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Active intelligence continues to guide Qlik roadmap

Automated integrations and a new collaboration tool highlight Qlik's roadmap, which the vendor unveiled during QlikWorld 2021, its virtual user conference.

The principle of active intelligence continues to guide the Qlik roadmap.

Qlik, an analytics vendor founded in 1993 and based in King of Prussia, Pa., first introduced the concept of active intelligence during its June 2020 QlikWorld virtual user conference.

Defined as the ability to deliver data and analytics to users in real time wherever they might be at a given moment so they can make data-driven decisions, active intelligence relies on automated integration to take raw data and transform it, analytics to understand the data and data literacy as a service to turn the insights into action.

With active intelligence as a guiding principle, Qlik has introduced features such as a SaaS data catalog; push notifications delivered to whatever medium users prefer, such as text messages and Slack alerts; and, most recently, a new mobile app that optimizes the Qlik Sense analytics platform for mobile devices.

Qlik also acquired Blendr.io to improve its ability to integrate with SaaS and cloud data storage platforms.

New Blendr.io features, Notes and Forts

During the QlikWorld 2021 keynote address, executives unveiled the vendor's product strategy and roadmap for the year ahead, and the capabilities added through the Blendr.io acquisition featured prominently. The company also introduced new features called Notes and Forts which, along with Qlik Blendr.io, are designed to foster active intelligence.

Qlik gave no specific timetable for general availability of the new features.

"The paradigm shift, and the move from passive to active analytics, is here," Mike Capone, Qlik's CEO, said, referring to the vendor's emphasis on active intelligence. "Qlik [is] helping customers go beyond the dashboard. We are delivering insights from all of your data -- in real time -- that drives impact."

Qlik CEO Mike Capone speaks during the vendor's virtual user conference.
Qlik CEO Mike Capone speaks during the keynote address of QlikWorld 2021, the vendor's virtual user conference.

The Notes collaboration tool enables users to add human perspective to key performance indicators, charts and dashboards to enable discussions across different applications throughout the analytics process.

In particular, the tool sparks conversations should someone be alerted to an anomaly that needs to be addressed and enables users to act based on the collaboration.

Forts enables users to securely bring Qlik's analytics capabilities to their data whether it resides on premises, in the cloud or in a hybrid of the two.

The tool extends the Qlik Sense SaaS platform into customers' data centers rather than requiring them to extract the data they want to use and returning it once it's no longer needed. And because the data doesn't need to be extracted, transformed and loaded into Qlik and then back again, whatever governance measures an organization applies to its data remain unchanged.

Connecting to data sources

Qlik Blendr.io enables automation and integration by connecting with data sources -- Salesforce, Slack and Google Ads, for example. Users can then create automated integration workflows without requiring code.

That automated integration, in particular, will be useful for Qlik customers, according to Dave Menninger, senior vice president and research director at Ventana Research.

"Blendr presents unique capabilities to tie the output of analytics into operational applications such as Salesforce and others," he said. "For decades, analytics has been disconnected from the actual business processes of an organization. The Blendr[.io] integration appears to be far simpler than API-based integrations that are generally required to tie analytics back to operations."

Similarly, Doug Henschen, principal analyst at Constellation Research, said the addition of Blendr.io's capabilities stood out.

"What's now called the Qlik Blendr[.io] automation platform is crucial to Qlik's push to activate data," he said. "It offers a way to tie together business processes that touch multiple applications and use analytics to compel action -- either automated or human driven -- rather than just informing action."

Active intelligence plus acquisitions

Qlik's emphasis on active intelligence over the past year comes after a series of acquisitions added capabilities that enabled the vendor to transform itself from a traditional business intelligence (BI) vendor to one capable of enabling customers throughout the analytics process -- from data capture and integration to analysis and insight.

In recent years, Qlik acquired Podium Data and Attunity to add data integration capabilities, RoxAI to add augmented intelligence and machine learning prowess, and Blendr.io to augment its existing data integration capabilities -- specifically with respect to APIs -- and to add automation proficiency.

In addition to moving beyond traditional BI, Qlik prioritized growth in the cloud and began releasing new features in the SaaS version of its platform before its enterprise version.

Keeping current

Taken together, Qlik's strategic moves over the past few years have kept its platform competitive and in line with trends in the market.

"Its acquisitions in data integration, metadata management, workflow and automation have been ahead of the pack and have given the company a broader play than BI and analytics," Henschen said.

He added, however, that other vendors have a similar focus on making data actionable; so Qlik, while perhaps at the forefront, is not alone.

"I do see actionable analytics very much becoming the next chapter for BI and analytics after the self-service movement," Henschen said. "This year, I've seen a number of announcements around making analytics actionable. It's about taking analytics beyond dashboards and reports and presenting them or automating with them where the work gets done within workflows and applications."

Similarly, Menninger said Qlik's acquisitions and focus on the cloud have positioned it well, as has its emphasis on active intelligence.

"Over the last several years, Qlik has tackled two broad themes that position it very well for the future. They've transitioned the vast majority of their analytical functionality to the cloud and they've significantly broadened the platform with data access and data preparation capabilities," he said. "[But] perhaps most impressive is the focus on active intelligence."

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