Reflecting on Qonnections 2015


I’ve just returned from Qlik’s annual international conference – Qonnections 2015 (everything from Qlik must start with a “Q”!). Its three days full of presentations, keynote addresses, product announcements – and its generally a really great time. I’m not going to lie though – its a little intimidating. There are thousands of partners of Qlik, just like Solve, from every corner of the globe – all of them doing great work in every industry you can imagine. There are people who work for Qlik – platform architects, marketing experts, and competitive product analysts. The other partners present are all of Solve’s competitors in a sense – though many of them operate in really different regions of the world – and the atmosphere of the conference is collaborative and inspiring. Solve’s other software partner, Microsoft, could learn a few things from the way Qlik has setup their partner ecosystem to support the partners and serve customers. Ultimately, that’s what its about for Solve – finding the software with which we can serve our customers best!

I’m really satisfied with the direction Qlik is taking their platform (a big buzzword at the conference) – you can see a full list of announcements made at the conference here: . The BI software market is currently split on a continuum between what are commonly referred to as “Stack Vendors” (multi-tier complex systems with many moving parts) on one end and simple “single purpose BI tools” on the other. In my mind, Qlik is positioned right in the middle of this continuum with their new Qlik Sense Enterprise 2.0 platform:

  • For companies just getting started with BI, or introducing it to a new functional area, Qlik Sense Enterprise makes a ton of “sense” with beautiful BI interfaces backed by outstanding data governance tools – it is far more than just a “tool”. I love the way Qlik makes it possible to deliver “self service” that business customers want, while enabling IT to govern the whole thing – ensuring accuracy and compliance.    
  • For companies with existing investments in BI (via a stack vendor), Qlik technologies can wonderfully complement their systems by providing a drop dead gorgeous and easy to use interface, while consuming data from their carefully curated data marts.  Qlik makes a wonderful way to take the data the “last mile” to the customer – in a way that their end-users will love. 
  • For knowledge workers who need to explore their data in adhoc ways – Qlik Sense Desktop should be just as ubiquitous as Excel on their computers. Anyone can download it and start exploring their data for free in Qlik’s new freemium model:

And then there is the “platform” announcement. Qlik isn’t just a cool tool with lots of whiz bang “feature-function” goodies. Qlik has branded its “Qlik Analytics Platform”, which is a fancy way to say that their software is full of API’s and is extensible so that developers like we have at Solve can assemble great custom applications for customers with it.

And that’s the really important part for us at Solve – serving customers. Our customers come from all over the landscape as far as what data they have and how they need to leverage it to run their businesses. Most customers we meet don’t think a lot about what software to pick – they just need to use their data “today”. And here’s the really great news – the BI software industry is really capable and well positioned to serve them! It puts us at Solve in a great position to reach into a “rich tool belt” of software that we get to use to serve our customers. I’m excited about what the future holds!

David Fields

Principal of Solve. Directs our Northwest Arkansas team. Works closely with clients to identify, scope, and manage engagements that improve business results through Business Intelligence and Custom Application Development.