QlikView 11 came out last month. Let me start by pointing out:
- As one might expect, QlikView 11 contains fairly leading-edge stuff, but also some “better late than never” features.
- The leading-edge stuff is concentrated in the general area of “collaboration”.
- Additionally, QlikTech is always pushing the QlikView user interface ahead in various ways.
- The “Well, it’s about time!” feature list starts with the ability to load QlikView via third-party ETL tools (Informatica now, others coming).
- QlikTech is generally good at putting up pretty pictures of its product. You can find some in the “What’s New in QlikView 11″ document via a general QlikView resource page.*
- Stephen Swoyer wrote a good article summarizing QlikView 11.
*One confusing aspect to that paper: non-standard uses of the terms “analytic app” and “document”.
As QlikTech tells it, QlikView 11 adds two kinds of collaboration features:
- Integration with social media, which QlikTech calls “asynchronous integration.”
- Direct sharing of the QlikView UI, which QlikTech calls “synchronous integration.”
I’d add a third kind, because QlikView 11 also takes some baby steps toward what I regard as a key aspect of BI collaboration — the ability to define and track your own metrics. It’s way, way short of what I called for in metric flexibility in a post last year, but at least it’s a small start.
That direct sharing of user interfaces is a cool feature, which every business intelligence vendor should offer. In an era of distributed workforces, when people can’t be assumed able to huddle around the same desk, it has value even for use among close coworkers. But it also should prove useful in a variety of more naturally remote use cases, multiple examples of which can be found in each of the areas of:
- Support (internal or external).
- Faceoffs — I mean collaborations — between two or more enterprise departments. Examples might include: manufacturing and purchasing, manufacturing and sales, or accounting and anybody else.
As for social media being used for BI collaboration — that’s generally in the air. For example:
- salesforce.com is pushing enterprise social media use broadly, and will surely increase its emphasis on the social media/BI intersection now that Dave Kellogg is there.
- Spotfire has announced similar features in its latest release.
- The more cumbersome side of the feature set (portal-based collaboration, emailing of individual reports) has been available from multiple vendors for years.
- eBay open-sourced a more dataset-centric version of the idea, just as Oliver Ratzesberger left the firm.*
*Edit: That didn’t turn out to actually happen.
BI has been a communication tool since the first green paper report was dumped on the first desk. And there’s been collaboration in doing analysis at least since it’s been possible to email .XLS file attachments. Still, BI is too often used as bludgeon rather than binocular. Hopefully, the current generation of technology will finally serve to change that.