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On May 24, 2005, QlikTech Corporation announced version 7 of its QlikView BI software. QlikView is an ad-hoc analysis tool and development environment that combines easy-to-use visualization, a memory-based data manager and a data transformation and loading utility. The product supports reporting and event-based alerting and is designed for users who need easy-to-use yet powerful ad-hoc data analysis. Developed in Sweden, QlikView offers customizable interfaces that support the user in filtering, combining and aggregating data to determine changes and trends. With QlikView, complex ad-hoc analytic views, dashboards and reports can be created through drag-and-drop assembly.
QlikView enables developers to design custom analytic applications using AQL, a proprietary object-oriented and event-based development environment similar to Visual Basic that has been designed specifically to support business intelligence analysis. Various control and data display objects can be arranged on a worksheet and then programmed to manipulate and present data. These custom applications are multi-user accessible while incorporating security features for administrative control of access.
QlikView (along with Applix TM/1) is a rarity among ad-hoc analysis software because it stores data to be analyzed in a memory-based data manager. Since memory access is considerably faster than access to relational or multi-dimensional databases stored on a hard disk, query response time can be dramatically faster for similarly sized data sets. QlikView 7 also adds support for 64-bit operating systems, dramatically enlarging the capacity of the memory-based data manager. Thus, using the tool’s proprietary data compression, QlikView can import, manage and analyze terabyte-sized databases. QlikView is one of a number of BI vendors now 64-bit capable (others include BusinessObjects, Crystal Reports, Hyperion, Information Builders, Microsoft and MicroStrategy). Ventana Research believes that QlikView’s self-contained database will have lower administrative costs than will relational databases or OLAP databases. Clearly, more memory may be required than when using a disk-based database. Nevertheless, with memory cost declining dramatically and likely to continue to drop for the next several years, memory-based data stores for analysis may prove to have advantages in tuning costs and query performance.
A zero-footprint web client is now included in QlikView 7. It adds to QlikView’s suite of clients that include a Java web client, an ActiveX web client and a Windows client. Integration with e-mail is now supported via SMTP. QlikView also now exports views and produces reports in the Adobe .pdf format. QlikView 7 also supports the creation of HTML pages with embedded interactive charts and tables. Microsoft Excel integration is improved as well. Ventana Research believes these integration features provide functionality comparable to that available in other similar environments such as arcplan, Business Objects, Cognos, Hyperion, Microsoft, Oracle and ProClarity.
QlikView 7 improves on the usability of prior releases by enabling report generation from views created during ad-hoc analysis. Thus, users can analyze data interactively and then build reports directly from analyzed data views. The new release also adds alerting capabilities; users can create alerts that will be delivered via e-mail or pop-ups or can trigger the launch of other programs. Overall, Ventana Research believes that QlikView 7 is stronger at enabling ad-hoc analysis than at reporting. Its alerting capability is comparable to the user-activated alerting capabilities of competing products.
The strength of QlikView 7 is its integrated approach to data management and UI development. With its scripting capabilities, QlikView can enable organizations to deliver highly customized interactive analytic applications quickly. QlikView 7’s support for 64-bit addressing adds the ability to analyze up to terabytes of data. QlikTech has established itself in Europe and is now expanding operations in the U.S. With other well established BI vendors already in North America, QlikTech’s ability to gain a foothold will be dependent on the company’s ability to articulate the product’s unique capabilities and to find market sub-segments that value those capabilities.
Organizations looking for a self-contained environment for creating analytic applications should consider QlikView. QlikView also offers an alternative to OLAP cubes where users need fast query response times. QlikView is more an analytic application development environment than an ad-hoc analysis tool. Deployment will require configuration and perhaps programming of the user interface. Nevertheless, highly tailored interfaces that address unique analytic requirements can be developed relatively quickly because the environment is optimized for developing analytics. Ventana Research believes that QlikView’s integrated data manager and UI development environment will be attractive to organizations not yet ready for an enterprise-scale operational BI software stack but still seeking the capability to create flexible analytic applications. Companies seeking to add a configurable analytic environment without a full enterprise BI deployment should consider QlikView 7’s suitability.
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