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Kelly Odell

- A blog for leaders
8 Jul 2009

Looking for a Good Benchmark? Try QlikTech

I just spent an afternoon leading a workshop with one of the most interesting companies I have been involved with in a very long time. The company is called QlikTech (http://www.qlikview.com/) and if you haven´t heard of them yet , you will and the sooner the better for your own sake. QlikTech impressed me for two main reasons: The Product and The People.

The Product
QlikTech has a software product called QlikView that is as powerful as it is simple. As far as I am concerned QlikView is the premier business intelligence software on the market today. Those of you who have followed me or my blog know that I have been around and I have seen some good BI software solutions and lots of bad ones. Oddly, most of the good ones I have seen have been “homemade” . Whether or not these BI applications are “homemade” or purchased from a software supplier most of them are either not flexible or very expensive or often both.

QlikView puts information (and analysis tools) in the hands of the people in a way that is easy to comprehend so that your employees brain cells can work on analyzing data and solving problems instead of trying to compile and understand the data. In a time when most of us are used to application roll-outs that take weeks, months or even years QlikView takes days. Many companies still spend more man-hours creating reports than actually using them but not with QlikView. In fact, it will probably take less time for a manager to create their own report with QlikView than it would take them to ask someone else to do it.

The People
The second thing that impressed me about QlikTech was the quality of the organization. In my working life I have had the opportunity to peek behind the curtains of many different companies and organizations. It is not often I run into a company that is truly and consistently striving to walk the talk in the way that QlikTech is doing. Don’t get me wrong, with the kind of radical growth they have had, going from a start-up to a major player in the global Business Intelligence software arena they have had their growing pains. The difference is that they are seriously addressing the difficult cultural issues and not just paying them lip-service.

The group I met was what QlikTech call their Veterans. In their terminology that means they have been employed about 5 years or more. Veterans they may be but hardly old-timers by most company standards. Nonetheless, these Veterans were part of the company at a time when the whole company could sit around a table and drink coffee together. Today they have employees spread all around the world and you would need a coffee table the size of a football field to get everyone around it. QlikTech is working consciously (and successfully) with managing their corporate culture instead of just letting the culture happen. They are listening closely to and acting on employee concerns and ideas. They are striving to keep in touch with their entrepreneurial roots while embracing the benefits of growth and profitability.

In short, keep your eye on QlikTech and if and when they get listed on a stock-market somewhere I am going to be first in line to buy some shares. This is a company that is going places.

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