Data and visual analytics firm Qlik has released Qlik Cloud in a bid to be one of the first business intelligence companies to offer data-as-a-service.
The cloud offering comprises several visual analytics products, many of which stem from Qlik's acquisition of DataMarket, a data visualisation company based in Iceland.
Qlik DataMarket uses the cloud to tap into and gather information from over 200 data providers and more than 100,000 datasets.
The data-as-a-service system allows Qlik users to compare their own data against a large pool of external data in order to cross-reference and gain better insight into business performance.
Qlik cited the example of a sales manager being able to add population data to sales information to better understand the market penetration of a product or service, or to combine weather information to understand its effect on retail sales.
Access to these external data sources is provided on a subscription model.
Qlik Cloud also offers the company's Sense Cloud and Sense Charts. Sense Cloud allows five users to share Qlik Sense data and analytics visualisation applications through the cloud, bypassing the need to install the application on individual desktops.
Sense Charts allows Qlik Cloud users to embed interactive visual analytics into any public website, blog or social network. It is offered for free and will become available in the second half of 2015.
Sense Charts will provide the flexibility to view charts on small or large screen devices and other digital platforms owing to the responsive design of Qlik's platform.
Qlik chief technology officer Anthony Deighton described the new cloud offerings as a way to optimise and add value to the process of carrying out visual analytics.
"Because people do not make decisions alone, sharing in the cloud will always be an important part of our collaboration strategy as well," he added.
Qlik is not alone in exploring ways to build out visual analytics products hosted in cloud environments. Salesforce recently entered the cloud analytics space with the Wave for iPhone and iPad service.
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