A new developer-oriented analytic platform

Jan 20, 2016
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Qlik Embraces Platform-as-a-Product in New, Updated Offerings

Qlik recently fleshed out its Qlik Sense platform with a new cloud service and a new developer-oriented analytic platform, plus a new version 2.0 release of Qlik Sense.

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Qlik Inc. recently fleshed out its Qlik Sense platform with a new cloud service and a new developer-oriented analytic platform -- dubbed, appropriately enough, the Qlik Analytic Platform -- along with a slew of services slated to support these offerings. Qlik announced something else, too: a new, version 2.0 release of Qlik Sense Enterprise, due this month. After all, what would a platform fleshing-out be without a major refresh of the platform itself?

Qlik first shipped Sense last summer, pitching it as much more than yet-another-business-intelligence discovery tool. That's because Sense has all of the trappings of a visual self-service discovery tool -- viz., data visualization technology, guided self-service features, built-in data access features -- with a twist, according to Josh Good, director of product marketing with Qlik.

"We are the only vendor who's offering a full platform for visual analytics. We can do everything from straight-up reporting to guided analytics to self-service discovery," Good says, noting that "in that [self-service discovery] paradigm, visualization is just the first part of what you do. Our competitors talk about data data data, [but] we think people, social, is no less important to the equation. We talk a lot about collaboration, and one of our goals with the whole platform is to be able to optimize BI to harness the collective human intelligence across the organization."

It's one thing for Qlik to claim that Sense offers a "full platform for visual analytics" vis-à-vis Tableau, Tibco Spotfire, and other discovery-oriented vendors. It's quite another for it to make this claim about vendors (such as SAP BusinessObjects, IBM Cognos, MicroStrategy Inc., or SAS Institute Inc.) that also claim to address a "full" range of needs, from traditional (or "straight-up," in Good's language) reporting to guided analytics to visual discovery. What is the basis for his claim?

Good says that Qlik built Sense from scratch to address both traditional and non-traditional use cases -- from conventional, pixel-perfect BI reporting to data discovery, data mash-up, and data visualization applications. He describes competitive products -- especially those marketed by established vendors -- as something like Franken-platforms: offerings that have been cobbled together by dint of merger and/or acquisition, retrofitting, and new-product development.

The material point, Good maintains, is that Qlik Sense isn't in any sense a one-trick pony. Instead, he argues, it's one of several components in what might be dubbed a Thoroughly Modern Decision Support Platform. Qlik's Sense product, for example, can be used as either a standalone- or workgroup-oriented front-end tool -- ala Tableau and Spotfire -- or paired with the new Qlik Analytics Platform (QAP for short) to power an enterprise BI and analytic practice. New in Qlik Sense 2.0 is a "smart data load' visual data profiling capability. "That's going to look at data [prior to integration] and profile it as to just how you want to bring that data together. That's the beginning of [Qlik] getting much, much more intelligent about how we join multiple data sources together," Good promises.

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