Qlik Acquires Attunity, Fleshes Out its Data Analytics Platform

Qlik dropped a bombshell on the data analytics community today, announcing it had acquired Attunity in an all cash deal valued at $560 million.

Attunity is the Swiss Army Knife of high-speed data movement. Many companies use its Replicate product to stream data from nearly every source system, including mainframes, Hadoop, and other complex legacy systems, to nearly every type of target environment. It is particularly valued for its ability to pass along updated data, otherwise known as change data capture, to minimize data streams and support an update-only ingestion process. It’s a key asset as organizations modernize their data environments and move from batch to streaming data architectures.

The fact that Attunity will now be owned by a business intelligence (BI) vendor with data management aspirations removes Attunity’s aura of neutrality in connecting diverse systems. Although Qlik will likely continue to offer Attunity products on the open market and not bury them into Qlik’s architecture, it will make some buyers more circumspect. This is what happened in 2009 when Oracle acquired GoldenGate, another CDC replication product.

Qlik Reasserts Itself

The acquisition demonstrates that Qlik is still a force to be reckoned with. When it was acquired in 2016 by private equity firm, Thomas Bravo, many thought it would quietly disappear from the scene. But this acquisition, coupled with its purchase of Podium Data last summer, dispels that notion. (For more on the Podium Data acquisition, see “Qlik Doubles Down on Big Data”.) We wouldn’t be surprised to see additional acquisitions in the future.

More importantly, the acquisition lays bare Qlik’s intentions and foreshadows the future of the BI market: Qlik’s goal is to become the leading enterprise data analytics platform. (See “Qlik Unveils New Executive Team and Strategy.”) In other words, Qlik is no longer just a BI player; it has bigger ambitions. It wants to be a one-stop shop for integrated data and analytics for large enterprises. In this way, it can do an end-run around its BI competitors—Tableau and Power BI—which have gained the upper hand in head-to-head competition for BI deals.

Besides its powerful visualization engine, Qlik has worked hard to improve the scalability of its in-memory database engine and integrate it with big data environments. It has also opened up its tools with a rich set of APIs and services to support embedded analytics and appeal to the developer community. Its acquisition of Podium gives it enterprise-class data integration capabilities, along with a data catalog and data preparation tools. Attunity provides the icing on the cake, giving Qlik even more bonafide IT credentials.

More to Come

Qlik still has ground to cover. It is still improving its cloud support and mobile capabilities. It needs to beef up its data science capabilities. Although it integrates with models written in R and Python, it needs to provide citizen data scientists with a robust platform to build and manage custom analytic models. Some BI vendors now do this. (See “AI is the New BI: How Algorithms Are Transforming Business Intelligence and Analytics.”) Finally, Qlik will need to open up its database to third party tools. This is a scary proposition for any BI vendor because it shatters long-held partnerships. But this is the final linchpin that will launch Qlik as a bonafide enterprise data analytics platform.

Other BI vendors are marching down this path as well, including Tableau, Microsoft, and Alteryx. (See “All You Need is Tableau? The Relentless March of a Data Analytics Platform.”) BI vendors will be met by database, big data, and data integration vendors who are all maneuvering to survive the transition to the cloud and the growing convergence of data and analytics. For example, traditional data vendors now offer analytics and visualization capabilities while BI and analytics vendors provide their data management features.

It’s good to see Qlik flexing its muscles again. If its hunch is right and a converged data analytics platform is the wave of the future, Qlik might once again find itself at the top of the heap.

Wayne Eckerson

Wayne Eckerson is an internationally recognized thought leader in the business intelligence and analytics field. He is a sought-after consultant and noted speaker who thinks critically, writes clearly and presents...

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