Qlik vs Tableau – Top 10 BI Trends of 2019

Written By Chris Ramsay, Edited By Mae Semakula-Buuza
Fri 11 January 2019, in category Business intelligence

Data visualisation, Qlik, Tableau



Happy New Year everyone! Now the wonderful indulgence of Christmas festivities has been traded in for monotonous dieting and exercise, the New Year is really upon us. The question many have been asking is what 2019 has in store for us? Rather than focusing on the negative news events we are all constantly reminded of, I’ve decided to look at something a little more positive, the world of data and BI. Qlik and Tableau have both now released their top 10 BI trends of 2019. I’d like to look at where the views of these two BI giants agree and differ.

BI Trends of 2019

First of all, it is best to establish what each side is saying. Stated below are the top 10 trends posed by each technology. I have given each a code, a code which will be referred to throughout this piece.

Though neither has directly copied the other in their predicted trends, they both have similar opinions on the direction of BI in 2019. There are a few trends which one but not the other has not included in their 2019 top 10.

Aligning Views

This section will look at how both companies foresee the same or a similar trend on our way in 2019.

Cloud Solutions and Embedded Analytics (Q1, T10, Q4 and T3)

We’ve already seen a big push for cloud data migration in the last couple of years and this year and this trend is set to continue. Cloud storage allows for more flexible and scalable storage hence why it’s becoming more and more popular. Tableau predicts companies will move towards BI solutions able to support full could analytics with continued experimentation with hybrid solutions. Qlik go a step further stating they believe that 2019 will see the emergence of platforms which can handle multi-cloud, hybrid, and edge as a continuum.

As this move to the cloud occurs, embedded analytics will become less hipster and more mainstream. They predict services and applications will gravitate towards where the data is actually sitting. Data workers on the whole would prefer the data where people are already working rather than redirecting them to a new application potentially hindering adoption.

Engaging people through AI & storytelling (T1, T2, Q7, Q8 and T7)

Tableau and Qlik both see the AI revolution being far more human than a lot of post-apocalyptic sci-fi movies would have you believe. Both envisage a move toward more natural language queries leading to more conversational analytics. The idea is to try and enable users to gain insights from data in the same way as they’d gain insights from colleagues, by asking questions to hone in on valuable information. This makes data seem a lot less scary to those who are not traditionally data literate which should in theory drive greater adoption.

Qlik have recognised two immediate problems with the implementation of AI: the gap between data created and the human ability to process it, and the gap between availability of analytical tools (high) and the adoption within organizations (low). Tableau believe this gap will be bridged further in 2019 with the rise of explainable AI. Greater transparency of AI decision making processes will give business users trust in their data, giving them confidence in their data driven decisions. The more easily AI processes can be explained the wider business reach, acceptance and adoption. The grunt work achieved in AI processing will boost people’s ability to apply context, make non-linear connections and ultimately make data driven decisions.

Storytelling using data is a great way to engage stakeholders and drive impact. The ability to create a story is a feature alongside dash boarding heavily used and promoted by both BI tools. Conveying the steps taken to reach insights in a compelling way tend to have a greater effect in the boardroom. Data stories, with context, people respond to far better than just the plain facts. Qlik & Tableau have identified this as a trend set to continue in 2019.

Data Management & Alignment (Q3 and T6)

Another shared trend anticipated for 2019 is that data will not only be centrally stored but managed into a single view. Diversity and complexity of data sources is growing, shooting at us all from different directions, speeds and formats. Being able to control this flow is the key to making real use of data. Tableau believes capturing, cleaning and aligning data will help further bridge the gap between this data and its real world application. The two trends Qlik foresee changing the landscape are the standardization of data models between different vendors (especially cloud based data sources) and the emergence of data catalogues (a shop for data marketplace experience). If business uptake this trend maintaining consistency, governance at large scale should be far more straight forward than in the past.

Systems, Adoption, Data literacy and democracy (Q10, T8, T9 and Q9)

As data grows ever more prevalent in working world businesses must make sure they keep up. Ensuring your employees are adopting analytics solutions is key, Qlik and Tableau strongly agree. Tableau believe engagement is real adoption, not just how many hits a dashboard URL gets, but how it can be used regularly to driven decisions and add value. Tableau foresees the growth of internal user communities to increase the buzz around applications, driving engagement. Qlik also anticipates the growth of more organic systems in which people from across the organization interact with BI tools in a variety of complex ways, all adding their own value through using these tools. Qlik have described it as participating in a system. Qlik goes a step further adding that it will not only be humans with differing roles, skills and intentions participating but also digital services, bots, intelligent agents, extensions and algorithms. The increases participation and adoption will vastly increase the value of the system.

With growing adoption, Qlik forecast that data literacy will itself become a KPI. In the past, this has been deemed an intangible measure but now as organisations are recognising the correlation between data literacy and key performance indicators such as gross margin, return on assets, equity and sales, companies this year may look to ensure data literacy is made mainstream, driving all members of the business to use data to add value. Tableau appear to be looking at this from a different angle. They too believe data literacy and data democracy will rise but also expect the definition of data scientist’s role to change. Tableau see the emphasis on a data scientist’s high technical ability shifting to also incorporate a good business understanding allowing for better application for skills. Data scientists will not be confined to the backrooms but out front communicating their findings to leadership and collaborating with others to make business impact.

Unique perspectives

Tableau and Qlik were never likely to agree on everything. They of course feel some trends will be more prevalent than others in 2019. Below we look into some of the trends identified (and placed in the top 10) by only one of the two parties.


Data Collaboratives amplify social good impact (T4)

Data, undeniably, has transformed all organisations. Tableau have identified that in 2019 there will be an increase in variety of companies making the most of data. We’re seeing not only financial services take advantage of the data revolution but also seeing non-governmental and non-profit organisations operate much more with data. The emergence of data collaboratives allows data sharing between organisations to reach common goals. Data collaboratives create opportune environment to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems.

Code of ethics catch up to data (T5)

With regulations like GDPR organisations have to have critical conversations around data ethics. Tableau sees this just as the beginning. Ethical codes now must be intertwined with the way data frameworks are set up and managed for future infrastructure, governance and staffing. As data ethics matures data lifecycle must be reviewed to meet regulations and internal ethics.


Workloads – not just data – will be distributed (Q2)

Qlik expect, what they claim to be one of the biggest unsung mega trends at the moment, the rise of microservices and Kubernetes. Microservices build up a large application through a suite of modular components or services. Kubernetes is a software which can orchestrate and distribute containerized applications and workloads. Bringing these technologies together into one solution give businesses a new way of scaling workloads.

Qlik seem very excited by this trend, calling it the third wave of empowerment, they believe the ability to scale workloads will have a ‘quantum-leap’ effect on pushing innovation.

Performance and scale will re-take centre stage (Q6)

As more and more companies utilise larger datasets performance will suffer. In 2019 people are used to and expect instant returns on searches and queries. Qlik believe 2019 will be the year self-service BI solutions will need to catch up to user expectations.

External innovation will outpace internal innovation by 2X (Q5)

In 2019 Qlik envisage open APIs and extensions becoming a necessity. They predict innovations from open platforms with ecosystems will outpace those with only internal by a factor of 2X. They justify this prediction, understanding people internally may know they’re product best but recognising the people able to innovate is finite, by opening up platforms to external input innovation potentially unlimited. People sitting too close to a business problem aren’t always the best person to see the solution, having a development pipeline flowing from outside to inside will allow for a greater range of product innovations. Open platforms with ecosystems allow people to co-innovate.


So while Qlik and Tableau have some differing opinions in what will be the big trends of 2019, generally speaking many of their views align. Both see cloud analytics, data literacy and adoption, AI and data management as the way forward for many industries. Only Tableau have included the ethical impact of data as a top 10 whereas Qlik believe the performance will once again become paramount in 2019.

Overall, 2019 shouldn’t be all doom and gloom as we can expect to see a lot of exciting developments in the BI space as it constantly evolves into something everyone can benefit from.