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This is the FAQ for the December 1st Talk to Experts Tuesday session on Qlik Alerting.
For the recording and transcript, please see TTET - Qlik Alerting on December 1, 2020: Recording & Transcript.
Environment: Qlik Alerting
Are there any plans to integrate Qlik Alerting into Qlik Sense, similar to what Qlik has done with InsightBot?
We do not have any plans currently, to do that integration similar to what we did with InsightBot. It remains a value-added product, one that integrates with Qlik Sense but it’s installed and maintained separately. There are no current plans for that right now. I do want to take the opportunity to say that the capabilities of Alerting are fully integrated and part of the Qlik Sense experience on the SaaS platform. If you need something more integrated, looking at SaaS could be an opportunity for you there.
What kind of data alerts can I set up with Qlik Alerting?
Data alerts are evaluations of a Qlik Sense application. With Qlik Alerting, you have the option of creating data alerts, system alerts and broadcast alerts. Data Alerts are monitoring changes among the data model in one Qlik Sense application. So you can use measures and dimensions and put a condition that is going to be evaluated on a schedule or every time the application is reloaded. For more information on the types of Alerts, please see Data Alerts.
To add to that, the different data alerts are really focused on looking at single value (no dimension split) or looking at a table of data that is split by a dimension. The actual validation against that, the conditions that are run against that will either return true/false if there is not a dimension or the true values if there is a dimension. So that’s where it really adds a lot of power. It’s really about the conditions that you can set to enable lots more after that.
Every upgrade we do on Qlik Alerting, at least half of the services are removed post a "successful" install. This requires us to follow the Help documentation to run a script to remove services, then run the install again. Is there an update as to when this issue will be resolved? Or is there a way to not run into this?
We do have plans to address that in the future. But when that happens, we do have documentation on the Help on how to mitigate that and solve the problem. According to the feedback we are getting, following the steps fixes the problem. So, we don’t have any problems after people follow the steps but we do have the intention to tidy that up a bit more and fix that.
Are there plans to open the API up to clients and partners, similar to what Qlik has done for Sense and NP? Having done a number of demo's lately, one of the biggest complaints is that Alerting does not use AD groups, nor does it allow for us to add people to groups in alerted in an automated way.
The API’s are actually there, they’re just not properly documented and supported. We’re looking into what is the possible causes of doing that. We keep talking about Alerting on premise and SaaS, but on the SaaS platform, the API’s are there fully supported but not yet fully documented. We are in the process of releasing the documentation for our SaaS capabilities.
For the AD groups, we know this is a limitation in Alerting today. There are different paths, so one is the actual syncing with AD and being able to have single sign on. The other piece is then how to we enable or set up groups for an alert. We have groups built into the product where you manage yourselves and through the API you would be able to adjust those sort of in a more automated way. So that’s certainly possible now on the Windows product. Whether we would sync with AD groups specifically, we’ve that discussed that as an option but we haven’t yet progressed on that partly because some AD groups could have hundreds of thousands of recipients and so you get into some edge use cases that probably are not the most sensible. So that’s the one thing we’re evaluating as we move forward with that.
What we are discussing so far is relying completely on AD groups. So we would drop our groups because we would always reuse those groups instead of syncing.
But bottom line is it’s something we’re looking into but not something that we can commit to or something that we can give any delivery time.
Are there plans to allow alerts to include chart objects? We want to send an alert based on data, with a link, as well as the image of an object to make the alert more meaningful. Not all recipients want to actually go into Qlik Sense.
That’s sad to hear, I love all recipients going back to Sense. That’s a dedicated one and the reason I say this is if I start giving you an alert, which is designed and meant to be a bite sized notification, something that tells you something happened, here’s a snippet of that. You can go check it out and investigate. That was the reason behind all the designs and everything we did. We wanted to that to be an actionable bite size notification. Sending detailed information, is that still an alert or does that become a report? So we do have a full report roadmap. That is partially going to be covered there. We don’t want to do too much when it comes to Alerting, but of course we want to integrate Alerting with other parts of the product. Reporting is definitely one that we’re looking into. So that’s a very long answer to say “maybe”. We just don’t know exactly how we’re going to solve this yet. We’re constantly taking feedback and understanding what is needed there so I would like to take this as an opportunity to remind you that we have the Ideas board on Qlik Community.
Are there any plans to support more dimensions at the moment to create an alert?
We don’t have any plans and the reason is this was done by design. If you add more dimensions to an alert, it doesn’t become that bite sized notification. It becomes a fully complex set of data report instead of an alert. So wanted to provide the possibility of just receiving that bite size notification and taking action on that. You do have options though, to add one dimension, a different selection and a condition to be able to accommodate some of the more complex evaluations that you need.
From a technical perspective, you have more than one dimension, you’re going to cross all the possible combinations of those dimensions. That can get pretty ugly quite easily. So by definition, it’s preferable to pick one that you can predict very easily how many rows you’re going to have so the definition of that condition and alert is going to be easier to control.
It also needs to be easy to understand. There are two sides, one is the technical side of making this happen, the other one is the a human consuming that needs to be able to understand and get this quick sight from an alert. We don’t want people to investigate the result of an alert. We want them to take five seconds to understand what’s going on. If they don’t’, they can jump back to the application.
The integrity of the data is dictated by that one dimension and multiple measures. Adding a second dimension, it’s really up to the user whether that makes sense or not. Often it won’t and that’s where we can get into issues. For roadmap items, things like being able to loop an alert by a second dimension, those kinds of possibilities are certainly there. So, raise them on the Ideas board to get the message back to us. There are certainly options.
Are there any differences between Alerting for Qlik Sense Enterprise on Windows and Alerting for Qlik Sense Enterprise SaaS or Qlik Sense Business?
On Qlik Sense Enterprise on premise which is client managed, Qlik Alerting is a value-added product. You license and install separately to the installation of Qlik Sense Enterprise. You integrate those two products in a way that you can create the alerts and you have an extension that you could use instead of Qlik Sense client to do self-service creation of alerts. Qlik Alerting also has a web interface for people to manage or even create and modify their alerts.
We collected feedback from people to understand a deeper integration is required. When we were porting some of the capabilities to SaaS, we integrated that as part of the product, as a single user workflow inside of the platform.
Alerting is not available in Qlik Sense Business.
Please see the recording (21:50) for a demo of creating an alert in Qlik Sense Enterprise SaaS vs creating an alert in Qlik Sense Enterprise on Windows.
We spent a long time trying to position alerting, by exception. Meaning that simple trigger based alerts should not be the alerts sent to senior management) OK for operations, especially as there is no NPrinting on SaaS). Instead expression based conditional alerts should be used for execs that are time sensitive and impact the bottom line. I believe that complex expression based alerts can be delivered with Qlik Alerting on SaaS? If so it would be good to demo an example or two. Also execs do not want then to look at an app, they want to share the alert for a member of the operations team to do something... Hope this suggestion makes sense.
The way you can create the alerts, they are conditioned based events. So you’re telling an engine to go there every time the data changes to check for this. We have the opportunity to create a multi-step condition. So you can this or that, we’re actually going to introduce this then that very soon as well. On the SaaS, it’s almost like a wizard so you don’t have to create the condition as doing a and be, you create it visually. So we’re improving and adding a few more capabilities of grouping things and doing this, then that in the conditions as well. So that’s going to allow conditions to be created for a more complex scenario of evaluations.
You’re going to receive the alert in your email, so you can share that. You just forward the email to somebody and say, “take action”. We also have a roadmap of allowing a human to take action like creating a ServiceNow ticket, for example. So we want to integrate this with other third party tools to start to become part of a workflow. An important thing here, we just announced an acquisition of Blender.io, which is a platform as a service type of software that we are already in conversations with to address situations like this. Basically, we expect to have not only actions that we can preset and wait for a human confirmation to happen but also an alert can start an action without any interaction as well.
Today the option to share is the ability to put the recipients to an alert or share the email and say, “take action”. We also want to integrate this for reporting as well so we can give you a little bit more context of the alert and you understand that better. If you disagree with the direction we’re heading, please go to the Ideas board and let me know what you would like.
We are also integrating with the new Mobile application process that’s going to receive the alerts there and those are going to be also available on your mobile device. So basically, on the go, you receive the alert, you get your mobile device and you take action right there.
Is the Qlik Alerting mobile app the same as the Qlik Sense mobile app?
We are creating a brand new, consolidated mobile app for Qlik Sense SaaS. Qlik Alerting remains the app for Windows and together with the Qlik Sense mobile app for Windows, you can use for on premise environments.
Do I need a Qlik Sense license to use Qlik Alerting?
Yes, Qlik Alerting is a value-added product, which means it needs a license attribute for your Qlik Sense Enterprise on Windows license. On SaaS, Alerting is a basic capability of the enterprise tier. So, if you have Qlik Sense Enterprise SaaS tenant, Alerting is automatically available there for you. It’s important to say here and clarify that Alerting is not available on Qlik Sense Business.
Where are the Alerting logs located?
They are in Programdata/Alerting. It’s normally a hidden folder but you can show hidden folders and it will be there. Each service prints its own log.
Alerting is not showing up in my SaaS tenant. How do I get Alerting?
Two things could be happening there. You could be on a Qlik Sense Business tenant and if that is the case, that’s exactly how it works. You’re not entitled to the Alerting capabilities so you will have to upgrade to Enterprise.
If you are on Enterprise SaaS and you’re not getting alerts, the we ask you to please log a case with Qlik Support so we can investigate. We did have some accounts that had a problem when we launched but I think we have solved them all. If there are any remaining cases there, please let us know and we can fix that as soon as possible for you.
There’s also a setting in the Administration, it is on by default but someone could have turned it off. So you will want to check that as well.
Our biggest concern with using the API since it’s not officially documented is that Qlik could decom and API, breaking whatever script, we create to do this. Will removal of API calls be documented in the SR notes in the future?
By default, whenever we take something out, we do that gradually. We like to give you a lot of time to fix it. We usually instead of taking out, we create a new one and the other one becomes obsolete after a while. But I think the first part is they have to be documented in the first place, and for Qlik Alerting on Windows it’s not and we’re in the process of finalizing for SaaS.
It’s a valid point that we’ve released the product, we’ve made some changes. We need to be mindful, that those are public API’s, we may not have them documented yet publicly that they are usable. We need to be mindful of any changes to them, make sure it’s communicated. We do try to minimize those changes.
Where can I find setup and configuration instructions for Qlik Alerting?
That information is available on the Qlik Help site. There is a section for installation that if you follow, you should be able to do it. There are also the prerequisites and downloading, so make sure you go through all the sections and it’s very well documented.
We do have lots of capabilities that we haven’t documented, as to not to confuse people with. We’re making it simpler, realistically, both the install prerequisites and some of the config changes that you make to change some of the security settings, the ports, even database locations. In the February release, we will have some newer documentation that will make it easier for you to know if you need to change some of the defaults.
Can you let us know what’s to come in February?
I covered some of those earlier, improvement to multi-step alerts, using the history of evaluations for notifications. There’s lot of small fixes and things like it bothers you but not enough for you to ask the question that we’re looking at that and making sure that we are addressing this so we are constantly monitoring how this is used and monitoring feedback.
On Windows, we do have some incremental improvements on system alerts, to make those much easier to kind of set and forget and be told when somethings not right. Also, one of the questions earlier was around a technical issue on upgrade, so we are working on that to make it as smooth as possible as we go forward.
I am receiving the following error with the Qlik Alerting extension: Could not retrieve User info. Check your extension settings or contact your administrator. Can you help troubleshoot this error?
There is an area in the Help for troubleshooting so this is probably covered. Most likely, the problem is that the extension is not be able to connect with the Alerting server. That may happen in, for example, the HTTPS is set up in Qlik Sense but not in Qlik Alerting. Therefore, the browser itself is blocking that communication. It’s not that Qlik Alerting is not responding, it’s the Qlik Alerting is not being called to begin with.
Other reason is, for example, if you’re running locally or something like that, if the user is not matching exactly what Qlik Alerting has, then it’s not going to pick it up.