by Cindi Howson
Earlier this month Qlik hosted its fourth annual analyst “unsummit” in which they shared the state of the business and product roadmaps.
In the life of an analyst, in-depth analyst briefings can be a great source of information, but they can also be a drag; we schlep somewhere far away, may or may not get useful new content, rarely get a bathroom break, and then return to a backlog of work (and in my case, dry cat water bowls and a Christmas tree that fell over…. but I’ll spare you those details).
Qlik has tried to put some soul into their analyst summits, often choosing unusual venues in remote places. The first year was in Sweden so we had a taste of the company origins. This year was in the hills of Austin, Texas. Yes, it was beautiful. No, I did not have time to explore, and boy did that spa look tempting. We can but imagine!
I have often said that it takes more than a great product to succeed in BI in analytics. Qlik may have a great product in QlikView and now Qlik Sense, but they have been challenged on some marketing and execution fronts. Last year, Rick Jackson took over as chief marketing officer, just as Sense was coming to market. I appreciated his candor this year that they stumbled in the launch and initial dual-product positioning. This also was the first time I’ve seen the same CMO two years in a row.
Some people may scoff —who cares about marketing?—it’s all about the product! But marketing provides clarity around positioning and important enablers like a customer conference, pricing and packaging. When a company is launching new products, customers need clarity around when to use what, whether through the messaging or the community that delivers those messages. So I’m glad to see some stability and improvement in this area.
As I wrote in this research note, Qlik Sense is now the lead product for new customer deployments. Qlik has committed to supporting its installed QlikView base and just released QlikView 12. There are no forced migrations or upgrades. But I suspect customers will naturally migrate to Qlik Sense at some point, whether for the more modern user interface, collaborative development, or for the greater extensibility.
Version 12 is the first major release to QlikView in several years. Two of the most important things QlikView 12 provides is a common QIX (Qlik Data Indexing) engine and support for Qlik DataMarket. With QlikView 12 running on the same engine that Sense runs on, there is better interoperability. Qlik DataMarket is a really cool implementation of prepackaged, ready-to-analyze data (weather, econometric, and more) that was first launched for Qlik Sense earlier this year.
For Qlik Sense, the vendor continues on its cadence of three releases a year. While there is much to come in improvements for analytics, data, and extensibility, one thing that I thought was most compelling was the launch of a new Qlik Continuous Classroom. Qlik has hired an expert in how adults learn and retain skills to enhance their self-paced tutorials. I look forward to taking this for a spin and to hearing from customers as they adopt.
As for what’s coming in Qlik Sense next year and what do we think – stay tuned: while you may have visions of sugar plums at this time of year, the MQ team has visions of dots and quadrants. We are mid process of rescoring modern BI and analytic tools and vendors.
In the meantime, wishing everyone happy holidays!
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