Last week Business Discovery vendor QlikTech announced its acquisition of Expressor Software; a small but growing data integration vendor founded in 2003 and headquartered in Burlington, MA. The company has 20 employees and is funded by VC’s Globespan Capital Partners, Sigma Partners, and Commonwealth Capital Partners. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Expressor Software product suite provides a visual development environment for creating data transformation processes supported through its metadata driven approach to ETL. It’s an approach that makes for a better and, dare I say it, more 'agile' ETL development experience. By abstracting the technical details of the underlying data structures and data formats within its Semantic Framework users or, more likely, IT developers can insulate themselves from schema changes that might occur in a data source or target. Equally, this approach allows changes to be managed at the logical level rather than at a physical field level, thereby improving reusability, traceability and data lineage. It’s an approach that has worked well for the company and has appealed to customers across industries including financial services, database marketing, healthcare, and telecommunications.
So what does QlikTech get with Expressor? As CEO Lars Bjork described in the press release, this is very much a tuck-in technology acquisition, rather than a customer or market share grab, but what it essentially does is help fill a much needed gap in QlikTech’s QlikView platform since it will substantially improve its existing script-based data extraction and load method, while also expanding the number of data sources it can support, improve the process of data transformation and add new capabilities around data governance.
Similarly, as we outlined in our recent report QlikView 11: Bringing Business Discovery to the Enterprise, QlikTech is making strides to improve the enterprise IT features of its platform to appeal to a broader base of organisations that will complement its established presence in the SME market. This acquisition, alongside other initiatives, is very much part of the company’s wider strategy for increasing its larger enterprise footprint by making QlikView more of an enterprise-grade consideration for organisations. Expressor brings the ability to expedite the process of building ETL routines, it will enhance QlikView’s capabilities for data asset reuse and data lineage and, in turn, improve the trustworthiness of data; something that is likely to be seen as a welcome improvement for enterprise developers and users responsible for building QlikView applications. Equally, existing customers and prospects won’t have to wait long to see how this integration works in practice. QlikTech and Expressor were strategic partners prior to the acquisition having built integrations between both products resulting in the QlikView Expressor Server.
Given QlikTech’s desire to increase the data integration and data governance capabilities of its platform, we wonder whether this acquisition will soon be followed by other complementary technology buys, perhaps around data quality or master data management. Expressor partners with other software vendors in this space such as Melissa Data for data quality - so who knows. Your thoughts?