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Wayne Eckerson

Welcome to Wayne's World, my blog that illuminates the latest thinking about how to deliver insights from business data and celebrates out-of-the-box thinkers and doers in the business intelligence (BI), performance management and data warehousing (DW) fields. Tune in here if you want to keep abreast of the latest trends, techniques, and technologies in this dynamic industry.

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Wayne has been a thought leader in the business intelligence field since the early 1990s. He has conducted numerous research studies and is a noted speaker, blogger, and consultant. He is the author of two widely read books: Performance Dashboards: Measuring, Monitoring, and Managing Your Business (2005, 2010) and The Secrets of Analytical Leaders: Insights from Information Insiders (2012).

Wayne is currently director of BI Leadership Research, an education and research service run by TechTarget that provides objective, vendor neutral content to business intelligence (BI) professionals worldwide. Wayne’s consulting company, BI Leader Consulting, provides strategic planning, architectural reviews, internal workshops, and long-term mentoring to both user and vendor organizations. For many years, Wayne served as director of education and research at The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) where he oversaw the company’s content and training programs and chaired its BI Executive Summit. He can be reached by email at weckerson@techtarget.com.

QlikTech yesterday took a major step towards achieving its goal of becoming an enterprise business intelligence (BI) player by acquiring expressor, a data integration company.

expressor fills a major gap in QlikTech's emerging enterprise architecture. (See my previous blog titled "QlikView Goes Enterprise".) The new functionality will make it easy for QlikView developers to build and manage data workflows across multiple QlikView applications and maintain consistent definitions of commonly used metrics and data elements.

Currently, QlikView developers must manually manage metadata definitions using QlikView script, which can be cumbersome, time consuming, and prone to error. Adding expressor to the QlikView architecture will automate the process of building and deploying QlikView applications throughout an enterprise.

expressor Functionality

As a data integration company, expressor came relatively late to the market, launching its flagship product in 2008. Since then, the company has maintained a relatively low profile, selling through partners and to small-and-medium sized businesses with a small direct salesforce. Yet, the tool is a fully-featured and highly parallelized data integration engine whose key differentiation is its semantic framework that fosters reuse and standardization within and across data integration projects. Sometimes, late to market is better.

With expressor Studio, developers can create data flow objects that define commonly used metrics and data elements throughout the organization. The expressor engine then automatically maps sources and targets to the predefined objects, saving developers an enormous amount of time. This approach also simplifies data flows and preserves information consistency across projects.

Enterprise Deployments

expressor will help ingratiate QlikView with IT and data warehousing professionals who often view QlikView as a data shadow system that undermines enterprise semantics. QlikView customers can use expressor to build data flows for new applications or rewire existing QlikView applications to pull data from expressor rather than source systems. expressor enables developers to ensure that all QlikView applications apply consistent definitions to shared metrics and data elements.

In some respects, the acquisition catapults QlikTech past many enterprise BI players in the market that don't embed a data integration tool and rely on data warehouses or data marts to preserve enterprise semantics. The addition of expressor will enable QlikView to integrate more seamlessly with existing semantic repositories as well as create its own where no data warehouse or data mart exists.

To foster integration with existing data warehousing environments, QlikTech should consider developing migration tools that convert data flows from leading data integration vendors, such as Informatica, into expressor data flows. One expressor partner, Bitwise, has already done this. QlikTech should also consider investing in a data quality and cleansing tool to round out its newly acquired data integration capabilities.

Since expressor is already integrated with QlikView, QlikTech announced that it will begin selling expressor products immediately. Developers use the free Windows-based, QlikView Expressor Client to design graphical data flows. The QlikView Enterprise Server, which executes data flows in parallel across Windows and Linux servers, ranges in price from $60,000 to $120,000.


Posted June 13, 2012 3:36 AM
Permalink | 2 Comments |

2 Comments

Great food for thought, insightful once again, Wayne.
I fully agree with your analysis of the gap that it fills for Qliktech stack, and more generally between centralized and decentralized BI.
I believe also that it can help bring Self service BI further downstream on the information supply chain, empowering information experts to prototype "ad hoc data marts", while leveraging (and complying to) enterprise common semantics and sanctioned data when available.
As the acquisition moves forward, one point of caution is that the technology remains an information hub, not an data flow generator that flows only into QlikView. Obviously, Qliktech is interested to drive the data flow to their data discovery solutions. But what about the other target ?

Hi Jean-Michel

Isn't Expressor a data flow generator? YOu create data flow diagrams and then it executes them, mapping sources to targets. It can populate QlikView files today. But obviously it supports other targets, making it a universal data integration tool, which I can only think is a good thing for QlikView customers.

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