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By Philip Duplisey – Director Consulting Services

QlikView has been described as a “Disruptive Technology”, but what exactly is a disruptive technology, and how is that affecting how we solve business problems? Wikipedia defines a disruptive technology as an innovation that disrupts an existing market. Using this definition, let see how QlikView fits this description.

  • BI Deployment Times – What we are used to: 18 Months*, with QlikView: 6.3 weeks.
  • Yearly Dashboard Cost/User- What we are used to: $35.58**, with QlikView: $22.41**
  • % Projects driven by Business Users – What we are used to: 41%**, with QlikView: 62%**
  • Customer Satisfaction- What we are used to: mid 60’s, with QlikView: 96%***

In addition, QlikView was rated first in Ease of Use, Score Keeping to KPI’s and Dashboard satisfaction and Usage by Gartner Research****. And BARC determined QlikView is #1 in customer loyalty, intention to buy more licenses and query performance*****.

Clearly, when it comes to BI solutions, QlikView not only exceeds expectations, but it does so, across all the many ways we care to think about business intelligence software. As a company, we regularly implement QlikView, and can personally relate to the enthusiasm represented by the survey results by our own clients. This is market impact, a part of the definition of what a disruptive technology is, but what is it about the  innovative technology that is driving this change in the BI marketplace?

So what’s under the covers of this technology that makes it disruptive? We believe it is the “associative” data model.

QlikView is unique in what it describes as being “associative” at the database engine level. Other vendors produce an associative like interface, but because the workings of the underlying database are still a variation of ROLAP, MOLAP or HOLAP technology, it takes time to build the interface, hence the typical 18 month deployment timelines.

QlikView has used the phrase “it works like your brain works”, which is another consequence of the associative experience. When we think of a problem we may have, we seldom solve the problem in a linear fashion. One of my favorite books on problem solving (yes I know it’s outdated by now) was New Think: The Use of Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono, which in principle is a similar idea espoused in the Medici Effect by Frans Johansson, which suggests we solves problems through an indirect, diverse and creative approach and not by traditional step by step logic. Traditional BI solutions are typically driven by IT, and require linear predefined thinking in the definition of how the end user will access the data, it takes months to change, and is essentially data centric, resulting in key insights missed in hidden data. QlikView by contrast has all the data available in memory. Not only does the user experience the result of his selection (query), but also has access to what wasn’t selected. This allows for a non-linear, what-if, insight driven approach to problem solving. It’s best experienced firsthand.

*Industry standard

** Aberdeen Group Survey – August 2010

***IDC Research

**** Gartner BI User Survey 2010

***** BARC: BI Survey 9, September 2010


About the Author
Philip Duplisey, Director of Consulting Services at Bardess, has been implementing enterprise wide solutions globally at Fortune 500 companies for 15 years. He enjoys enabling the organization to find value in their data, and presenting that data in compelling ways that lead to deeper insights and improved performance.