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ISECON 2014: Baltimore, MD

November 6-8, 2014

Experiential Learning using QlikView
Business Intelligence Software

RJ Podeschi, Assistant Professor of Information Systems
Millikin University | Decatur, Illinois
rpodeschi@millikin.edu
Twitter: @rpodeschi

About Millikin University



Located in Central IL
Private, Liberal Arts Institution
Approx. 1900 students
4 Colleges
• Arts & Sciences
• Business
• Fine Arts
• Professional Studies
• Graduate programs
• MBA
• Nursing

Information Systems Major
• Housed within the business school
• Approximately 40 majors and 10 minors

Business Intelligence Course
• Information Systems elective
• Offered the previous 2 springs
– 10 and 7 students respectively

• Pre-requisite course: Foundations of I.S.
• All students had previously taken Database
course
– Data modeling
– SQL
– Various platforms (MySQL, Oracle, Access)

Business Intelligence Course Objectives
• Understand the strategic importance of Business
Intelligence and data analytics.
• Design and develop a data warehouse based on data
needs and user requirements.
• Extract, transform, and load operational data into a data
warehouse.
• Build a Business Intelligence application for
Dashboarding, Analysis, and Reporting.
• Practice system design architecture and concepts.
• Interpret data into informed decisions for
recommendation.
• Collaborate with a third-party client in teams to support
organizational data needs.

The Need for Business Intelligence

• Business leaders need BI for quick-and-easy
access to information, to make timely and
accurate decisions (Mrdalj, 2007).
• [Students] need to understand how data is
stored and be able to access and analyze it
using a variety of tools (Watson, 2008).

Issues with BI Software
• Teaching resources & support
• Lack of data sets, cases, text, BI software
training
• Lack of real-world business problems

Issues with BI Software



Complex installation requirements
Require server infrastructure
Require maintenance
Steep learning curve

• Examples: Oracle Business Intelligence, IBM
Cognos

QlikView for Business Intelligence
• Encourages users to follow the “information
scent” through visualizations
• Uses real-time ad-hoc querying in-memory
• Supports connection to various data sources:
– Excel, Access, csv, Oracle, MySQL, etc.

• Desktop platform
• Academic program support
• Free online training

An Associative Experience
• Text

Executive Dashboard

QlikView Load Script

QlikView Requirements





Windows 7/8 – 32/64 bit
Quick installation
Free trial available – qlikview.com
Free academic program
Online training
Online faculty community

Using Airline Data with QlikView



Obtain commercial airline data online
Model the data in a data warehouse
Construct dashboards
Analyze and report results

• Better prepare students to hit the ground
running through real-world business problems
(Wixom et. al 2014).

Skills Practiced





Data modeling for data warehouses
Extract, Transform, Load process
Handling large data sets (1 million rows +)
Wrestle with data quality issues
Building a user-friendly application
Data analysis and interpretation

• Hard to find a good mix of technical and
business skills (Wixom, 2011)

Experiential Learning
• Provided concrete experience, abstract
conceptualization, active experimentation,
and reflection (Kolb, 1984)

• Students had to wrestle with uncertainty. It
wasn’t prescribed.
• Incorporated peer review

Student Feedback
• “it helped me understand that it was I.T.’s job
to build and model data so that others in the
company can make better decisions.”

• “the developer has the opportunity to make
the data say what [he/she] wants. It
reinforced the need for me to be unbiased
and think about how I wanted to display the
data.”

Student Feedback
• “learned that it was more efficient to transform
data in QlikView as opposed to other wellknown tools like Microsoft Excel and Access.”

Conclusions
• QlikView is a no-cost, low-learning curve
software package that allowed students to:



Practice data warehouse skills
Build ad-hoc query applications
Practice data analysis
Build skills based on real data

What’s Next?
• Are these valuable skills that span beyond
the information systems major?
• Can QlikView be delivered to business
students who are not studying information
systems?
• What would the format of the course look like
and how would the learning objectives
change?

Thank you for your time.
What are your questions?

RJ Podeschi
Assistant Professor of Information Systems
Millikin University | Decatur, IL
rpodeschi@millikin.edu
Twitter: @rpodeschi