With more than 18,000 customers and a 96% customer satisfaction rating, it's obvious that business users love QlikView.* There are many reasons for this. One reason is the power of storytelling and QlikView's role as a storytelling tool. You may be wondering what storytelling has to do with business intelligence. QlikTech expert advisor Elif Tutuk has some great thoughts about this. Here is her logic.

We rely on stories to put our ideas in context and give them meaning. It should be no surprise, then, that the human capacity for storytelling plays an important role in problem solving. So it follows that as technology aimed at solving business problems with the use of data, business intelligence software should help people visualize ideas using data, and should be flexible and fast enough to let people build their stories at the speed of thought?sort of like creating a storyboard.

This concept isn't entirely new. In fact, in the book Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny by Robert Wright, the author makes the case that consciousness, language, and society developed an intimate relationship with the technologies of storytelling throughout the forty-thousand-year history of human society.

QlikView lets people create their own "data storyboard"

With QlikView, business users can create their own storyboard, telling the story they discovered in the data.

  • QlikView gives them zero-wait analysis and user-centric interactivity. They can load data from any data source in minutes and start exploring it right away. Users can start their story anywhere: from the lowest level of data or the top. They can navigate into details to unfold the data in a way that engages them and lets them make their own discoveries.
  • QlikView delivers an associative experience. They can ask any question, build a chart accordingly, and find the answer or identify a pattern that leads to another question. As they move along, pursuing the series of questions in their mind, they build charts displaying the answers in sequence?for the purpose of finding the unknown in the data.

Traditional BI doesn't cut it as a storytelling platform

With the way that traditional BI technologies make data available to business users, it is not possible for users to visually tell a story with the data.

  • Queries only give access to a limited set of the story's details. Query-based solutions only make a portion of the data available at any one time, so the user only has limited visibility into the big picture. They can only tell an incomplete story, at best. This negatively influences users' ability to formulate the next question, and the one after that.
  • With OLAP, users can only tell a predetermined story. With OLAP-based technologies, users can analyze data only by using pre-determined, generic drill down paths so they have no chance of finding answers to the questions they come up with on the fly. They can only get answers to predetermined questions.

With QlikView, users can tell stories even when the end of the story is not yet known. Because they are not forced to analyze the data in a limited way, they do not use predefined drilldowns or static queries. They are in control of exploring and using their data without limits?and communicating the story the data is telling them. Perhaps this is part of the reason why people are so addicted to QlikView! (Have you seen the classic YouTube video about the QlikView addict?)

*See this IDC white paper series on the QlikView Customer Experience.