The explosion of data in recent years has resulted in huge demand for not only storage and processing solutions, but also techniques and tools to make sense of this data. The emergence of visualization tools – interactive dashboards, bar graphs, animations – to effectively analyse the information coming from inside and outside of organisations, has meant that business intelligence (BI) is becoming jointly governed by IT and business users themselves.

Companies like Tableau, Birst, Jaspersoft and SiSense (to name just a few) are targeting enterprise customers with the promise of data accessibility across the whole organisation – from novice C-level executives to seasoned IT professionals.

Among these companies, Qlik announced yesterday it is preparing to offer a free version of its Qlik Sense Desktop with no restrictions on either personal or commercial use. The new service will give customers a drag-and-drop user experience for data visualization, exploration, and storytelling capabilities. Users will be able to take data from a variety of sources, from Excel spreadsheets to ODBC databases, and examine the resulting data dynamically with dashboard views.

Commenting on the news yesterday, Qlik’s CTO and Senior Vice President of Products said,

“Qlik Sense Desktop is a great way to show people who are new to Qlik the power and control you can feel by exploring your own data to make it meaningful, visual, and even fun. Our continued commitment to simplicity and ease of use to put users in control is delivering on the promise of true self-service BI,”

The announcement of Qlik’s free service is an interesting move by the software company. While Tableau and other BI vendors also offer free trials, they are usually time-limited. Qlikviews, on the other hand, is offered for “free in toto.” The full Qlik Sense Desktop product will be generally available in September 2014.

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(Image Credit: Iouri Goussev)

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