Qlik courts the business manager with easier analytics

Qlik Sense does not replace Qlik's flagship QlikView and is aimed at a more general user base

QlikSense allows anyone to do ad-hoc analysis of their data

QlikSense allows anyone to do ad-hoc analysis of their data

Continuing its efforts to bring business intelligence to the masses, software provider Qlik has released Qlik Sense, which is designed to provide business managers with an easy way to examine large data sets for insights and trends.

Qlik Sense runs on the same analytics engine as the company's flagship BI software, QlikView, but is geared more toward what the company calls "guided analytics," in which users can answer individual questions that they have about a particular data set.

The idea of preparing business intelligence tools so they can be used by a wider audience has been a goal for many companies.

On Tuesday, IBM launched a beta of Watson Analytics, which can help users step through the process of analyzing data, taking care of many of the technical aspects, such as cleansing data and choosing the best visualization.

And Microsoft has extended its Excel spreadsheet application with additional BI capabilities such as PowerPivot and the Power BI service.

Qlik Sense provides each user with a workspace, called a hub, where they can create and edit reports, dashboards, and stored queries. Qlik promises that the application is flexible enough to respond to new queries as the user formulates them. The software also provides a library of visualizations that can be readily used to graphically model data.

While Qlik Sense runs on desktop computers and touch-based devices, it connects to the data sources stored on a back-end server managed by an IT administrator, who could put in the proper security guards and assure the data is updated and synchronized across the enterprise. Qlik Sense can work with multiple data sources.

Qlik was one of the pioneers of desktop business intelligence tools, along with Spotfire and Tableau, that aimed to simplify the process of data analysis so that it can be used by more office employees, rather than being a specialized task handled by the IT staff.

The company serves about 33,000 customers and works with 1,700 business partners across 100 countries.

Qlik did not specify if Qlik Sense would eventually replace the QlikView product, but it did state that it will market QlikView for dedicated business analysts, as a platform to quickly build more complex BI-based applications.

A version of Qlik Sense without server connectivity, called Qlik Sense Desktop, is available as a free download for personal and small-business use.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
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