Meet Qlik’s Analytics Engine

Goodbye SQL limits. Hello blazing fast insights.

SQL wasn’t designed for modern analytics. Yet other “modern” BI tools rely on a query-based architecture, limiting you to simple filtering within partial subsets of data. Only Qlik Sense® and our Associative Engine lets you freely search and explore across all your data as fast as you think, revealing insights query-based tools miss. We call it the Associative Difference™. Meet your most powerful BI ally in a data-driven world. See how it works.

What makes the Qlik Associative Engine different?

Infographic showing the differences between analytics models with Qlik's Associative Engine versus query-based tools. Query-based tools use partial subsets of data, provide restricted linear exploration, and have slow performance, creating data "tunnel vision". Qlik's analytics engine leverages all your data so users can explore without boundaries at the speed of though, uncovering unexpected insights.

Explore without boundaries.

Search and explore across all your data, in any direction, with no pre-aggregation or predefined queries to hold you back. Make selections anywhere and see the impacts everywhere. Understand both related and unrelated data. Instantly pivot your thinking based on what you see. With Qlik you’re no longer limited to simple filters or linear exploration.

Leverage all your data.

Easily combine all your data sources, no matter how many, how large, or how imperfect. The Associative Engine brings them all together without leaving any data behind or getting anything wrong. It maps all the relationships in your data, and creates a compressed binary index optimized for interactive analytics. Now everything is available and ready to be explored.

Discover insights as fast as you think.

Powerful, logical inference and on-the-fly calculation provides “speed of thought” response, instantly updating all analytics and revealing data relationships to help you make new discoveries each time you click or search. Slow queries no longer derail critical thinking. And this combination of speed and flexibility easily scales to high numbers of users and large, complex data sets.

How does this transform the analytics experience?

When business users look at dashboards or visualizations, they usually end up with more questions than answers. Making informed decisions is a continual process of questioning, evaluating, and questioning again, often in entirely new directions – until the right insight is discovered and fully understood.

But query-based tools can’t provide the flexibility and interactivity needed to support this process. Only our Associative engine makes powerful exploration and discovery available to every user – not just data experts and analysts.

Key technology innovations behind the Associative Engine

Our Associative Engine employs a number of unique technology innovations, pioneered by Qlik, designed to support non-linear, free form exploration. This all happens under the hood – and just like a high-performance sports car, you can feel the difference when you drive it.

Compressed Binary Indexing

At load time, the Qlik Associative Engine fully combines data sources, achieving a many-to-many full outer join, without data loss or inaccuracy due to executing SQL joins at load time. It creates a compressed, binary data store in-memory, and indexes all relationships between the values in your data. Join keys are built into the multi-table structure, supporting auto-joins at click time. Each unique value is stored once and only once, with binary pointers everywhere else, to minimize data footprint and optimize calculation performance.

Logical Inference

After each click, the engine performs a two step process. The first is logical inference - the process by which it determines related and unrelated data values relative to the new selection state. The engine manages global context, and using its associative index, determines the included and excluded data set at the row-level, and applies this context to all analytics in the app.

High-performance Dynamic Calculation

The second step is dynamic calculation - the engine will instantly recalculate all analytics in context together, at the speed of thought, based on the datasets determined by logical inference. Calculations always use record-level data, for the deepest level of granularity and maximum flexibility. Advanced techniques such as the use of hypercubes and caching, along with optimized in-memory data, allow for instant calculation that accelerates exploration and analysis, scaling to high numbers of users and large, complex data sets.

Learn more about the Qlik Associative Engine

Unique insights.
Smarter decision making. Empowered people

See how business leaders from a variety of industries use Qlik Sense to transform the way their organizations leverage data, discover deeper insights more quickly, and make better business decisions.
"Qlik makes me feel that more things are possible now. A lot of the limitations we've had with previous tools have gone away." -Frank Kozurek, Director of Business Intelligence, National Express, a leading global provider of transportation services.

The Associative Difference


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