Tableau, chasing exploding demand, catches up to Radnor's Qlik in revenue (Updated 2/12 for QLIK earnings)

Tom Paine

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Seattle-based Tableau, the data visualization software vendor, continues to grow at an amazing pace. Its fourth quarter revenue, announced Wednesday, grew 75% to $142.9 million. It also reported net income of $20.7 million.

Tableau, founded in 2003, continued to outpace its longer-established rival, Radnor-base Qlik Technologies. In fact, Tableau's revenue surpassed that of Qlik's latest reported quarter, Q3 2014, of $131.2 million. Qlik reports its full year 2014 results on February 12. While Tableau continues growing at 70-90%, Qlik has been growing in the mid-20s for the past couple of years, and has historically been nominally profitable at best. While there is no question about the value of Qlik's products and 20% plus growth isn't mince meat, it seems that Tableau has struck a broader vein in the market for now.

Tableau Visualization

The two came at the business intelligence space from different angles. Tableau emphasized data visualization, and tools that non-technical end users could easily work with (it produces all sorts of beautiful graphs and charts). Qlik has emphasized a more rigorous data model that typically requires more acquired skills, and perhaps produces better analyses as a result.

In November, Qlik introduced Qlik Sense, its self-service tool aimed at the data visualization market, while maintaining its QlikView platform for developing more sophisticated dashboard applications. The introduction was well received, and maybe we will see some indication of how it is doing next week.

Qlik went public in 2010 and has a market capitalization of about $2.7 billion. Tableau went public in 2013 and has a market cap of $6.7 billion.

While Qlik originated in Sweeden and has long gotten much of its revenue from outside the Americas, Tableau built its early revenue base almost entirely in the US and is just now seeing significant growth internationally, although that area still accounts for less than a quarter of its revenue.

Tableau and Qlik's closest pure play competitors in the BI space are probably TIBCO's Spotfire, MicroStrategy and Birst. Other legacy vendors, including SAP and Microsoft, are trying to catch up with the next-generation products, and introduced its analytics product, Wave, at last year's Dreamforce.

Update 2/12: Qlik announced its 4th quarter and full year 2014 results this afternoon. Revenue for the quarter beat expectations, but was only up 13% from a year ago (at $182.8 million), although Qlik said it increased 20% on a constant currency basis. For the year, revenue was $556.8 million, up 18%, with a GAAP net loss of $24.6 million.

Lars Björk, Chief Executive Officer of Qlik, stated in the earnings release, "We believe we are well positioned entering 2015 as our dual product strategy, QlikView for guided analytics and Qlik Sense for self-service BI, opens up even more opportunity for us to fulfill companies’ complete BI requirements." However guidance for the first quarter was well below consensus expectations, and Qlik's full year revenue forecast for 2015 was for growth of between 10 and 12%.

Diginomics's Denn Howlett provides some more details from Qlik's earnings call. Management does not expect a significant contribution from its new QlikSense self-discovery platform in the first half of 2015. Its more in the pipeline building stage.

Update 2/13: Qlik announced the acquisition of Vizubi and its NPrinting product line, with its "market-leading report generation, distribution, and scheduling application for QlikView". The company, which has 17 employees on LinkedIn (many in Italy), has been a Qlik partner since 2013.

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