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QlikView Update Gets an Enterprise-Oriented Makeover

QlikView never pitched itself as an enterprise BI platform. With the new QlikView 11, it’s doing just that.

This month, QlikTech Inc. unveiled a new version 11 release of its QlikView business intelligence (BI) software. The revamped QlikView 11 boasts new social and collaborative amenities and a mostly platform-agnostic mobility story.

QlikView 11’s enterprise feature-set might merit the most attention, however. After all, QlikView never pitched itself as an enterprise BI platform. QlikView typically started out as a workgroup- or business unit-level proposition.

In point of fact, says Jeff Boehm, QlikTech vice president of global product marketing, QlikView actually grew out of the mid-market. For this reason, much of the beneath-the-covers work of its last few releases has involved fleshing out its enterprise feature set.

“We started heavily in the mid-market and built a name for ourselves as a tool that was very agile and rapid to develop and deploy,” he explains. “Over the last five [product] releases, we’ve continued to build out stronger and stronger enterprise capabilities, especially with [respect to] things like security, performance, and manageability.”

The new version 11 release builds on this, permitting IT to control how and where QlikView applications run (e.g., in a clustered or unclustered context), which Boehm says can help balance workloads, improve availability, and accelerate application responsiveness for certain users or classes of users. The revamped QlikView also offers greater granularity from a security perspective: IT can specify which users can download data from QlikView applications, as well as which applications can be shared -- more on this in a bit -- and with whom.

Informatica now offers a native connector for QlikView. “Informatica can have one of its targets be our optimized load format. Instead of having Informatica dump [data destined for QlikView] into a flat file or whatever, [IT] can have it directly write to what we call a QVX file, which is our optimized load format,” says Boehm, conceding that (at this point) connectivity is one-way only -- i.e., into QlikView.

Social Infusion

QlikView 10 offered some social amenities -- such as an ability to share bookmarks with other users -- on top of integration with SharePoint and other collaborative environments. Not exactly a show-stopping social feature set, as Boehm concedes. QlikView 11, he argues, ups the ante considerably.

For starters, it introduces a new collaborative feature -- dubbed “Annotations” -- that embeds a threaded discussion environment inside QlikView applications. Boehm and QlikView call this “asynchronous collaboration.”

This is to distinguish it from “synchronous collaboration, which QlikView 11 supports via its “Collaborative Sessions” feature.

This feature -- activated by a “Share Session” button -- permits a user to share an application context with one or more coworkers, who can remotely access that QlikView application and interact with the user in real time.

“If I want to directly connect with somebody else, instead of, say, waiting for a response in an asynchronous discussion [thread], there’s another new feature called Collaborative Sessions. I can have a user send a link [pointing] to what they’re looking at [in their QlikView application environment] to another user, and if that user is available and online, they can immediately jump into and look at the application in-sync with me. [These users] can together share a QlikView experience of analyzing and sharing data,” he explains.

Because Collaborative Sessions is HTML5-based, even non-QlikView users can participate via a Web browser. In such cases, Boehm says, a QlikView user is effectively “sharing [a] license” with a non-licensed user. QlikView’s security model permits IT to specify which applications can be shared in this context. At present, Boehm concedes, IT can’t share applications on a per-user basis: “Remember that in the QlikView environment, [users don’t] have a single application for everything they do: they have a patient app, they have a market analysis app, they have other apps. One can be shared, the other two can’t.”

Thanks to these and other collaborative enhancements, QlikView 11 actually delivers a “comparative” analytic experience, Boehm argues. It’s the kind of thing that happens whenever two or more users get together to point-and-click -- or touch-and-swipe -- on multiple fields in a QlikView application: “It’s the idea of having multiple selection sets at the same time in an application and being able to compare those in any way that you can think of,” he explains.

iPhones and Androids and BlackBerrys, Oh My

Earlier this year, QlikTech announced a plan to retrofit its server and browser capabilities to support touch interaction. It also announced that QlikView had been tested and optimized for Apple Inc.’s iPad tablet.

QlikView 11, on the other hand, has been tested and optimized for “all major tablet” platforms, according to Boehm. “We’ve also created an optimized version of this for smartphones. It’s HMTL5-based. Whenever [users] log into an application via their smartphone, it will automatically ‘chunk’ up the app into the all of the key graphs [or presentation elements]. This makes it a lot more legible than trying to squeeze an entire dashboard into a 3-inch screen,” he says.

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