QlikTech CEO: Get Close to End Users
According to Gartner Group, the business intelligence market is splitting into two camps: traditional BI solutions — sold by the IBMs, Oracles and SAPs of the technology world — and the so-called data discovery platform providers led by QlikTech International. I talked with CEO Lars Bjork about making BI more relevant for more employees, and why QlikTech isn’t trying to bypass IT — the buyer of traditional BI solutions.
End users are the customers
Consumer software such as Facebook, Google and the Apple Store are easy to use, and employees want the same control with BI, Bjork said. So QlikTech’s software is “end-user driven.” Business users don’t need help from IT to define the questions they want to ask or the data they use to answer them. “The empowered consumer comes to work and he wants to be empowered at work too. He doesn’t want to be told, ‘Use this tool this way, and you will get your information.'”
Don’t leave IT out
QlikTech sells directly to business users, such as CFOs, or sales and marketing vice presidents who want to augment traditional BI capabilities that IT has delivered. However, Bjork said, QlikTech doesn’t bypass IT. “IT is involved in that [purchasing] process because they are going to host it, they are going to own the deployment,” and they will manage security and access.
Make demos relevant
A typical business application isn’t necessarily the best way to demonstrate what software can do. QlikTech has developed a series of demo applications designed to engage potential customers personally. There’s one for fantasy football, food, wine and World Cup soccer. “Because what happens if you use one of those, your data is relevant to you and you can relate to it and you get instant benefit out of it,” Bjork said. “That makes it a fun way of showing [our capabilities].”