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What, Me Worry?

Microsoft is making good on its plans to invade the business intelligence market with the launch of Business Scorecard Manager, a business intelligence server that's due Nov. 1. But at least one stand-alone analytics vendor says it isn't worried by Microsoft's foray into BI.
Microsoft is making good on its plans to invade the business intelligence market with the launch of Business Scorecard Manager, a business intelligence server that's due Nov. 1. But at least one stand-alone analytics vendor says it isn't worried by Microsoft's foray into BI.QlikTech is a little different than its larger stand-alone analytics rivals in that its flagship product stores data to be analyzed in a memory-based data manager. Memory access is faster than access to relational or multi-dimensional databases stored on a hard disk. Therefore, the vendor says, query response time is faster.

What BI practitioners want is simplicity, says QlikTech CEO Mans Hultman. Microsoft will try to tackle the problem by more closely combining analytics functionality with SQL Server data sources. Hultman cites research that says BI deployments take more than a year and a half on average, and many of them fail later anyway.

"It's unacceptable," Hultman says. "In this market, using the term 'underserved' is polite. To me, this is a market that needs to change."

In Hultman's view, Sweden-based QlikTech is delivering simplicity through its unique platform architecture. It's the larger BI vendors that need to worry about Microsoft, he says. Of course, he hasn't been the only BI vendor CEO to say he's not alarmed. Calm in the face of competitive danger is part of a CEO's job. But Hultman makes a compelling case that BI vendors that provide simplicity will weather the storm out of Redmond.

Besides, Microsoft was already QlikTech's major competition. When asked what product, specifically, is QlikTech's major rival, Hultman has a quick answer: Excel spreadsheets.