ESSENTIALS: 'Our Software Is Intelligent but the Image of Our Industry Isn't Clever' ; A Firm Offering Data-Analysis Products Needs to Overcome the Negative PR Caused by the Failings of Others
Hilpern, Kate, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)
How can a company grow in a sector with a terrible reputation? That's the dilemma facing Andy Honess, the UK managing director of QlikTech, which specialises in business-intelligence software.
"QlikTech works with firms, including WH Smith, to help them analyse their data to allow for better decision making," he explains. "Our software is inexpensive, fast to implement and easy to use - it does what it says on the tin. But the industry of business-intelligence software has an awful image for over- promising and under-delivering, so we're finding it a challenge even to get in the door of corporates to prove that we're different."
QlikTech International, the UK firm's parent company, was founded in Sweden in 1993 (though it recently moved its corporate headquarters to Philadelphia). It was set up, says Mr Honess, after the founders discovered a new way of consolidating information. "They came up with a product where the basic principle is to grab data from multiple sources and pull them together efficiently and quickly in order to analyse them." Potentially, he says, the product can help any type of company- from big business to small not-for- profit organisations -where information stored on IT systems is no longer readily accessible. "In many cases, companies have 20 to 30 years of data that they can't get hold of. The result is they make decisions that are as risky today as they were when they formed because they can't unlock the trapped data in their IT systems."
So products such QlikTech's should be in high demand. But, says Mr Honess, that isn't the case. "The problem is, the traditional players [take months to] deliver projects, [which can] cost around pounds 10m. What's more, the success rate of these projects around the world is about 35 per cent, so a lot of money and time is invested for something that may not be very successful."
Little wonder, then, that many businesses don't want to know about QlikTech. "It's frustrating because once we're in front of a company, we can prove what we are capable of, often within minutes and certainly within an hour. You get them really interested in what we can do and how different we are. But unless we can get in front of them, they just don't believe us. They've been burned before or know a company that has been."
QlikTech currently has nearly 200,000 users in 4,000 companies. "They all say we're very different from the rest and there is a lot of loyalty towards us," says Mr Honess. "But while we have a lot of great customers, there are still companies that don't know our name, and don't want to know it, because of the perception of the industry."
One of his customers in the logistics industry uses QlikTech products to work with its own clients. But Mr Honess says these firms tend to be suspicious of the product because it can be up and running so quickly. …