Last week, at Microsoft's Business Intelligence Conference, I was excited to see that QlikView had a booth. There's been a lot of buzz about this little company. Gartner recently named them as a challenger in the BI space. They are positioning themselves as a BI solution that the business users control with very little IT involvement. As far as I can tell, here are their main selling points:
-No IT-built cubes. I can see why this is so attractive. Most contemporary business users see IT as their main stumbling block. Business users hate waiting so long to see business requirements finally make their way into the cubes. QlikView does this by creating something called "in-memory" cubes. Supposedly, you create the cubes using the interface and it stores them internally for you. All you need is access to the data warehouse.
-Lightening-fast queries. Because the data is stored in memory, response time is minimized and performance is increased.
-Intuitive user interface design. I didn't find it all that intuitive. It was OK, but I thought it was a little clunky.
Anyway, I think this company has some really neat technology, but it probably doesn't have much of a future on the Microsoft platform. Microsoft headlined Project Gemini at the conference. It seemed to me to be the exact same product, including using "in-memory cubes." They also used the phrase "empowering business users." That is the same phrase the QlikView booth guys said about their product. Microsoft demo'd Gemini and it looked exactly like MS Excel. They showed how they can build in-memory cubes, upload it into SharePoint, and share them with other business users. Microsoft said that Gemini was just another cube storage option. You’ll be able to choose between MOLAP, HOLAP, and in-memory cube storage. It was pre-beta (probably pre-alpha) and I think it spells bad news for QlikView. We’ll see how quickly Microsoft can get this shipped to us.
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