It was summer last year when the company I worked for decided they would invest in a BI tool so off we trekked to look for our suitor.
The starting point was the Garter Magic Quadrant. This helped us shortlist the options and therefore focus our feasibility study.
- Power BI
The decision boiled down to;
- Online community / support
- A well established, stable, local provider and development partner
Whilst cost is always balanced with benefits the conclusion we came involved;
- Power BI was too new and had a smaller comparative online community. Local partners were generalists. It also seemed more focused on cloud ERP infrastructure, which in a world of data security went against our IT security strategy. The query builder is relatively simple to use and the visuals are easy to get to grips with.
- Tableau was a close second. It has a good GUI & scripting facility and the visuals are by far the best on the market.
- Qlik had a relatively new product in Qlik Sense, albeit backward supported via a vast history of technical online support & community. For the uber geeks amongst us the scripting side of things seemed pretty unrestrictive and hence more appealing.
Our choice then..
Googling presented a number of local companies that dealt with Qlik Sense. We selected a few specialists, did credit checks to make sure they checked out financially and arranged visits to their offices.
We chose QlikIT of Rotherham. It was a great choice. They have been great development partners and I would wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone – QlikIT website
After a few detailed demos we were even more convinced that we could quickly implement a solution that would add value to our data. We would not need to make changes to our current systems and could pretty much grab data from all of our warehouses of data and keep it all on premises.
Qlik Sense is swift due to the database being held in server memory, which allowed for users to dive all over the place to quickly discover insights. You can develop it with a light touch approach via the GUI or geek out on what so far seems pretty unlimited scripting functionality.
Don’t get me wrong the visuals are still under development and seem a few years behind the latest web graphics but they do the job nicely. Could just do with tarting up a bit and adding some extra functionality. Qlik are very active with developments and release regular updates that always provide a leap in functionality rather than unnoticeable patches. There are also a decent number of free extensions (think apps / add ons) to enhance it.