In July, I had created a post about Power Bi vs Tableau for BI data visualization. The race between Power BI and Tableau is rather close, as is evident from the Gartner’s Magic Quadrant 2017. However, you must have noticed that there’s another player in the Leaders’ quadrant – QlikView. While its scores on ‘ability to execute’ and ‘completeness of vision’ could do better, QlikView is certainly a solution to watch out for. But is it better than Power BI? Not in my opinion. If you are about to choose a BI solution for your organization and are wondering which solution to go ahead with – Power BI or QlikView – let me make the choice easier for you.

powerbi vs qlikview

QlikView – Offers flexibility and simplicity and yet…

QlikView is one of the most flexible Business Intelligence platforms in the world. Qlikview’s USP ‘The Associative Experience’. They enable users to gain unexpected  business insights by understanding how data is associated and what data is not related. Conducting direct and indirect searches across all data anywhere in the application—globally or within a single field, is easy. The ‘unexpectedness’ is produced through the query-less filtering. When the user clicks on a data point in a field, all the other fields instantaneously filter themselves based on the selection made. This approach is made possible by in-memory architecture, which addresses the problems faced by the traditional disk-based and query-based BI tools. Most importantly, QlikView promises speed. Any user with sufficient processing power can analyze enormous amount of data and derive insights super fast.

However, despite all this, QlikView is not really meant for everybody. People who are not Data Scientists or Programmers can be intimidated by the high level of detailing and the solution’s free form structure. That limits the extent to which any organization, comprised of people fulfilling various roles, can utilize the solution. In addition, if you already use other Microsoft platforms and products, Power BI should be your default choice for a Business Intelligence solution because integrating it within your organization couldn’t get any simpler.

Not convinced yet? Allow me to compare Power BI and QlikView in just eight simple steps and help you decide:

First: Analysis and Content Creation – Power BI > QlikView

Power BI leads the race with visual and mobile exploration and authoring. While both Power BI and QlikView offer advanced embedded analytics, Power BI can demonstrate proven results while Qlikview has some catching up to do. Power BI is also better at SmartData recovery. However, both the solutions offer a similar level of support for advanced analytics dashboard.

Second: Enterprise Data Management – Qlikview > Power BI

Qlikview’s data storage capabilities and ETL are considered better than those of Power BI. Their focus on usability for the end customer, enables them to deliver better customer experiences.

Third: Ease of publishing findings – Qlikview > Power BI

QlikView excels at delivering intuitive applications that users find incredibly easy to use. Resultantly, users find it easier to publish, share and collaborate data and content.

Fourth: Infrastructure support – Power BI > QlikView

The race is rather close in this aspect. While QlikView equals Power BI’s standards in terms of architecture, security, and administration, Power BI does better at data source connectivity. QlikView depends on extensive APIs to integrate with the requisite business applications and system management software, and even with Salesforce. Power BI, simplifies support through integration with Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, Google Analytics, GitHub, comScore, Adobe Analytics, Circuit ID, Azure Mobile Management, Mailchimp, MS Excel, and many more.

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Fifth: Ease of learning – Power BI > QlikView

Working with QlikView would be easy for people with a Data Science background. For others, it would be too complicated. In contrast, Power BI, with its user-friendly interface simply seems like a much more advanced version of MS Excel.

Sixth: Ease of use – Power BI > QlikView

QlikView, having been built for analytical purposes, allows users to dive into the code itself, and experiment with models they create. That might be welcome to Data Scientists or hard-core developers. But for people keen to get their hands-on insights in order to make timely business decisions, this ‘feature’ can be rather intimidating.

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Seventh: Features – Power BI > QlikView

While both Power BI and QlikView offer a number of features, those of Power BI can be utilized by everyone, even individuals who are in Marketing, Sales, and other associated functions. Here’s a helpful summary from FinancesOnline that summarises these features.

powerbi features

Eighth: Cost effectiveness – Power BI > QlikView

The fee structure of for Power BI is straightforward. The desktop version is free, while Power BI Pro comes under $10 per user per month. The latest version – Power BI Premium – offers capacity pricing that helps optimize cost. In the Redmond Magazine, Andrew Peterson explains: “Power BI Premium splits licensing between content creators and content users. Content creators still require a Power BI Pro license. Need to add a new content creator? Simply acquire a Power BI Pro license. And when an organization needs to scale up or scale out the number of apps supported under the Premium license, it can either upgrade the Capacity Node level, or add additional Capacity Nodes.”

The fee for QlikView, however, isn’t straightforward, making it difficult to figure out which is more cost effective. The QlikView website offers two editions – Enterprise and personal. While the personal version, meant to be used on a personal computer, is free, the price of the enterprise version can be accessed only after contacting their sales team. By the way, when you opt for QlikView, you also get the QlikView Publisher – a data reload and distribution service, license for extranet server, and the information access server. However, as per anecdotal evidence, no solution can beat the cost effectiveness of Power BI; not even QlikView.

 powerbi pricing

qlikview pricing

Conclusion: Power BI wins (Unless you are a Data Scientist)

Every winner has an ace up its sleeve. For Power BI, that is the Microsoft suite of applications and platforms. The high level of platform workflow integrations and the advanced platform support for Cloud BI, give Power BI the edge over QlikView. If you already use Office 365 and SQL Server, adopting Power BI would be a no-brainer. Mobility provides an extra edge with the Power BI mobile app being connected to the rest of your software. This feature is priceless to Sales teams that require updated information and insights on the go.

Most importantly, the pace of innovation at Power BI is a welcome relief. The latest version offers improved Q&A, Quick Insights and Natural Language Queries. Andrew Peterson adds, “While charts and graphs tend to get most of the attention in Power BI, Microsoft has been continually working to improve the behind-the-scenes work on natural-language queries. The latest release promises to provide advancements in ways to query data. If you’ve been an analyst, or worked closely with one, you know that every dataset or report you give them pushes them to ask more questions. Both Q&A and Quick Insights have been part of Power BI for a while, but in this testing, they’ve continually improved.”

My Pick: Power BI

There’s no doubt that QlikView is a promising product. Bernard Marr, in an article in Forbes states, “The vendor has over 40,000 customer accounts across over 100 countries, and those that use it frequently cite its highly customizable setup and wide feature range as a key advantage. This however can mean that it takes more time to get to grips with and use it to its full potential.” That’s exactly my contention. Why complicate when you can simplify?

Power BI does that for me in a cost effective and user-friendly manner. Weekly updates, a familiar user interface, and a strong infrastructure network are just some of the benefits that are obvious with Power BI. For instance, now Power BI can make AI driven app recommendations. Microsoft has also made the Power BI desktop client available on the Windows Store app marketplace. Power BI General Manager Kamal Hathi in his blog post states, “Enterprises will now be able to easily push the latest version of Power BI Desktop to their end users, ensuring access to the latest and greatest features… any existing installations will automatically be updated, without the need for end user Windows administrator rights.” That sounds great to me! What do you think? Do you still feel QlikView has an edge over MS Power BI? Let me know why exactly by commenting below!

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