Published On: September 27th, 2018Categories: Case StudyBy 3.7 min read

The University of St Andrews uses NodeGraph to visualize and understand QlikView data

Institution: The University of St Andrews
Industry: Higher Education
Years using QlikView: 2009-2018
In collaboration with NodeGraph Partner QlickiT

“On trialing NodeGraph I found it does exactly what I need it to and it seems like an indispensable tool for any QlikView user with a sizeable estate. I’ve looked for a tool that does just this for a long time.”

Hannah Coutts,
BI developer at The University of St Andrews


The University of St Andrews uses QlikView to analyze their student records, student applicants, estates, research grants, etc. Although they find that QlikView offers extensive insights, they wanted a tool that could help them to understand and properly document their data.


Data collection and analysis have become crucial sources of both competitive advantage and customer acquisition. However, as the amount of available data increases, it becomes challenging for organizations to maintain control and understanding of their data. As a result, questions like “Where does the data come from?”, “How is it calculated?” and “Is it trustworthy?” become prevalent in all areas of business.

This subsequently creates a demand for BI functions to develop better, and more efficient, analysis applications, allowing for clarity and comprehension even within the most complex application.


NodeGraph enables you to investigate, visualize and discover hidden elements of your QlikView and Qlik Sense environment. By using NodeGraph, you can visualize dependencies within your data as well as see exactly where the data stems from. Ultimately, NodeGraph allows you to analyze your Qlik solution all the way from the data source to end-user applications, on a field level.

Overall satisfaction with the Qlik solution before installing NodeGraph

The University of St Andrews uses a Data Warehouse to supply data from various source systems, HR, Finance, Estates, Student Records, etc. Data is loaded into QlikView, transformed and stored as QVDs before loading into the front-end QVW applications. This flexibility to either perform ETL outside the Data Warehouse or to use the data as it comes is a great strength of QlikView. QlikView is a very mature product and offers a lot of flexibility in terms of front-end design, back-end ETL, section access, and associative filtering.

“We find there is very little that is not possible to achieve in developing reports and dashboards, particularly with the support of the Qlik Community pool of knowledge and extensions built by other QlikView enthusiasts.”

Installing process and initial thoughts

“Installing Nodegraph was very straightforward. There is a certain amount of set-up to be done, both in NodeGraph and in the QlikView file environment, to ensure you get the clearest understanding of your data flows. It also shows up all the orphaned test files lying around, but this is no bad thing for housekeeping.”

Using NodeGraph

“On trialing NodeGraph, the team found it does exactly what I need it to and it seems like an indispensable tool for any QlikView user with a sizeable estate. I’ve looked for a tool that does just this for a long time. When a field changes in the source system it is trivial to trace this change through to the QVWs affected. It even takes into account where the field is renamed or used for mappings.”

Understand data-flows through various ETL layers

“We have several legacy QlikView applications where the developer has left and there is little or no documentation. A large part of reverse-engineering another person’s work is understanding the data-flows through the various ETL layers but this is very time-consuming to document – I tried this myself in Excel a few years ago and gave up after several days! NodeGraph provides this information in seconds and is very easy to navigate. Occasionally there is a need to extract directly from source systems or look-up spreadsheets. From being a worrying undocumented wilderness it is now easy to keep track of these and know exactly what needs to be updated.”

Overall satisfaction with the Qlik solution after installing NodeGraph

“This product complements any reasonably sized implementation of QlikView. Now that I have it I couldn’t live without it. I only wish there was something similar for our Data Warehouse. My favourite feature is the ‘Last Modified’ heatmap, showing how long ago all QVDs were last refreshed. This has highlighted several missing links in our ETL process.”

Hannah Coutts,
BI developer at The University of St Andrews

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