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6/16/2008
08:40 AM
Cindi Howson
Cindi Howson
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New Tools, New Rules

BIScorecard just posted an evaluation of QlikTech's QlikView, and I confess, this review has befuddled me more than others. The challenge with new technologies is in trying to figure out where they fit and whether or not they really are that different... So does "in-memory" BI make criteria like SQL-generation less relevant?

BIScorecard just posted an evaluation of QlikTech's QlikView, and I confess, this review has befuddled me more than others.

The challenge with new and emerging technologies is in trying to figure out where they fit and whether or not they really are that different. So I find myself thinking about cars and bikes and QlikTech.

When cars first came on the scene, bike enthusiasts were disgusted with those smoke-spewing machines that suddenly stopped working when cars ran out of gas (interesting that bikes are making a comeback in some cities). Sometimes innovations call for new evaluation criteria - with bikes and cars, features like pedals and gears simply don't translate against miles per gallon. So does "in-memory" BI make criteria like SQL-generation less relevant? Why do you need a data warehouse at all if you can load a full Terabyte of data in-memory?In talking with QlikTech customers, all enthusiastically declare they have waited years for this level of empowerment from either their central IT group or from other BI tools they've tried. Some of their comments are similar to those of Excel users who later (and still) suffer the consequences of spreadmart chaos. Other comments are reminiscent of early MOLAP (Oracle Hyperion Essbase, IBM Cognos PowerPlay, Microsoft Analysis Services) tool users who could build interactive data marts without IT's involvement.

So is QlikView really all that different or is it just a re-incarnation of personal and departmental analysis tools? I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle. QlikView's best "feature" is the rapid implementation time, without as much data chaos as spreadsheets and with more flexibility than traditional MOLAP tools. Sometimes speed-to-insight trumps a perfectly architected data warehouse and broad BI solution.

By the way, QlikView is not the only product that does not neatly compare to a single module within a BI platform. Tools like TIBCO Spotfire and Business Objects' recently released Polestar face similar challenges with product positioning. Even advanced visualization tools such as Tableau, Advizor Solutions, and Corda sometimes struggle with articulating where they fit in the BI spectrum.

I welcome your thoughts about these products and how they fit into your total BI strategy.

Regards, Cindi HowsonBIScorecard just posted an evaluation of QlikTech's QlikView, and I confess, this review has befuddled me more than others. The challenge with new technologies is in trying to figure out where they fit and whether or not they really are that different... So does "in-memory" BI make criteria like SQL-generation less relevant?

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