between the two products and make the transition simple.

What do you need to consider before migrating to Qlik Sense?

This isn’t about choosing a better solution, but rather about choosing the best tool for the job. So, before you make any decisions, consider the following questions:

  • Who are your main users and how will they use the application? What features are necessary?
  • How data literate are your users?
  • What self-service capabilities are required?
  • What will be your approach to data governance?
  • How much “power” do you want your users to have when they’re creating data visualisations and reports?

In addition, it’s worth keeping in mind that transitioning from QlikView to QlikSense will also require some upskilling.

And so, while there is a lot of overlap, the difference between the two technologies is evident in Qlik Sense’s particular focus on big data indexing, flexible deployment, and augmented intelligence.

Qlik Sense is essentially a modern, self-service solution. It provides the flexibility and scalability that businesses need in an age of rapid change.