I’m just back from Qlik’s annual partner and user conference in Florida. Now as a privately held vendor, Qlik was able to share more of their detailed roadmap than they have in previous years.
Whenever a vendor goes through a change in ownership, analysts and customers alike watch for changes in leadership and roadmaps to see how disruptive the change will be. Based on the conference, it was re-assuring to see that the executive leadership is the same, the release cadence still fast, and if anything, the roadmap more exciting.
CEO Lars Bjork kicked off the keynote thanking the partner network, that is a strength for this vendor (see the BIA MQ). Frankly, I also like that Qlik looks at how data and analytics can be used to do good in the world, citing its work with Smile Train, Cross Roads Foundation, and DataKind, to name few. Fast Company ecognized Qlik for being one of the most innovative companies using data for social good.
CTO Anthony Deighton show cased the now, the near-term, and the future. In showing current capabilities and the IoT use case, I must say the customer Mesuri.io gave one of the coolest Qlik demos. Mesur.io helps customers analyze environmental data such as farmers and golfers on soil content and water and so on. The stage craft here was entertaining and instructive. Real-time can be difficult to demonstrate, so for this, they brought a mini basil garden to the stage. As Deighton watered the garden, the Qlik Mesur.io dashboard updated in real time.
Josh Good (aka as the BI Bake Off guru) showcased his five favorite things coming in the June release (previously dubbed Qlik Sense version 4, but Qlik will now go to month numbers for releases So Qlik Sense 17.060.00).
- Converting QlikView apps to Qlik Sense
- Visual data preparation with menu-driven options to split fields, replace values, sort, concatenate and so on. The script is still there behind the scenes, but less necessary, even for complex things like bucketing data.
- New charts and color intelligence. There are a number of new visualizations such as Histogram, treemap, box plot. Well, the skeptic in me just has to see what is truly out of the box versus extensions, but I particularly liked the new distribution plot.
- Qlik’s out of the box capabilities for mapping improved with its recent acquisition of Idevio (see Critical Capabilities for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms). But this includes drive time abilities. I did find it interesting that there are still many partner solutions for mapping, all with different capabilities, levels of maturity, and costs.
- Advanced analytic integration. They are now integrated with R and Python, a gap in earlier versions of the product.
- Mobile Offline. Truth be told, this didn’t make Josh Good’s list, but product manager Vinay Kapoor crashed Good’s session to add this one. What I like about this is that it is interactive (not static) and customers can take a slice of data.
Beyond the near term enhancements, Qlik’s next big themes include :
- QIX big data indexing engine which lets you leave the data where it is
- Hybrid cloud platform, mixing cloud data and apps with on premises data and apps, across multiple providers.
- Augmented intelligence, which we call smart data discovery and see as the next wave of disruption (stay tuned for our Cool vendors report due out soon, or for now, check out the predicts note)
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