Qlik Technologies (QlikTech) puts important business data just a click away. The company provides its QlikView business intelligence (BI) software that gives clients the tools to search and query business data in a variety of ways; reports are displayed in a visual format that can be explored and analyzed further. QlikTech serves midsized and large enterprises throughout the world; its approximately 24,000 customers have included Campbell Soup Company, Colonial Life, Hertz, Kraft Foods, the UK National Health Service, and QUALCOMM. The company was originally founded in Sweden in 1993, and nearly 75% of its sales come from clients outside the US.
While its principal executive offices are located in the US, the bulk of the company's business comes from Nordic and Western European markets, as QlikTech was founded in Sweden and operated locally for much of its early history. The company is now eyeing expansion in other markets, including Australia, Brazil, Japan, Russia, and the US. To do that it will expand both its direct sales force and distribution partnerships, using its success in Europe as a guide. QlikTech has more than 1,100 channel partners that sell and distribute its software to 100-plus countries. In 2011 a partnership begun in the Netherlands earlier in the year with Deloitte Consulting was expanded to include the US.
Helping along its US expansion goals was the 2012 purchase of Massachusetts-based data management-focused Expressor Software. Expressor's data definition platform will add data lineage, intelligence, and governance capabilities to QlikTech's business discovery platform, allowing faster deployment of QlikTech offerings.
QlikTech differentiates itself in a competitive, crowded field for BI by eschewing the normal sales model. Instead of pushing potential clients, the company's "land and expand" strategy calls for introducing QlikView to a company to meet a targeted need and then nurturing its spread and growth throughout the organization for other uses. QlikTech's confidence in the superior ease of use of its software -- claiming that it takes days or weeks to accomplish tasks that require months or years from rival products -- drives this viral approach. About a quarter of its customers have used QlikView for less than a year, making that group ripe for expansion.
That strategy has served them well, as the nearly 45% increase in 2011 sales suggests. More to the point, the share of sales invoiced to existing customers increased to more than two-thirds of billings. Equally as telling is the fact that overall sales growth came primarily because of demand, as QlikView received no material price increase for the year.
Besides taking a less obtrusive sales approach, QlikTech also positions itself by aiming to deliver a product that requires significantly less training and customer-side IT involvement than its competition. BI systems that attempt to cover the entirety of an organization at once can take years to implement and require extensive onsite or offsite training.
There are certain trends, though, that even QlikTech can't ignore. In 2011 it retooled its platform to support the HTML5 coding standard proliferating on popular mobile devices such as Apple's iPhone and iPad, Android devices, and BlackBerries.
Unlike some technology companies that file for IPOs to raise desperately needed funds to offset losses or combat mounting debt, QlikTech has been solidly profitable since fiscal 2008. It used just $5.4 million of the $115 million in net proceeds to fully pay off a debt facility, freeing it from all its long-term debt. QlikTech was able to pour the rest into areas such as working capital, financing growth, and product enhancement and development. – less