What is Qlik?

Qlik is a software vendor specializing in data visualization, executive dashboards and self-service business intelligence products.

Qlik is regularly rated by analyst firm Gartner as one of the top data visualization and business intelligence (BI) vendors in the market, along with Tableau and Microsoft. Qlik's primary product, QlikView, supports visual data discovery, self-service BI reporting, and the development and sharing of data dashboards.

The company's other main offering, Qlik Sense, supports more free-form analytics and allows users to build data and web applications through API connections.

Qlik Sense can be deployed on premises or in the cloud. The company also operates a product called Data Market, which provides QlikView users with access to a curated list of publicly available data sets, including census data, financial data and business filing data.

Both principal products run on Qlik's proprietary data engine, which connects to data stores and holds data in memory. This allows users to apply visualizations and manipulate dashboards through a drag-and-drop interface, rather than having to write code to manipulate data.

As with other data visualization tools, such as Tableau, Qlik's software is frequently deployed first by individual lines of business, rather than as part of a centralized IT project.

This has the advantage of helping projects progress quickly, but also raises the risk of data governance problems, which may include duplicated analyses, data silos and analyses conducted on outdated datasets. However, once business-line implementations prove value, some enterprises choose to standardize all departments onto the tool.

QlikView ease of use

As a self-service BI tool, QlikView is generally simple enough for most business users to pick up without requiring them to have special data analysis or programming skills. It's often used in marketing, human resources and sales departments, as well as in executive dashboards to allow upper-level management to track overall business operations. While no special skills are required, most organizations provide business users with training before giving them access to the software.

Qlik issued an initial public offering (IPO) in July 2010, but was sold back to private equity firm Thoma Bravo in June 2016.

This was last updated in October 2021

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