18 December 2017

Qlik NPrinting

What is Qlik NPrinting?

NPrinting is a reporting platform for Qlik Sense / View that makes reports available to users by distributing information directly over email or publish / push it in other systems such as webservers or FTP locations.

 

Main features

NPrinting is a report distribution tool that based on existing Qlik Sense / View apps. It allows to create reports that can later be distributed over email or delivered to other systems in different formats.

The platform has a web based management tool that centralizes configuration and management of the platform. The tool offers the possibility to install multiple nodes although offering a centralized management platform, allowing for scalability per the company’s needs.

Users have access to the Newsstand, which is a portal that maintains a copy of the distributed reports. Previous versions of the reports are available for download.

NPrinting works with main industry standards like Office templates, CSV, HTML and PDF that can be distributed to different types of destinations such as email, folder, HTTP, printers.

Implements Role Based Security that allows a company to configure what the end user will see on the reports that are received.

How can my organization benefit from this tool?

Need to distribute information over email

In some cases, it is necessary to regularly send reports over email. This tool allows to configure a schedule with the configuration of all the necessary reports that need to be sent over.

Another scenario is one that an organization wants to distribute information to customers, like a monthly summary of all the purchases and discounts applied, or how far that customer is to reach the next level for additional discounts or send a monthly sales report. This can be achieved by configuring an email to be sent using NPrinting.

Need to push information into other systems

For example, if there is the need to place a file with purchase orders to another company, NPrinting can write files into and FTP location. Obviously with this functionality, there is the possibility to interface with a multitude of systems as these are known standards from the industry that are often used and output is fully configurable (HTML, CSV).

No internet access

Imagine, for example, remote employees that even might have a company laptop but have limited or no internet connection during the day. NPrinting offers the possibility to have an offline copy of that data because as soon as the report is downloaded, it is available offline.

 

Cost of ownership

Licensing costs should be confirmed directly with Qlik.

Regardless of the licensing costs, this platform needs to run on a separate hardware from Sense or View. Running it on the same server as Qlik Sense / View is not supported, although technically possible.

NPrinting is composed by 3 parts:

Server

Component that manages all configurations, such as data security, user configuration as well as setup of all the “jobs” that send the emails over to the destination.

Engine

Takes care of all the technical part of sending the emails and make the information available. Multiple engines can be installed to increase the bandwidth available. All engines can be managed centrally in the server management.

Designer

Tool that allows to design the reports to be sent. Currently, Qlik Sense / View already built reports cannot be ported / used directly in this tool. All reports to be sent must be designed using the Designer.

 

 

How does it work?

 

1. Data is extracted using the reports already built in Qlik Sense / View (data only, not the actual reports)
2. Using the Designer, a report template must be built using the available formats, Office documents (Excel, Word and Powerpoint), HTML or CSV
3. Next step is to choose the format which will be received by the end user / app as well as delivery method
4. The last step is to prepare / configure the delivery method

Examples

Office

 

 

 

HTML

Data restriction / filters

Any security / data restriction applied in Qlik Sense / View apps is ignored by NPrinting. All the data restriction must be handled in Qlik NPrinting platform directly.

The only security applied (if it exists) is the one for the service account that is connected to Qlik Sense / View.

User configuration using batches

One of the main features that NPrinting allows is to configure the jobs (reports, users and user groups) using Excel files. This allows additional flexibility for projects that change more frequently, by allowing a method to import the entire configuration at once.

The disadvantage of this method, is that you need to manually master the Excel file or create an automated process to that generate it, as the tool doesn’t have any method to maintain all the configurations at once.

Pros

• One server can be used with multiple Qlik Sense / View servers
• Multiple different schedules for different purposes
• Data can be filtered (it allows row level security)
• Multiple output formats
• Integration with multiple platforms
• Integration with Active Directory

Cons

• Cannot use Qlik Sense / View already built reports
• Cannot trigger schedules externally (command line, for example)
• It needs to use an external tool to generate the setup configuration such as recipients, groups and filters which are part of the setup (for the batch option)

References:

 

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    Sérgio Lopes
Senior Consultant
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