Qlik CTO Anthony Deighton
Qlik CTO Anthony Deighton introduced new capabilities today at its user conference PHOTO: Mika Ahtinen

If anyone thought business intelligence and visualization provider Qlik would fade into the background after private equity provider Thoma Bravo acquired it for $3 billion last August, this morning should have quelled their fears.

"We are going to show you more than we have ever shown you. We have doubled down on investment," CEO Lars Björk told the crowd of more than 3000 gathered at the Gaylord Palms and Resort Conference Center in Orlando, Fla. where the company is holding Qonnections, its annual user and partner conference. 

Björk and CTO Anthony Deighton unveiled the next iteration of Qlik Sense, the company's flagship platform, and painted their vision for the years ahead.

The Right Math: Human + Data

Qlik differentiates itself from its primary competitors Tableau, Microsoft and the more than 24 other business intelligence (BI) and analytics residents of Gartner's Magic Quadrant for BI and Analytics platforms, with its patented "Associative Model" technology. Instead of running queries, Qlik users simply select a slice of data and explore it visually via bar charts, line charts, pie charts, scatter plots, treemaps and combo charts.

"Instead of Artificial Intelligence, we believe in Augmented Intelligence. People and data both play a role. People are at the center," James Fisher, vice president global product marketing told CMSWire.

“Associative allows for more personalization,” Constellation Research analyst Ray Wang told CMSWire.

Fisher explained that the best chess player in the world wasn’t a machine or a human, but a machine plus a human.

"And that's what you want when you are looking for insights in data,” he said.

Discoveries, Not Queries

With Qlik, insights aren't limited by the questions you ask. Instead of writing queries to learn why a certain product isn’t selling in the Northeast as you would with most BI solutions, you can ask Qlik to show you all sales data from the Northeast and let the data tell the story. 

“You might discover that the product isn’t selling in three stores, but that it is sold out in two others, providing a very different kind of insight,” Fisher told CMSWire.

Qlik also differentiates itself with its governance and the fact that Qlik is a platform, not a tool. The latter is notable because more than 1,700 partners build and sell solutions and provide services on Qlik.

Qlik Sense Updates

The updates announced today revolve primarily around Qlik Sense, the company’s flagship product.

They include:

  • New visualizations — Boxplot, Distribution Chart, Histogram
  • Modified desktop installation package
  • Smart search history
  • Advanced analytic integration with R and Python
  • Color Intelligence — Consistent color to master dimension by value
  • Self-service Data Prep for Application Developers
  • Qlik Connectors with connectivity to hundreds of data sources, including file-based enterprise programs, web-based sources and big data sources such as Excel and XML, Oracle, SAP, ODBC databases, Salesforce.com, Teradata, Cloudera, Bit.ly, Google Search Console, Google, AdWords™, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and more
  • Qlik Sense Mobile App with local QIX engine on native iPad app for offline use
  • Hybrid Cloud Analytics for spawning and assigning microservices workloads to on-premises, Qlik Cloud, Cloud Public
  • Associative Big Data Index supporting aggregated and drill-down analysis of big data

The company will do a gradual roll out of these features, with some available in June and others promised for 2018. 

Combining the Best of Human and Machine

Qlik continues to build on its platform that brings advanced machine intelligence and humans together. In other words, it’s not just about the data.

Or as Forrester analyst Martha Bennet put it:

Focus on human dimension really refreshing - focus not replacing people, but combining best of human and machine capabilities #qonnections

— Martha Bennett (@martha_bennett) May 16, 2017