Comparison of Qlikview and Xcelsius

In this article I would like to write about my experiences with both Qlikview and Xcelsius which I hope will give you a better understanding of which product you may want to go with.

Visual Appeal
In this category, Xcelsius in my opinion wins hands down.  The charts, gauges, dropdowns, etc have much more of a 3D bubbly feel compared to Qlikview.  At the end of the day this may be what executives would prefer since people in general are more interested in things that are more pretty.

Here are some examples of a dashboard from Xcelsius and a dashboard from Qlikview.

Xcelsius Dashboard

Xcelsius Dashboard

Qlikview Dashboard

Qlikview Dashboard


Ease of use
Both products are quite easy to use as you drag and drop charts, dropdowns, gauges on the sandbox and then easily bind your data values.  If you are competant at using Excel, you will probably like how easy it is to bind the data values to the charts and objects.

Retreival of Data
This is where Qlikview wins.  In Qlikview, you can easily connect to your data source and run whatever queries you want to extract data onto the tables displayed on the sandbox.  The retreival of data on Xcelsius however involves either creating webservices to connect to your database to grab data, XML mapping which is not as powerful as webservices, or Live Office where you will need to create webis in BOBJ enterprise and connect them to your Excel file.  The extra step can prove to be time consuming as you will need someone to either develop webservices or webi objects.

From my experience, Qlikview had better performance in terms of retreiving and populating data on the dashboards. The reason probably comes from the fact that Qlikview goes directly to the database whereas Xcelsius has to grab data, inject it into Excel, then display the data on the dashboard objects.  When using Live Office, the performance even takes a larger hit as we need to build the webi objects and then go through the live office bridge to populate the excel file.

If you are planning to use Xcelsius with BOBJ Enterprise, then Qlikview’s costs will definitely be a fraction of what you are paying for in BOBJ Enterprise.  However, with Qlikview you will have to somewhat be knowledgable with SQL and their little scripts whereas BOBJ Enterprise, Business Users can create dashboards on Xcelsius.

If you are going the webservices route for Xcelsius, then you will need to have someone on the team who is knowledgable in creating webservices and has decent SQL knowledge, however from there, performance will be much better than using Live Office.

Both products have their advantages of disadvantages.  With Xcelsius, if you have great developers, you can create a dashboard that can WOW the audience and potentially sell a deal.  However if you are not concerned with looks, then Qlikview may be the solution for you since you’ll experience better performance and lower maintainance in the long run.

  • in addition, looking closely at both dashboards I even favor qlikview. Guess it’s taste related!

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  • Terry

    “At the end of the day this may be what executives would prefer since people in general are more interested in things that are more pretty.”

    If you haven’t already done so you might want to review Stephen Few’s books about visual design. What people, especially executives, really want isn’t ‘pretty’ but ‘to the point’. They don’t want extraneous information in the form of colorul graphs. They want the essential information not obfuscation. That said, QlikView has very attractive graphics.

    Furthermore, QlikView is an enterprise strength application development platform, not just a dashboard tool. Also, as you noted, it is very fast. But that’s not because it goes directly against the ODBC data (which it does), but because the data is loaded into its proprietary associative database. Its a fundamentally different data model that is extremely fast and allows on-the-fly aggregations appear instantly.

    QlikView is, hands down, the best BI tool out there.

  • Mike S

    Terry, I think there are two issues here.

    One is that, with no offense to David, it would be difficult for anybody to evaluate QlikView without using the developer and playing with it extensively. As a result, there are material omissions and inaccuracies – even about the fundamental architecture on which QlikView is based, e.g. attributing performance to direct database connectivity rather than in-memory data.

    The second is that it is not really a fair comparison because they are such different tools. Having developed with both extensively, the best way to differentiate them is that Xcelsius presents the data while QlikView allows you analyze it. It’s not just a dashboarding tool. What would be a more appropriate comparison in terms of both price and function would be BOBJ+Xcelsius versus QlikView+Server+Publisher.

    And to your point about data visualization, you don’t need to sell me on what Few or Tufte say, but David is correct that the sizzle often sells, even to C-level executives.

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  • Hello,
    I was just checking out your website. I’m on the OEM team at BusinessObjects and have been working with Xcelsius since we purchased it from Infommersion. You should checkout the new OEM Resource Center:

    OEM Resource Centre

    You just have to register and you are set for accessing all the new Xcelsius canned demos and how to half hours. I’m interested to know if they are helpful or need some tweaking.


    Jeremy Myers
    Business Development Manager
    SAP BusinessObjects Divisions
    910 Mainland Street
    Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6B 1A9
    T 800 877 2340 ext 8349
    T 604 647 8349
    F 610 492 9992

  • Al

    As a developer, I’ve been using both products (and more).
    After 1 month with qlikview I decided to work only with qlikview.

    Dev time is quarter time, user experience is amazing, debug , connectivity is the best out there, implementation is amzingly smooth, it is very stable, has a great community, and the best thing – in my opinion – its very very very intuitive – which make it fun to develop…

    Seriously, this thing is a new era in BI…

  • Arthur Kathan

    I realy must disagree with ” If you are competant at using Excel, you will probably like how easy it is to bind the data values to the charts and objects.” I have been using Excel for years and spreadsheets since Lotus 123 and Quattro. I find Xcelsius really quite difficult to set up. I find nothing about setting up drill down charts easy and the kind of data that can be used with Xcelsius quite limited. The only book available on it is little more than a rehash of the not very useful Xcelsius documentation. Surely, it has improved since 4.5.

  • @RamkiChamala Here is a good article comparing Xcelsius to Qliview –

  • Andy

    You should not compare Qlikview and Xcelsius. Xcelsius does not have the same functionality as Qlikview.
    The comparision should be between BusinessObjects Edge (Xcelsius included) and Qlikview. The price is about the same for ex. 50 users.
    With BusinessObjects Edge you have reports, ad hoc analysis, Explorer (data explore for miljons of rows) and Xcelsius.

  • Kerem Pekçabuk

    you must compare qlikview with whole business objects(then you will see business objects will hand down).Because xcelsius can only be compared with a chart object in qlikview.

  • Liren Zhang

    QlikView is a data exploration tool. It is not to be compared with Xcelsius. They have entirely different paradigm. If you must compare QlikView with something BusinessObjects, then you ought to take a look at the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, which is still at its infancy in my opinion comparing to QlikView.

    QlikView’s distinctive advantage lies in its proprietary data association and in-memory technologies.

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  • Jane Vortman

    I have to disagree with definition of QlikView as a “data exploration tool”. QlikView is a business intelligence solution development tool, and any other definition is simply incorrect. Data exploration is a term aimed at business analysts and almost no business analyst uses QlikView developer. business analysts use solutions created for them using QlikView.

    Examples of data exploration tools are:
    – Tableau (
    – SiSense Prism (
    – Tibco SpotFire (

  • Al Olson

    OK article – I found it a little late. The author should use spellcheck however.

  • Kash Noorani

    David, really appreciate your analysis. Have you had a chance to update your thoughts since?

  • Anonymous

    I’ve used both Xcelsius and QlikView.  QlikView is the hands-down winner by all measures (including visual appeal).  I agree that both tools provide the ability to create visually stunning dashboards but I give QlikView the edge because of the ease in which it can be done.  Xcelsius takes quite a bit more effort in comparison.