Today, Qlik announced it has completed its acquisition of open-source data integration platform, Talend. The aim is to bring together one shared vision - a combined portfolio of solutions for data professionals, data integration, data quality, and data governance.
What does this mean for Qlik and Talend customers? While Qlik already has a rich portfolio of analytic solutions, its operating system agnosticism mirrors Talend's approach. The acquisition will extend the capabilities in data quality, transformation, application connectivity, and API services.
Qlik CEO, Mike Capone expanded on some of the highlights of the acquisition:
Qlik, together with Talend, will bring significant benefits to customers, including expanded product offerings, enhanced support and services, and increased investments in innovation and R&D. Qlik's broad expertise in data integration, analytics, AI and machine learning combined with Talend's data integration and data quality solutions, will provide customers with the most comprehensive solution in the industry."
But this raises the question: how will the acquisition of Talend co-exist with Qlik's commitment to an open data platform? Capone reassured attendees at the QlikWorld conference last month that Qlik will continue to remain open to virtually any data source, target, architecture, or methodology, ensuring customers always have the data they need, whenever they need it.
One of the principles under which we've always operated is to ensure we protect customer investments. No customer will be left behind, and existing customers will still be able to continue to consume Qlik and Talend solutions and use more of them separately as they've always done.
By bringing in Talend, Qlik's goal is to provide underlying capabilities that support each step of the data pipeline, spanning connectivity, movement and ingestion, data transformation, and quality governance alongside the API and orchestration services that are needed to support this.
Trust in the data
When users lose faith in the accuracy of data, they stop using it and fall back on anecdotes and gut feelings to make decisions.
The importance of data governance came through strongly in conversations at QlikWorld with customers and partners. For example, HARMAN Digital Technology Services implemented a training program to ensure application development standards. This process is linked to a governance checklist to ensure that new applications are supportable, and to avoid duplication and data quality.
Annette Jonker, Senior Director of Data & Analytics explained that HARMAN refers to this as "enablement through education", with an emphasis on building a culture of empowerment that also has guardrails in place:
We teach people what to do and how to do it right. The formulas and environment can look very similar to Excel - there's a lot of potential use of formulas, functions and coding. We wanted to avoid a 'Wild West' situation of application development and didn't want our teams to be continuously reviewing SQL. Because it doesn't matter how much work you do around removing silos, or how accessible you make the data - inherently, somebody is going to go, "I want this, and I know how to build it". But if you've got plenty of them that have been built, then how do you control that?"
HARMAN's approach is also a positive way to harness the tribal knowledge shared by citizen developers and experts within organizational culture - where people can empower their self-learning but also learn as a community.
Unlocking the outcomes
Solving real business problems and managing the data landscape isn't an easy job for data professionals even as leaders in their field. While data capabilities have multiplied in recent years, so have the risks – including data fragmentation, duplication and accuracy. Many companies struggle to cobble together a volume of sources and solutions, even with technological development and AI wizardry claiming to solve every problem. Embattled organizations trying to keep up with the pace of change have had to choose from incomplete legacy solutions, cloud lock-in, or multiple disparate point solutions – all of which come with cost and innovation risks and technical debt.
Qlik and Talend customers and users will be looking for an end-to-end solution that will solve problems and deliver outcomes as demand for data and connections continues to rise. Will Talend bring Qlik closer to providing this? One thing we know: Qlik's community atmosphere they have developed over their 30 years will be quick to provide honest feedback about their needs.