QlikView is one of a new generation of business intelligence platforms and comes with advanced data access and integration features, excellent extensibility and a good end user interface. Microstratgy on the other hand has a long tradition of satisfying enterprise reporting and query needs, but has always kept abreast of new innovations. This shows particularly in its mobile technology support. The table below summarises the comparison in terms of capability, performance, extensibility, productivity, value and finally the average rating.
MicroStrategy is in many ways a meeting of the old and new in business intelligence, and takes the positives from both. It is truly an enterprise solution meeting the less glamorous demands for regular reporting, complex dashboards and extensive admin, while offering up the sexier self-service BI users now expect from a BI solution. It is expensive, and for organizations with less demanding requirements other options will be more economical. MicroStrategy has been around a long time, and it shows in the maturity of its BI offering. The mobile capability is excellent, the boring stuff at the back-end is extensive (security, data access, admin etc), and at the end of the day almost anything BI is possible with MicroStrategy. It is common to hear complaints about pricing, but there is a certain element of ‘you get what you pay for’, and with MicroStrategy that is quite a lot. In any case there are free versions so that users can get a feel for the product.
Putting BI capability into the hands of end users has been a major preoccupation of MicroStrategy and the resulting tools compare well with some of the newer entrants (Tableau, Qlik etc). All the usual features are available – dashboards, reports, graphs, charts, tables and it’s fairly easy to use. MicroStrategy distinguishes itself from most of the newer BI entrants in its support for true enterprise BI. This involves reporting schedules, sophisticated dashboards, and making information available to as many people as necessary. Naturally MicroStrategy supports big data and a cloud solution is also available for those wishing to avoid infrastructure costs.
The mobile capabilities offered by MicroStrategy are industry leading and many large corporations have delivered mobile BI solutions to their workforce using MicroStrategy (Whole Foods is a particularly good example providing intelligence to store managers on mobile phones). This broad mobile capability is backed up by an optional mobile identity platform.
All-in-all MicroStrategy provides a mature offering capable of addressing most enterprise needs. A price has to be paid for this, but this is also true of other suppliers in this space (IBM, SAS etc).
QlikView BI platform has the ability to be all things to all people, and will satisfy business users, developers and enterprise needs. It sets the right balance between ease-of-use and sophistication in our opinion – something that very few other BI platforms achieve. We particularly like its extensibility and the ability to create new chart types and BI apps – there should be no running up against the buffers.
QlikView is one of the more sophisticated BI platforms to emerge in recent years. Unlike some of it’s competitors it does a very good job of producing a unified view of data (from almost any source) and the visualization functionality can be extended through a scripting language – if needed. Otherwise it’s drag and drop, as it is with most other offerings – but the scripting gives more head room. The greater sophistication means the user interface is not as clean as some simpler products – Tableau specifically. But for those not afflicted with a terminal case of laziness it is only a matter of a few hours before the interface becomes second nature.
The QlikView Business Discovery Platform aims to satisfy a broad set of users. Business users will find the integrated view of data empowers almost any type of query and the environment is ideal for the provision of self-service BI, allowing IT to set up a secure, well managed facility. But what really sets QlikView apart from many other products is the tools and functionality it offers developers wishing to build sophisticated BI apps. Extensions can be built using QlikView Workbench (a MS Visual Studio plug-in) – an absolute necessity for real enterprise BI.
The data integration capability, which is described by Qlik as maintaining associations between data, is certainly among the most sophisticated. This effectively means high performance for queries which might span several sources of data. An inference engine maintains associations between data, and aggregations are calculated on the fly for flexibility. Data compression techniques also reduce data volumes by up to 90%.
We should add that it does all the stuff you would expect – dashboards, charts, graphs, reports, tables, schedules, alerts etc etc – but if it only did these things it would just be another BI also ran.
QlikView may be the only BI platform your organization needs thanks to its extensibility, scalability, admin tools and rich feature set. It should certainly be on any selection short list.