Analysis: Qlik acquires Blendr.io to Enhance Data Integration Capabilities

Key Stakeholders: Chief Information Officers, Chief Technical Offiers, Chief Data Officers, Data Management Managers, Analytics Managers, Enterprise Information Managers

Why It Matters: SaaS and public cloud data sources are both rapidly proliferating and playing a bigger role in enterprise analytics. It is no longer enough to build a Single Source of Truth without being able to share and integrate data across all relevant sources.

Key Takeaway: This is an evolutionary time for analytics solutions as AI, process automation, public cloud, & SaaS proliferation are quickly changing the demands for analytics. This iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) acquisition shows how Qlik is augmenting its core capabilities to keep up with quickly-changing market demands.

About the Acquisition

On October 22, 2020, Qlik acquired Blendr.io, an integration Platform as a Service that supports data integration across over 500 Software as a Service applications and clud data sources. This research note analyzes why Qlik acquired Blendr.io, what this means for current and potential clients of both companies, and key recommendations for data and analytics professionals to consider based on this acquisition.

Blendr.io was founded in 2017 in Belgium by tech entrepreneur Niko Nelissen, who had previous experience in building out marketing automation, event ticketing, data hosting, and data center operations businesses. In short, his background enveloped all aspects of providing data as a service both as backend data infrastructure as well as front-end data used for sales and marketing technologies.

This background led to the creation of Blendr.io, which quickly arose as a tool to support data automation and workflows across data, alerts, caches, applications, and databases. This capability has proven especially valuable at a time when application proliferation has occured and the “trusted business platform” has been replaced by a federation of Best-in-Breed applications that need to be connected together from data, process, and synchronization perspectives.

Based on this need, Qlik’s acquisition of Blendr.io makes sense as a functional addition that both strengthens Qlik’s sales and marketing support and allows Qlik to play a greater role in delivering what they call “Active Intelligence.”

This acquisition also is accretive to Qlik’s prior acquisitions made since it became a Thoma Bravo portfolio company in 2016:

July 2018: Qlik acquires Podium Data to gain a Big Data-fluent data catalog and governance capability.

March 2019: Qlik acquires Attunity to support cloud data synchronization and to validate the advice I had provided at Attunity’s 2013 Analyst Day on the future valuation of Attunity.

January 2020: Qlik acquires RoxAI to support real-time alerts associated with data and analytic changes.

August 2020: Qlik acquires Knarr Analytics assets to strengthen its supply chain analytics capabilities and to bring in key talent.

This acquisition also comes as Qlik is in the process of retiring a prior acquisition, Qlik DataMarket. This 2014 acquisition was originally intended to help clients to combine internal business data with external geographic, financial, or political data. But as access to public external data has become easier to support and business clients have found the challenge of simply managing internal data across a wide variety of private sources to become a bigger challenge, Qlik has made a similar shift through this acquisition.

What to Expect from this Acquisition

Qlik customers with significant SaaS portfolios should be excited to see this acquisition, as it now allows Qlik to develop native analytic products across a variety of marketing, sales, productivity, machine learning, and public cloud platforms. Qlik states that it will start launching products based on the blendr.io acquisition in 2021. Amalgam Insights expects that the combination of iPaaS, data governance, and analytics will allow Qlik to create secure amalgams of data and process automation.

This step of integrating SaaS and cloud data to analytics is necessary for Qlik to deliver on the promise of the “data-driven enterprise” that we have all heard so much about over the past several years. To get beyond the hype, data must be contextualized, analyzed, and used both to accelerate basic rules-based actions and to support decisions based on more complex scenarios, politics, and strategies. Qlik’s acquisition of blendr.io is an important step forward in addition to the Podium Data and Attunity acquisitions in allowing Qlik to support a multi-app, multi-cloud, and multi-data environment where there is no longer the “single source of truth.”

For Blendr.io customers, expect Qlik to continue development on Blendr as a standalone product. It is in Qlik’s best interest to continue the development of Blendr’s iPaaS, as this is a competitive space. Blendr.io competes favorably with the likes of Dell Boomi, Jitterbit, MuleSoft, SnapLogic, Workato, and Zapier. Qlik will be pressured to maintain functionality on par or ahead of its competitors. However, similar to prior acquisitions, expect Blendr to see a name change and an expanded focus on supporting the Qlik portfolio of products. Over time, it would not be surprising to see this “Qlik iPaaS” being more integrated with the Qlik Data Catalyst catalog product and the replication and ingestion components of the Qlik Data Integration platform.

Recommendations

For Qlik customers, this is a good time to start putting pressure on your sales and account team on the types of products you would like to see from a combination of iPaaS integration, governed data, and analytics. Why build it yourself when you can make Qlik do a fair bit of the heavy lifting?

In addition, Qlik customers may want to share their current SaaS portfolios with their account teams to drive the development of the iPaaS. The challenge with managing SaaS-based data is not in connecting one app to one data source: APIs make this task fairly straightforward. The real challenge is that the average enterprise uses over 1,000 discrete apps and data-driven services based on data provided by security vendors such as Symantec and NetSkope, which leads to a near-infinite number of potential connections. Companies must get a “starter kit” of connectors to handle the Pareto 20% of issues that represent 80% of their day-to-day work.

For Blendr.io customers, expect to be introduced to the Qlik portfolio of products. For those who have not looked at Qlik in a few years and think of it mainly as the QlikView visual discovery solution, take a look at Qlik’s portfolio across data management, data lake and warehouse management, data replication, and the Qlik Sense data engine which includes more modern geospatial, search, and natural language analytic capabilities. Since Thoma Bravo’s acquisition of Qlik in 2016, Qlik has expanded its portfolio to support data management challenges.

Conclusion

Overall, Amalgam Insights is bullish on this latest acquisition, as it both fills a gap in Qlik’s existing portfolio of data and analytics capabilities and brings in a technology that is still relatively new and flexible for Qlik to integrate into its quickly growing portfolio. With this acquisition, Qlik gets one step closer to becoming an enterprise data solution.

From a market perspective, it is hard not to compare the moves Qlik makes to the moves made by fellow private equity-owned data companies TIBCO (purchased by Vista Equity in September 2014) and Informatica (purchased by Permeira and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in August 2015). Qlik’s focus on expanding data discovery and access across frequently used business data has been fairly consistent across its acquisitions. As these companies race towards the financial timelines and outcomes required by private equity, Amalgam Insights believes that Qlik is well on path to creating a whole that is more than the sum of its parts.

If you have any additional questions about this acquisition, the current state of the business analytics market, or how to work with Amalgam Insights, please contact us at info@amalgaminsights.com to set up a consultation.

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