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Qlik Makes Sense … the .Next Big Thing?

In my blog post about ‘Qlik Leadership’ – back in April – I pointed out how Qlik was going to reinvent itself and the BI market once again. A few months later Qlik Sense was released. Qlik Sense Desktop is a Windows-based desktop application, and I view it as Qlik’s first installment on the .Next wave of innovation.

“Just as Qlik disrupted the business intelligence industry to pioneer the data discovery category, the company is now helping transform the category as it matures to governed, user-driven creation” – per TDWI (see full TDWI Article).

Here are some features of Qlik Sense:

  • Drag-and-drop – interface that allows users to create dynamic visualizations by clicking on sets of data
  • Architecture – alternative to OLAP, with clear goal to avoid boxing the user into a predefined view of data-sets
  • Data-source Agnostic – the system works with many kinds of data, and multiple data-sources
  • BD Interactive Visualization – end-users create interactive visualizations of data that can be shared with others
  • Data Storytelling – for interactive explanations and discussions for presentations, and break out data in detail
  • HTML5 – publishing that allows results to be examined in a conventional Web browser
  • Free – for personal and internal business use

These are just some of the new features in Qlik Sense leading to a more and more “consumerized” analytic software.

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According to Qlik CEO, Lars Björk, complex Business Intelligence tools designed for expert users are being replaced with “consumerized” analytic software. “We are trying to do for business intelligence what Apple did for the phone industry”, Lars declared in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal (WSJ September Article and WSJ July Article and WSJ July blog post with CEO interview).

Making analytic technologies more accessible to a larger group of users, has the potential to grow the market to $28 – $36 billion, as opposed to the current niche market of $14 billion – assuming that usability improves, of course. According to Qlik CEO, simpler and easier-to-use tools could increase ROI in analytic technology by turning ‘consumerization’ into ‘humanization.’

Qlik is already offering a free version of its Qlik Sense Desktop with no restrictions on either personal or commercial use. Qlik described it as “server-based” and “enabling server-side development from any device, flexible mobile use, collaboration and sharing, custom development, and data integration.”

To be clear though, Qlik Sense is not just a new release of QlikView. QlikView and Qlik Sense are two different user interfaces to the same analysis engine, so some old scripts and old formulae usually work in both products. The main difference is that Qlik Sense uses libraries.

As for similarities, both products:

  • have the same Green-White-Gray selection logic
  • use the same calculation engine under the hood
  • have basically the same, or very similar, response times
  • follow the same data modelling best practices and principles

However, the two products were built for very different reasons:

  • QlikView is used for applications that are actually created by developers, BI and Analytics professionals, who put a lot of thought into data-modeling and UI, in order to deliver the applications to end-users that are limited when it comes to creating new visualizations. End-users still have the freedom to explore data, select, drill down and navigate in the information.
  • Qlik Sense is used when you want real self-service data discovery for a more engaged end-user. It is much easier to use when you have a touch screen, and adapts to different screen sizes and form factors.

In my opinion, at some point in time, we’ll see a convergence of both products, and end up using the same platform for both User Interfaces. Most importantly though, what do YOU think? Have you already started using Qlik Sense?

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Andrea Serafini

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