My BI startup: Custom styled standalone Dashboard solutions
This might be a longer post (sorry for that).
I'm working as a junior ERP consultant in an inhouse position. I administrate a SQL based no-name ERP solution with a relative low market share.
I currently have the following skills: B.A. & M.A. in economics, SAP certified application associate in BI (mostly frontend work), Finacial Accounting certified Power User, basic knowledge of SQL Server 2014, Query Design, SSRS, SSAS (basics, never did a rollout), good Access skills (no VBA however), Power Pivot and QlikView (but only basic scripting), Advanced Excel skills (again no VBA), a little bit of RStudio plotting and testing.
What I cannot provide: Any programming skills ;(
What I could provide: Webhosting, VPN access, 1000€ budget for any licenses
What I want to do: I often design reports with tools like FastReport4 based on SQL queries. Sometimes I build access frontends for small SQL DBs. I often build reports to show certain data from our ERP system (like marginal return, top customers etc.).
NOW SOME CUSTOMERS asked me if I could build custom dashboards for them. My idea is that I spend some time with them evaluating if they have good and accessible data (like SQL server or ERP tools that export to csv). Then I will develop their dashboard needs (KPIs, statistics, graphs, drilldowns, grouping items etc.).
In a second step I would like to include a friend of mine's (Designer, specialised on interaction design and app design) knowledge. This means I need a solution that allows easy integration of HTML+CSS styles.
Please keep in mind that my customers are small businesses and cannot buy large servers or expensive licensed software. I would like to sell solutions for <1000€ and I want to build them within a few days (not months).
What would be the easiest/ cheapest solution to offer ? How can I offer cheap and simple dashboards ?
Ok, I'm currently testing QlikSense and Excel 2016 fully equipped with the BI Suite. I assume that both are fully flagged BI tools, that will help me make reports.
Now QlikSense reminds me of QlikView (Scripting is the same, joins and restrictions work as usual) but it seems extremely restricted in it's ability to fully customize each object. Also a lot of objects and settings seem to miss.
Is that true or is everything just way more hidden in QlikSense ?
I would not qualify Excel as a BI tool, because it is not. It is extremely misused as a BI tool, but as far as I know it is a spreadsheet.
About Qlik Sense:
For a lot of the options, they decided to just offer you the best practices. Some options are on the roadmap for future releases. There are also a lot of API's which offer you the option to extend it or incorporate it. I would sooner qualify that as extremely open than extremely restricted.
But don't take my word for it as the fact that I am a Qlik employee probably makes my statements biased. Read some third party comparison analysis about the different BI tools out there.
Yes - Qlik Sense should be a perfect fit for your requirements. Especially the open API for using the latest HTML5, websockets, CSS3 and much more. Creating mashups and combining it with OpenSource databases are perfect. You even have the Sense Cloud offering for up to 1 master user with 5 regular usersfor free.
Many many things are said about Excel+BI ... I don't know who or where it was said exactly like you quote it so it is hard for me to comment on it.
Popular tools - well actually all tools are more or less misused if you look at it closely - not all of the time - but to varying extent a bit or more of the time... Excel is not exception actually it is the prime example. If a hammer is the only tool in your toolbox then all problems look like they can be solved by a hammer...