Tableau and Microsoft had better watch their backs because Qlik, the other resident of Gartner’s Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms Leaders Quadrant, is nipping at their heels. 

In fact by the time all of the news is announced at Qonnections, Qlik's user conference running today and tomorrow in Orlando, it might be primed to give its better known competitors a run for their money and offer some features that they don’t.

This morning, Qlik's management and products teams unveiled the advances that were built into the company's new Enterprise 3.0 release, including improved visual analytics, advanced support for custom analytics apps, embedded BI and developer innovations. 

The expectations were high.

But Qlik's team did not disappoint, if the reaction from the audience was any indication.

The audience actually broke out cheering as Hjalmar Gislason, Qlik's vice president of data, demonstrated visual data prep on the platform.

Qlik Grows Smarter

What was the big deal? "Our visual data prep is uniquely enabled by the worker," James Fisher, Qlik's VP of Global Product Marketing, told CMSWire. To be more specific, the level of a user's expertise defines the user experience. As users become more capable, they are enabled to dive deeper and work at more granular levels.

Fisher called this "progressive disclosure."

Qlik Enterprise 3.0 Capabilities

Qlik Enterprise 3.0 also includes a new development hub so that users can more easily take full advantage of the Qlik Analytics Platform for web mashups, custom apps, and extensions. It offers a new app integration API, a visualization API for programmatic creation of analytics, and a new integrated developer environment (IDE) plugin for Visual Studio.

Perhaps the best way to describe the platform's capabilities is to let you experience them for yourself. Brian Munz, senior manager of developer relations at Qlik and Speros Kokenes, a solutions consultant at Berkley Heights, N.J.-based Axis Group used data from the United Nations Refugee Agency to illustrate today's refugee crisis. One in 122 people in the world have been misplaced from their homes.

What do they do? Where do they go? You can access the viz Qonnections attendees saw here and see for yourself. Make sure to click around.

Learning Opportunities

Platform Differentiators

It's worth noting that Qlik Sense, the Qlik platform app, was inherently built for the touch form factor leveraging agile and responsive design. The application knows what size of screen you are working on and provides the right experience whether you're working with data on a phone in your car or a 100-foot screen at a conference.

Qlik also introduced a new paradigm for governance, "where it's an enabler, not a bad word," as Fisher put it. Extension data services were also a hit. When the platform becomes generally available next month, Qlik users will be able to access data from 35 financial exchanges across the world. "You can search on any number and on any word and find it," said Fisher. Constellation Research analysts Doug Henschen called this "a good move."

It's worth noting that everything that is available in the platform is also available in the Cloud, which may be a bigger deal than it seems. Forget the savings that come from not having to maintain your infrastructure, the fact that it enables internal and external collaboration and the API economy is key, according to Henschen.

Qlik Buys Industrial CodeBox

Yesterday as Qonnections kicked-off, Qlik announced that it had acquired Industrial CodeBox, the UK-based maker of QVSource, a set of 40 out-of-the-box social media and SaaS connectors that make it easy for users to include data from cloud-based sources such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google, as well as cloud-based applications including Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and SugarCRM, among others into their applications for deeper levels of insight.

Since Industrial CodeBox has been a Qlik partner since 2011, there was little risk involved in the acquisition. Anthony Deighton, Qlik's CTO not only knew that QVSource works, but also that his customers would be happy with it. He described his buy as a "tuck-in technology" that would help users prep data faster and offer them easier access to more data feeds.

Henschen told CMSWire that Qlik users will now have much to gain because "QVSource brings customers what they need to connect popular sources, including social networks, and to then blend, analyze, and then take action on data and insights that go beyond what is on-premises."

With QVSource as part of Qlik's offering, "There's no need to go to a separate vendor," said Henschen. He seemed certain that Qlik would do all it can to tighten the integrations and expand the portfolio of connection options.

The value of Qlik's partner community can't be understated, there are 1700 of them providing services, selling solutions and building on the platform. In a world where the BI and Analytics market is being transformed to one of self-service and speed, accessibility is key.