Qlik Offers Cloud BI Software Road Map, Debuts Cloud Analytics Software For SMBs

Qlik extended its cloud-based analytics software lineup Tuesday with Qlik Sense Cloud Business, targeting departmental and small and midsize business customers. But an enterprise edition of the product won't be ready until sometime in 2017 or later.

Qlik, which is holding its Qonnections partner and customer conference in Orlando, Fla., this week, also debuted Qlik Sense Enterprise 3.0, a new release of the company's flagship on-premise business analytics product.

"Our view is that you are going to see an explosion of data within your organizations," both on-premise and in the cloud, said Anthony Deighton, Qlik's chief technology officer, in a keynote speech highlighting the new products.

[Related: Qlik Moves To Expand Partner Program Beyond License Sales To Include Services, Subscription Revenue]

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The new Qlik Sense Cloud Business "is an important step in cloud deployment and really sets us on a path for where we're going with cloud," Deighton said. "The vision we have from an infrastructure perspective is that our technology runs in [on-premise environments], in our cloud, and everything in between."

The new offerings extend the pervasive theme at Qonnections that Qlik, based in Radnor, Pa., is evolving from selling a single product, the company's original QlikView data visualization software, to developing a complete business analytics platform with multiple products to meet the needs of different types of users.

Qlik's product line reflects broad trends in business intelligence, Deighton said, including the increasing volume of data in hybrid and cloud systems, the move from "a report-centric world to an analysis-centric world," and the increasing importance of developers who build analytical applications.

The latter includes Qlik's growing ranks of OEM partners that build the company's business analysis technology into their own software products. One such company is Host Analytics, a developer of cloud-based enterprise performance management applications that is building Qlik Sense into its software.

By building Qlik Sense into the Host Analytics application, users can add insights from the Qlik tools to the financial plans and forecasts generated by Host Analytics, said Bryan Katis, senior vice president of products at Host Analytics, Redwood City, Calif.

"The key thing for us is, our users need to have a seamless experience. It needs to be simple and intuitive to use so they can adopt it with minimal training and minimal cost," Katis said. "And Qlik fits really nicely into that."

While Host Analytics is still fine-tuning the integration of Qlik Sense with its applications, some of the company's customers are already using the combined products. "They love the experience. They love the performance," said Ben Plummer, Host Analytics' chief marketing officer. And he said the mobile access has been especially popular.

Qlik now offers two cloud products: Qlik Sense Cloud Basic for up to five users and Qlik Sense Cloud Plus for work groups, the latter just introduced in January. The new Qlik Sense Cloud Business is designed for small and midsize companies and for use in departments within larger companies. Like other products based on the Qlik platform, it is powered by the QIX Associative Indexing Engine.

While Qlik Sense Cloud Business was unveiled this week, it's not expected to be generally available until sometime in the second half of this year. And a slide in Deighton's presentation detailing Qlik's product road map put the debut of Qlik Sense Cloud Enterprise at "2017+."

On Monday, the vendor unveiled Qlik DataMarket, an on-demand library of data that customers can add to their business analysis tasks. The initial offering includes financial and stock data, including company financials, from 35 stock exchanges around the world. DataMarket is available to users of both Qlik's on-premise and cloud products.

Qlik executives said Qlik Sense 3.0 would be available in June and the company is committed to releasing updates to the software every quarter.

Qlik Sense is designed to provide data preparation and visualization capabilities targeting "self-service" data visualization tasks carried out by business analysts without assistance from IT departments. That differs from the "guided analytics" focus of the QlikView product that requires upfront work from IT

The 3.0 release offers new visual search capabilities that can work across data and charts, and new tools for sharing analytical results through PowerPoint, Excel and PDF documents. The software's data preparation functions have been enhanced: Business users can load, transform and enrich data without complex scripting.

The ability of Qlik Sense to connect to Web-based data sources has been expanded with the 3.0 release, and new prebuilt connectivity options include links to Microsoft Dynamics applications, SugarCRM, MongoDB, Twitter and Facebook. The software also promises improved management and administrative functionality to meet security and governance requirements.

While Host Analytics has been incorporating an earlier edition of Qlik Sense into its EPM applications, Plummer said his company would likely adopt the 3.0 release at some point. And he praised Qlik's commitment to its cloud product lineup.

"That was really important to us, that they are committed to being a cloud-first company," he said.

Qlik also announced that the next release of QlikView, version 12.1, would be available in November with plans to update that product annually.

Deighton touted Qlik's product lineup against that of the company's rivals, which he didn't name but generally include Microsoft, Tableau and SAP. "I am happy to go head to head, toe to toe, with any other product on the market on visualization alone," the CTO said to applause from partners and customers. "But I know we can do so much more than that."