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Qlik completes purchase of Talend, boosts integration suite

With the acquisition, the longtime analytics vendor adds a data fabric approach and improved data quality and governance prowess to its burgeoning data integration platform.

Qlik on Tuesday completed its acquisition of Talend, adding new capabilities to the longtime analytics vendor's growing data integration platform.

Qlik, founded 30 years ago, was an analytics specialist for most of its first 25 years. Over the last five, however, it has built up a data integration platform with a combination of acquisitions and product development.

Talend, meanwhile, specializes in data transformation and data quality, offering a platform that enables users to unify data culled from various sources.

Both Qlik and Talend are backed by Thoma Bravo, a private equity firm with more than $114 billion in assets. Qlik, however, is in the process of regaining full independence, having filed paperwork to begin the process of conducting an initial public stock offering.

Market conditions have not been favorable for IPOs over the past year, however. Qlik -- along with numerous other data management and analytics vendors including SAS and ThoughtSpot -- is waiting until the market improves before making a final decision about whether to go public.

Financial terms of Qlik's acquisition of Talend, which the vendors first agreed upon in January, were not revealed.

Acquired capabilities

By acquiring Talend, Qlik both adds capabilities and improves on others within its data integration platform.

Qlik first expanded beyond business intelligence into data integration with the acquisition of Podium Data in 2019. A year later, it purchased Attunity, which has since formed the foundation of Qlik's data integration efforts. And in 2020, Qlik acquired Blendr.io, which enabled Qlik to add crucial automation features to its data integration suite.

In the three-year interim between its purchases of Bledr.io and Talend, Qlik focused on product development. It launched a fully cloud-based version of data integration platform; added a slew of connectors, with plans to add even more to enable users to connect to virtually any data source; and modernized its pricing structure.

With the acquisition of Talend, Qlik is adding application and API integration, a data fabric approach to combining data, and improved data integrity and governance capabilities.

With those added capabilities, Qlik now boasts a full-featured data integration platform, according to David Menninger, an analyst at Ventana Research.

"A few years ago, Qlik was not in the 'data' part of the data and analytics market," he said. "Through their acquisitions, their portfolio now includes a strong set of data-related capabilities. While there may be some overlap between the different acquisitions -- such as change data capture -- Talend certainly rounds out the data integration capabilities."

Donald Farmer, founder and principal of TreeHive Strategy, similarly said that adding Talend gives Qlik's platform a more complete set of data integration capabilities.

He noted that over the course of five years, culminating with the acquisition of Talend, Qlik has built up a suite of data integration tools that measures up to data integration specialists, including Informatica and Fivetran, as well as tech giants, such as IBM and Oracle, that offer data integration platforms.

"The platform stacks up very well against other data platform vendors, especially when you consider that Qlik has a powerful front end and -- through Attunity -- change data capture tools and one of the best connections to SAP data," Farmer said. "This is a formidable combo altogether."

He added that one significant addition Talend brings to Qlik's data integration suite is Stitch.

Stitch was an independent vendor before being acquired by Talend in 2018. Talend subsequently took Stitch's capabilities to build a low-code/no-code data pipeline tool.

More to do

While Talend adds a host of data integration capabilities that complement what Qlik already offered, there's still room for Qlik to add more features, according to Menninger.

All vendors offer certain capabilities that are strengths and others in which they lag behind the competition, he noted.

For example, Informatica has made AI a central pillar of its platform. The vendor developed Claire, an AI and machine learning engine built into the individual tools that make up the vendor's suite, in 2017. Just recently, it augmented Claire with generative AI to make it easier to use as well as broaden the data from which it learns.

Qlik did not have an AI engine like Claire before its acquisition of Talend, and Talend did not have one either.

A few years ago, Qlik was not in the 'data' part of the data and analytics market. Through their acquisitions, their portfolio now includes a strong set of data-related capabilities.
David MenningerAnalyst, Ventana Research

AI, therefore, is one area where Qlik could improve, according to Menninger.

"As a standalone data integration vendor … [Talend had] a competitive offering," he said. "One area where Talend may lag is in the application of AI to improve data integration and data management. AI is much less visible in the Talend portfolio [than in Informatica's]."

Farmer, however, pointed out that Qlik has been strategic with its acquisitions.

While it has favored acquisitions over internal product development as it has built up its data integration platform, its acquisitions have complemented each other to result in the construction of a competitive data integration platform.

That emphasis on acquisitions over internal product development may have resulted in less excitement about Qlik than other vendors that launch innovative new tools. But it has also yielded the steady construction of a strong data integration platform.

Once Talend's capabilities are integrated into Qlik's suite, another acquisition could add something new.

"Qlik's strategy with acquisition has been quite cautious -- mostly small tech tuck-ins. But with Attunity and Talend, there have been a couple of big strategic acquisitions too," Farmer said. "They are not the most exciting company on the market -- lack of analytic innovation holds back the buzz. But they are steadily and surely building the bones of a significant data platform business."

Next steps

Beyond AI, Menninger said he'd like to see both Qlik as well as other data integration vendors add reverse extract, transform and load (ETL) capabilities.

While ETL pipelines move data out of applications for transformation and storage in a data warehouse or other data storage repository, reverse ETL enables users to extract data that has already been transformed from its storage repository and send it back to an application or operating system.

"I'd like to see Qlik and other vendors fully embrace reverse ETL," Menninger said. "It should be just as easy to write information back to various systems as it is to collect and integrate information from those systems."

Overall, however, beginning with its acquisitions of Podium and Attunity and extending through its acquisition of Talend, Qlik has intelligently built up a strong data integration platform to complement its analytics suite, according to Menninger.

"In general, Qlik has made a series of strategic acquisitions that have broadened its portfolio and made it more competitive," he said. "Qlik was lacking in data capabilities prior to these acquisitions."

Eric Avidon is a senior news writer for TechTarget Editorial and a journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He covers analytics and data management.

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