“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” – Supposedly Darwin from ‘Origin of Species’… or NOT
According to the most recent report from Gartner, no one vendor is fully addressing the critical space in the market for “governed data discovery”. Governed data discovery means addressing both business users’ requirements for ease of use and enterprises’ IT-driven requirements – nobody is really doing that. So, who will be the most adaptable to change and embrace the challenges of an ever-changing and increasingly demanding BI and Analytics market?
This year, Qlik plans to release a completely re-architected product – QlikView.Next – that will provide a new user experience, known as ‘Natural Analytics’. The lofty goal of QlikView.Next and this Natural Analytics approach is to provide both business-user-oriented and IT-friendly capabilities. According to Gartner, this approach has ‘the potential to make Qlik a differentiated and viable enterprise-standard alternative to the incumbent BI players.’
Will QlikView.Next be able to deliver the combination of business user and IT capabilities that are currently lacking in the market? Will Qlik be able to reinvent itself with Natural Analytics and deliver the “governed data discovery” solution that the market needs so desperately? Only time will tell; however Qlik is definitely showing all the traits of a real leader in the BI and Analytics space – once again, setting the bar pretty high. The vision and the guts are definitely there and accounted for. Will glory follow? That will depend on execution and delivery.
However, QlikView.Next is more than a year behind its scheduled release… so I guess we’ll have to rely on past behavior for now. Back in 2006, when Qlik carved its space on Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Analytics and BI platforms (BusinessWire article), it positioned itself right in the ‘Visionary’ quadrant and it has been delivering on its vision ever since. For about eight years, Qlik has been delivering on its vision for Business Intelligence, i.e. user-driven BI – Business Discovery. Given this track record, I’ve reasons to believe that Qlik will be able to deliver on its vision once again.
I also believe that leadership is all about having a vision, along with the guts and ability to execute on that vision. That is probably one of the reasons why Gartner came up with quadrants that organize technologies along two dimensions – ‘Completeness of Vision’ and ‘Ability to Execute’. For the past few years, thanks to its ability to execute and deliver on its vision, QlikView has been able to work its way to the leaders quadrant and secure its position (GMQ 2014) – by demonstrating excellence in both vision and execution. So, how is Qlik planning on executing on its vision over the next few months – what’s .Next?
Well, there are several features worth mentioning… but, we’d be able to review only a few here, namely:
Better and more advanced Visualization – With QlikView.Next we can expect improved graphics and design, simplified layout and navigation, redesigned user interactions, and WYSIWYG printing of screens. We are also going to have some new visualization capabilities based on the acquisition of NComVA – the “leading provider of interactive data visualization for the web with storytelling”. This will provide an increasing number of chart types, such as Choropleth Maps, Data Grids, Parallel Axes Charts, Scatter Matrix, Table Lens, Treemap, etc. along with Statistics eXplorer.
A Better Associative, Comparative, Anticipatory experience – QlikView has always had good integration with statistical languages libraries such as those generated by R and SAS. However, with QlikView.Next, advanced analytics capabilities are directly accessible to the business users themselves, in the moments when they are engaged in decision making. They will also provide a base set of analytic options and algorithms out-of-the-box as well as native intelligence about data types, such as dates, times, timestamps, etc. QlikView.Next will also introduce an expanded notion of extensions, a new ‘compare’ function to include in charts and graphs for comparative analysis. Most importantly though, users will now be able to develop analytics through simple drag-and-drop functions.
Reduce the amount of clients to one – QlikView.Next promises to combine multiple clients into one client that will ‘work equally well on tablets and laptop or desktop computers – both online and while disconnected’. To get to this point, using modern web technology will be crucial. That is why Qlik aims at using a single HTML5-based client, and have better adherence to the HTML5 and CSS3 standards. This will generate new interaction paradigms, making for great device optimization, so that the UI grid would adjust automatically to take advantage of the capabilities of the user’s device.
Better Mobility – Seamless transitions for users over multiple devices, along with better tactile, touch interactions and dynamic screen resizing are all part and parcel of QlikView.Next – Qlik’s mantra ‘build once and deploy anywhere’ has been used for quite a while now, but only now is beginning to live up to this claim. With the current version of QlikView (v11) you can indeed build an app and deploy it on any device. Unfortunately though, if you don’t build multiple versions of the same dashboard, your end-users will not have much fun. With a new ‘grid-based’ approach, QlikView.Next allows for automatic and intelligent resizing of objects to fit whatever screen is being used. The ultimate goal is to have full business discovery on mobile, and have the QlikView server power the experience. With QlikView.Next all aspects of QlikView will be allowed to be based on a mobile device, including development and administration capabilities.
Better Point of Access – A new AccessPoint will be available to the end-users with enhanced shared decision-making capabilities. Most importantly, QlikView.Next is trying to redefine the concept of “hub” so it would be an ‘entry point for users to begin their exploration, analysis, and collaboration’. The concept of ‘streams’ will be introduced as well, and end-users will be able to receive information on any streams or feeds they subscribe to as they are updated.
Better Insights – A compelling new capability of QlikView.Next is its new and intuitive approach to narrative and storytelling, along with users’ ability to create and share content, even by allowing users to generate and communicate insights by putting snapshots of objects on pages. “Users can take snapshots of objects, add them to pages, add external content, stylistic elements, commentary, and organize pages into a story for communication.” According to Qlik “this will make it easier for people to justify business decisions, sell their proposed decisions to others, and explain to others why a decision has been made.”
An Expanded Ecosystem – QlikView maintains a continued commitment to Qlik Market, and this will surely expand Qlik ecosystem and benefit OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) along with QlikView partners. Per Qlik: “We are investing in QlikView as the heart of an ecosystem, facilitated by the Qlik Market online solution exchange”.
Global Deployments – One of QlikView.Next goals is to increase and make easier global deployments, mostly through simplifying the delivery of cross-geography clustering, ensuring higher availability, and setting in place software licensing that support larger global deployments.
Improved IT Management – “QlikView.Next will bring a new underlying architecture for QlikView, designed from the ground up to support enterprise class Business Discovery”, with a special focus on hardware virtualization. This implies better management of users and licenses, along with a more user-friendly management console built for touch interactions. This will be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for configuring, monitoring, and managing QlikView deployments. We’ll also see more “QlikView on QlikView”, i.e. offering monitoring capabilities with a QlikView interface inside the management console for embedding a QlikView app. This enables IT professionals to monitor the health of their environments and identify problem areas and opportunities where they can take proactive action.”
Better Security – We’ll see more simplified and centralized security, with the introduction of a new concept, called ‘Streams’. This is coupled with an improved integration of emerging security technologies… I am hoping that moving forward a Kerberos implementation with QlikView will not look as ugly as the three-headed dog from Hades, which is what the authentication technology is named after.
In addition to all of the above, QlikView.Next promises a streamlined application deployment, new licensing models based on tokens, a strong emphasis on giving business users the ability to perform ad hoc analysis, and much more that can’t really be covered in a blog.
However, I trust that this is good enough as a simple and straight-forward answer to questions about what the key features of QlikView.Next would be.
In my next blog, we’ll see how QlikView.Next may stack up against other BI and Analytics platforms, such as Birst and Tableau… and maybe Spotfire.