Follow The Leader

Qlik was modern BI...before modern BI.

Back in 2014 I joined Qlik for one simple reason, I believed in the company. This investment in my personal future was based on a firm belief in Qlik’s strategy, product vision, community and team. A decision based on looking at all the data available to me and talking to customers and partners to give me the whole story.

Having done so, it goes without saying that I’m delighted when large IT analyst firms position Qlik as a leader in modern BI. In fact, in the most recent example of this, Qlik can today claim to have been a leader for seven consecutive years, quite an achievement. Or is it?

Truth be told, it’s not that surprising to me as after all I know about Qlik. I’ve done my research. I know Qlik defined data discovery, lead the decentralization of traditional BI to empower business users and established the basis for true governed self-service visual analytics. Simply put, Qlik was a modern BI platform, before modern BI was conceived as a term or anyone else could attempt imitation. So yes, it’s right that Qlik is a leader but there is more to it.

While a picture is worth a thousand words, in the world of best practice data visualization we all know a visualization that’s misused or misinterpreted can be more hindrance than help. It’s important to look at all the context and detail. We also know from looking at Qlik’s core differentiator only seeing a partial view negatively impacts important business decisions. So, let me explain what I think is important to keep in mind about Qlik’s market position so you can see the whole story.

Market momentum without distraction and technical debt

Qlik’s momentum in the market as we go into 2017 is second to none. As a private, profitable growth company that is increasing investment in R&D, Qlik is ideally positioned to execute on its clear vision for hybrid cloud analytics as my friend Drew Clarke makes very clear in his very first Qlik Blog post. Moreover, free from any semblance of distraction Qlik Sense, with nine releases to its credit is today one of the fastest growing BI solutions available in the market with enterprise maturity beyond its years, and frankly that of its so-called peers. What’s more, Qlik has reached a place, where now free of the technical debt that will drag others down, it can freely invest and focus on extending its differentiation and increasing the long term ROI its customers enjoy. Qlik has done the hard work.

Associative is ‘Smart’ Data Discovery

Not just that, it’s ‘smart’ data discovery on steroids, or put another way, the associative engine is the steroid that makes ‘smart’, well ‘smart’. Not only does Qlik support integration with best-in-class natural language processing capabilities, advanced predictive analytics and enables an immersive experience including virtual reality integration through our open APIs, the native capabilities of the associative engine and our open architecture are the unique foundation for capabilities not easily replicated. The QIX engine works as people think, it intuitively seeks to understand all the possible associations that exist in user’s data, across all their data sources and allows them to freely explore that data, asking questions in any direction without restrictions or boundaries. In short it facilitates what many investments in neural networks are striving to achieve. It enables a unique search experience, associative data prep and profiling, data enrichments, suggestions, labeling, compression, truly smart and adaptive visualization, and indexing across big data sources. In short it defines ‘smart’ from data preparation, to finding patterns in data, to sharing and operationalizing findings. Got a better example of ‘smart’?

Where does #Qlik sit in the #BI market? Here's an update from some analyst firms:

‘Broad use case’ doesn’t even come close

I’m often guilty of talking about the breadth of use cases our platform can support but let me come clean. That does not even begin to come close to truly characterizing the opportunity, which incidentally is itself not defined by what a small sample of our customers and partners have done, but instead by the innovation they can drive in the future. The ability to differentiate and drive competitive value from data is not just defined by traditional end user driven use cases, but from an understanding of data and how this can be connected to all people and all ideas. So far more than simple dashboards or guided analytics, self-service data preparation, or even embedded analytics – the strength of the platform (a self-contained architecture that works in any environment, on-premise or in the cloud) lies in enabling individual end users and developers and enterprises of the largest scale to address any data-driven use case they can conceive. The basics are important, we can prove that, but I dare others to prove they can enable what data and analytics could be. At Qlik, this vision is only limited by the imagination of users, not the technology.

Value is not a cost, cost is not price

In October 2016, BARC ranked Qlik Sense #1 in Customer and Product Satisfaction, Project Success, and Business Value among large international BI vendors. This was a survey of nearly 3,000 end-users and it’s important because true value is based on all these factors. The most successful BI initiatives I have seen deliver a tangible ROI and do so not as an afterthought but by building a business case that understands all the levers of ROI, and as simple mathematics would have it, all the true drivers of cost. Our own value engineering process underlines this where the most common mistake is making an investment decision based on comparing only license costs of different solutions. Why? Because as much as 70%+ of the total cost of ownership (TCO) is not found in license costs but in deployment, infrastructure and support. Simply put: price is not a true reflection of cost and cost is not the only driver of value and here again the math stands behind Qlik.

I could go on (find me at a forthcoming analyst event or our own Qonnections event and I probably will) but for now I hope these four examples highlight my point. Pleased to be a leader? Yes. But is there more to it? Absolutely, and I challenge you to let us prove it.


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