At Advance, we work with tools like Qlik and Microsoft Power BI when delivering business intelligence solutions to provide actionable insights for our clients. Both tools are market leaders and each vendor has a slightly different approach in delivering new insights. We wanted to take a look at some recent changes in Qlik’s licencing model that enables a more complete BI solution and our view on areas to consider when looking at BI tools.
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Why would you want a BI solution?
BI offers new actionable insights into your business and will empower employees, deliver automated, efficient reporting and analytical dashboards. BI offers insights to provide new and improved:
Unexpected benefits along the way
When looking at a BI solution it is important to take a holistic view of what you are trying to achieve and the key ingredients in the solution. Here are some important considerations:
Guided analytics and distributed reporting or self-service analytics.
Is a mobile solution required?
Existing applications and business systems.
User skill levels / Experienced developers, business users or both.
Data / Access / Quality / Volume.
Time to value.
Maintenance - BI solutions often require ongoing development and support.
Cost needs to be looked at closely, and we mean the total cost of the software, consulting services and training to get a result. It is important to consider ongoing maintenance of the system. It is common for management to ask for further information, new reports, calculations, different formatting and inputs from additional systems.
One BI tool may offer better performance but if it is 10x the cost of its rival and the implementation and support costs are much higher, it will be a difficult business case to justify, unless there is some critical feature like security for regulatory compliance that is a non negotiable requirement. Qlik is very strong in security, backed up by its use in the finance industry by clients like Westpac and ANZ.
Qlik is a market leader in BI, with close to 50 000 customers globally. Let’s take a look at Qlik’s recent announcement about dual-use licencing and a short history of their BI tools.
Dual-use licensing means you can get Qlik’s modern platform – Qlik Sense: Simple, intuitive and visually brilliant and the original – QlikView: Versatile, complex and powerful. This is an interesting offer for existing users and anyone looking at implementing a BI platform.
Dual-use licencing allows companies to unlock both QlikView and Qlik Sense with a single license key.
The cost is a 30% uplift in annual Qlik maintenance. (*Qlik press release)
This is good news for existing Qlik customers offering access to both products at an additional cost.
Dual-use licensing offers customers a more complete BI offering for both guided and self-service analytics.
Qlik: Our Experience.
We compared many BI platforms when looking at better insights into our own managed services and consulting business as well as offering the service to our clients. Tableau was seriously analysed and considered, and very compelling with a lower cost to get started and great design. After many comparisons, we found Qlik was a better fit for us, more powerful and its ETL (extract transform load) capability was simply better. Tableau is a great tool with some of the best visualisations available. With Qlik, you can pull data from many different sources without the need for a costly data warehouse. Here at Advance, Qlik is one of the main tools we use when developing BI solutions internally and for our clients, Power BI is another key tool with its strengths and a high adoption in the BI arena.
Qlik really is one of the most powerful tools available and difficult to beat when comparing its ability to handle large data volumes and transforming data (matching records, merging sources, preparing for analysis.) QlikView is a genuine enterprise level BI tool.
Our experience with QlikView:
Ease in connecting to virtually any data source.
We are technical developers - QlikView is very powerful in its ability to manipulate or transform the data structure by using script statements and expressions in the Qlik load script.
Speed in building and delivering powerful insights right away. Even in product demonstrations we were able to connect to the data and build dashboards instantly.
Time to value can be as low as a few days.
Limited mobile experience with QlikView - We eventually built our own in house application to give us a better mobile experience and additional capability like distributed reporting and Excel integration through KPI Pulse.
A Short History Of QlikView And Qlik Sense. Why Two Products?
QlikView has been the flagship product from its founding in the early 1990s through to around 2014, when they introduced Qlik Sense. Since the launch, Qlik has arguably spent more of its development resources on Qlik Sense, a mobile responsive and more visually appealing BI tool. With that said, the 30 000+ QlikView user community has ensured Qlik release new versions of QlikView annually. Some speculate the move towards Qlik Sense might be to better compete with modern and visual data exploration platforms like Tableau.
From our experience, QlikView developers like us find it easier to get results straight away using QlikView when compared to Power BI and Qlik Sense. Important insights with drill down capability right away. QlikView may not look as visually appealing out of the box as Qlik Sense, but more experienced developers can get complex answers quickly, then make them more presentable for public consumption.
Users coming from a programming or data science background are more likely to find QlikView more flexible and powerful. In contrast, for brilliant looking visualisations and self-service analytics - Qlik Sense shines in this area and the mobile experience is responsive meaning that the platform automatically resizes objects. This is important when working across different platforms like mobile phones and tablets, all with different versions of operating systems. Qlik Sense wins here in delivering a modern mobile experience.
Key Differences And Strengths Of Each Product.
Qlik offers a leading BI solution and dual-use licensing is a good thing. It highlights that they want to offer more value in this competitive space and they need to. Power BI offers a comparatively low entry cost and provides a very good BI platform. You can read some of the reasons why we have seen a big spike in demand for Power BI here. Is Qlik the right solution for you? It is a powerful tool but definitely not the lowest cost option.
A thorough analysis of the project needs to be undertaken. Experienced BI experts can provide advice on which tool is a good fit based on outcome required with budgets and total cost in mind. This will help you make an informed decision on the right platform for your business.
Qlik’s new licencing offering is an interesting proposition for anyone looking at a implementing a BI platform. Current users of QlikView can continue developing and supporting existing deployments and try newer features in Qlik Sense for a lower cost than purchasing two seperate tools. This move will also grow interest and additional enquiries for Qlik.
If you are an existing user of Qlik or someone looking to tackle a new BI project, it is a great time to take a serious look at Qlik. There a many great BI platforms out there, Tableau and Power BI are also leading offerings and each has its strengths that really need to be considered and aligned to your business and what you are trying to achieve.
Want To Know More?
We’ve included links to additional content and useful comparison in the Qlik datasheet below.
Below is a great 5 minute video about Qlik’s April 2019 updates.