On October 11, 2010, Gartner released a report titled, "SWOT: QlikTech, Business Intelligence Platforms, Worldwide." (A SWOT analysis covers strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.) According to the report, "In the past four years, QlikTech has been one of the fastest-growing vendors in the business intelligence platform market, underscoring the strength of the company's offering. However, to reach a broader market and maintain growth, QlikTech needs to address some challenges."

We are proud that Gartner called out the strength of our user experience (because if users don't adopt the software, nothing else really matters), midmarket and departmental adoption, scalable business model, and low time and cost of implementation. We consistently hear this kind of feedback from customers and industry analysts. (See related blog articles here and here.) But we aren't resting on our laurels. While we just announced QlikView 10 this week, our R&D and product management teams are already hard at work on QlikView 11.

I thought I'd take this opportunity to address a few of the weaknesses Gartner listed, and share with you some insights into where QlikTech is headed.

  • Product vision. We've got five themes on our 5-year roadmap: for everyone, webby, open and extensible, becoming the standard, and going to where decisions are made. Two immediate areas of focus for us are mobile BI and self-service BI. We already have a strong mobile offering available for iPhone/iPad, Android, and BlackBerry. We are using our QlikView Labs facility to innovate quickly in this area. (See related blog article and video here.) Also, we are laser-focused on the consumer enterprise. In our view, business software can never be too easy to use. We're focused on delivering business software that's just as intuitive, fun, and scalable as your favorite consumer apps. (See related blog articles here and here.)
  • Enterprise readiness. QlikView 10 provides a number of new capabilities to enhance QlikView's enterprise manageability. For IT pros QlikView 10 offers auditing, centralized user management, and centralized section access management from within QlikView Publisher. (If the Publisher administrator adds a new user to the centralized section access table, and fifteen QlikView documents use that table, all fifteen documents pick up that change the next time they are refreshed.) New functionality to make QlikView more manageable for designers includes linked objects for streamlining document layout management, metadata tags and comments for capturing supplementary information, and separation of load/database thread from QlikView so QlikView can use either 32-bit or 64-bit drivers for database connectivity. (For more info, see the "What's New in QlikView 10?" datasheet.)
  • Metadata model. QlikView takes a pragmatic approach to metadata. With QlikView, metadata management is optional and retrospective and developers can introduce metadata usage over time. We don't require a huge upfront metadata effort. QlikView handles three types of metadata-descriptive, administrative, and structural-and makes it available through the QlikView Monitor and a dashboard template. QlikView's metadata model is a centralized, automated collection, organization, and presentation of metadata for monitoring and distributed use within dashboards. The model is a collection of tables exported from QlikView.
  • Real-time data analysis. QlikView has supported real-time data feeds since QlikView 9. The dynamic data update capability makes it possible to programmatically update field data in realtime without running a script. Any QlikView field data can be updated directly in memory. Updated data is then pushed out to the QlikView clients from the QlikView Server.

Gartner's SWOT analysis is balanced and fair, with a solid mix of kudos and fair warnings. The report said, "QlikTech's focus on doing things differently, as well as its fast growth and successful initial public offering (IPO), have resulted in a disproportionately high amount of press coverage, further enabling the company to carve out strong market 'share of voice.'" As a fast-growing company with formidable competition, we know we've got our work cut out for us. But we're up for the challenge and moving full-steam ahead!