Qlik Sense
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Qlik Sense vs Airflow: A Comparative Analysis

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    Businesses today face the challenge of selecting the right tools for their data analytics and reporting needs. Qlik Sense and Airflow are two prominent solutions in the market, each with distinct functionalities and use cases. Qlik Sense is an end-to-end data management and analytics platform known for its associative data modeling and powerful self-service visualization, while Airflow is an open-source workflow management system designed to schedule, program, and monitor complex workflows.

    Choosing between Qlik Sense and Airflow depends on specific business requirements, integration capabilities, and the technical expertise of users. It's crucial to understand the strengths and limitations of both platforms to determine the best fit for an organization's data strategy. This comparison will provide insights into the core features, user experience, and scalability of Qlik Sense and Airflow.

    In our exploration, we will also introduce Sourcetable, a modern alternative that offers a spreadsheet-like interface, which seamlessly syncs with your data. Sourcetable simplifies business intelligence tasks such as reporting and analytics, potentially serving as a more accessible option for teams looking to streamline their data processes.

    Qlik Sense

    What is Qlik Sense?

    Qlik Sense is a data analytics platform that leverages artificial intelligence to provide insights. It employs associative analytics for data exploration, aiding in the discovery of hidden patterns and connections.

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    What is Airflow?

    Airflow is an open-source platform developed by Apache for orchestrating complex computational workflows. It is designed for scheduling, developing, and monitoring batch-oriented workflows. Airflow is known for its ability to handle large-scale data processing workflows and is favored for dynamic pipeline generation.

    • Core Features

    • Workflows are defined as code in Python, allowing for dynamic generation and easy updates.
    • Rich scheduling and execution semantics enable robust workflow management.
    • The platform supports extensive customization and extensibility to meet diverse needs.
    • Airflow provides a user interface that gives detailed insights into pipeline execution and task statuses.
    • Collaboration and Deployment

    • Multiple users can develop and manage workflows simultaneously, facilitating team collaboration.
    • Workflows can be stored in version control systems, ensuring change tracking and rollback capabilities.
    • Flexible deployment options make Airflow adaptable to various environments.
    • Airflow is not intended for continuous, event-based workflows but excels in scenarios that require complex, batch-oriented processing.

    Qlik Sense

    Key Features of Qlik Sense

    Associative Analytics Engine

    The associative analytics engine is unique to Qlik Sense, enabling deep data exploration and instant insight discovery. It supports selections in any direction, facilitating a comprehensive analysis.

    Augmented Analytics

    Qlik Sense integrates AI and ML at its core, offering augmented analytics capabilities such as AI-powered insights, predictions, and automated insight generation.

    Advanced and Predictive Analytics

    With Qlik AutoML and advanced analytics integration, Qlik Sense provides predictive analytics and the ability to create machine learning models without coding.

    Data Integration and Preparation

    Qlik Sense features robust data prep and connectivity, including a full suite of data integration capabilities and a self-service data catalog.

    Visualization and Dashboarding

    Interactive visualizations and dashboards are central to Qlik Sense, allowing for the effective communication of insights and self-service analytics.

    Collaboration Tools

    Qlik Sense enables powerful collaboration with features like notes, discussion threads, and a context feature, enhancing data literacy among users.

    Application Automation and Customization

    Application automation, a low-code environment, and customization options such as custom apps, visualizations, and extensions ensure a flexible experience.

    Alerting and Actions

    Data-driven alerting technology and the capability for event-driven actions enable immediate response to changes in data.

    Connectivity and Scalability

    Qlik Sense connects with a wide array of data sources, offers high performance scalability, and includes powerful data integration and connectivity.

    Accessibility and Mobility

    Designed for use on-premises or in the cloud, Qlik Sense is accessible on mobile devices, ensuring analytics can be performed anytime, anywhere.

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    Key Features of Airflow

    Architecture and Scalability

    Airflow boasts a modular architecture and uses a message queue to manage the orchestration of workers. Its design allows for scaling to very high numbers, effectively handling increasing workloads.

    Pipeline Definition and Generation

    Pipelines in Airflow are defined using Python, providing a familiar environment for developers. Dynamic pipeline generation is a core feature, allowing for pipelines to be instantiated programmatically and tailored to specific needs.

    Extensibility and Customization

    Due to its extensible nature, Airflow can be enhanced with custom libraries to better fit specific environments, ensuring flexibility across diverse use cases.

    Usability and Templating

    Airflow's pipelines are designed to be lean and explicit, with the Jinja templating engine enabling efficient parametrization. A modern web application simplifies monitoring, scheduling, and workflow management.

    Integration and Accessibility

  • Airflow includes numerous operators for integrating with third-party services, streamlining task execution.
  • Its Python-based infrastructure ensures that anyone with basic Python skills can deploy workflows with ease.
  • Being open source, Airflow allows for community contributions and transparent evolution of its features.
  • Qlik Sense

    Advantages of Qlik Sense for Business Intelligence

    Self-Service Data Visualization

    Qlik Sense enables users to create visualizations, dashboards, and reports independently, enhancing data literacy across the organization.


    At $30 per user per month, Qlik Sense is an affordable option for businesses looking to implement powerful BI tools without significant investment.

    Device Compatibility and Mobility

    With its responsive design and mobility features, Qlik Sense supports a wide range of devices, facilitating access to data analytics on the go.

    Security and Collaboration

    Qlik Sense offers comprehensive security features and a centralized hub, simplifying collaboration and information sharing within a secure environment.

    Customization and Flexibility

    Businesses can tailor analytics solutions to their needs with Qlik Sense's open APIs, custom app development capabilities, and new visualizations.

    User-Friendly and Powerful Analytics

    As a user-friendly and AI-powered tool, Qlik Sense makes complex data analysis accessible and actionable for decision-makers.

    Qlik Sense

    Disadvantages of Qlik Sense for Business Intelligence

    Performance Issues with Large Data Sets

    Qlik Sense may exhibit performance degradation when handling large data sets, potentially slowing down data analytics processes.

    Cost Considerations

    The expense of Qlik Sense can be prohibitive for larger teams or for businesses with budget constraints, making it a less viable option for some organizations.

    Limited Data Exporting

    There are limitations in exporting information to Excel, which can hinder users who rely on this functionality for reporting and further data manipulation.

    Additional Expenses for Extensions

    Users may incur extra costs due to the need for add-ons and plugins, which are not included in the base price of Qlik Sense.

    Qlik Sense

    Frequently Asked Questions About Qlik Sense

    What payment methods are accepted for Qlik Sense training?

    You can pay for training with a credit card, Training Card, or invoice.

    How can I find out which Qlik Sense training courses are suitable for my role?

    You can take training recommendations to find which courses to take for your role.

    Where can I check my registration status for Qlik Sense training?

    You can check your registration status on the My Training page.

    Can I use a Training Card to pay for Qlik Sense certifications?

    No, Training Cards cannot be used to pay for certifications.

    Do I need to schedule my Qlik Sense training immediately after purchasing a Training Card?

    No, you do not need to schedule training before purchasing a Training Card and you have 12 months from the purchase date to use the Training Card.

    Use Cases for Qlik Sense

    • Qlik Sense

      Improving efficiency and customer service

    • Qlik Sense

      Enhancing sales

    • Qlik Sense

      Creating a company-wide portal for analytics

    • Qlik Sense

      Improving operational success

    • Qlik Sense

      Reducing the cost and effort to convert loan prospects

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    Advantages of Airflow for Business Intelligence Tasks

    There is no information provided in the list of facts that connects Airflow's services with business intelligence tasks like reporting and data analytics. The list of facts solely provides information about Airflow's expertise in airflow solutions, air and water balancing, and related testing services. To write an accurate section about the advantages of using Airflow for business intelligence tasks, relevant facts would be necessary.

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    Disadvantages of Airflow for Business Intelligence

    Programming Skills Requirement

    Using Airflow necessitates programming expertise, creating a barrier for non-technical users who are often involved in business intelligence tasks.

    Complex Setup

    The need for setting up numerous components makes Airflow a less attractive option for businesses seeking simplicity in their data analytics and reporting tools.

    Steep Learning Curve

    Its challenging learning curve can lead to prolonged onboarding times for teams, delaying the integration of Airflow into business intelligence workflows.

    Limited Documentation

    Inadequate documentation can hinder effective use of Airflow in business intelligence, as users might struggle with implementing and troubleshooting without comprehensive guides.

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    Frequently Asked Questions About Airflow

    Why is my Airflow DAG scheduling experiencing low latency?

    Airflow 2.0 provides low DAG scheduling latency out of the box. If more throughput is needed, you can start multiple schedulers.

    How can I handle task failures in Airflow?

    You can use Trigger Rules to trigger tasks based on another task's failure. Use ALL_FAILED to trigger when all upstream tasks fail, or ONE_FAILED to trigger when any one upstream task fails.

    What causes a TemplateNotFound error in Airflow?

    A TemplateNotFound error is usually caused by not properly passing the path to an operator that triggers Jinja templating. This error is commonly seen with BashOperators.

    How can I control the DAG file parsing timeout in Airflow?

    You can dynamically control the DAG file parsing timeout using the airflow_local_settings.py file. Use the get_dagbag_import_timeout function to control the parsing timeout separately for different DAG files.

    Why might a task in Airflow fail with no logs showing in the UI?

    A task might fail with no logs in the UI if the task's worker was unable to write logs, or due to the task getting stuck in queued status.

    Use Cases for Airflow

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      ETL/ELT analytics

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      Infrastructure management for BI tools

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      Scheduling and automation of BI reports


    Why Sourcetable Is a Superior Choice for Business Intelligence

    • Streamlined Reporting and Analytics

      Sourcetable provides a unified platform that simplifies reporting and data analytics. By centralizing data into a spreadsheet-like interface, it eliminates the complexity of multiple BI tools.

    • Enhanced Data Synchronization

      With its ability to sync data across various services seamlessly, Sourcetable offers a holistic view of business metrics, making it a more efficient solution than Qlik Sense and Airflow.

    • User-Friendly Interface

      The intuitive spreadsheet-like interface of Sourcetable allows users of all skill levels to engage with data analytics, unlike the sometimes complex dashboards of Qlik Sense and the technical nature of Airflow.

    • Reduced Learning Curve

      Sourcetable's approachable design minimizes the learning curve, ensuring quick adoption and productivity without the need for extensive training or specialized knowledge.

    • Cost-Effective Deployment

      As a versatile BI tool, Sourcetable mitigates the need for multiple analytics platforms, potentially reducing operational costs and streamlining the data analysis process.

    Qlik Sense
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    Comparison of Qlik Sense and Airflow

    Qlik Sense and Airflow share common ground in the realm of data management and automation. Both tools are designed to enhance efficiency and intelligence within data-centric operations.

    Data Integration and Automation

    Qlik Sense provides robust data integration capabilities, allowing users to combine and prepare data from various sources. Similarly, Airflow excels at orchestrating complex workflows, ensuring that data pipelines are efficiently automated and managed.


    Both platforms are scalable, catering to the needs of growing data demands. Qlik Sense's cloud-native platform and Airflow's ability to schedule and monitor hundreds of tasks provide the necessary infrastructure for scalability.

    Customization and Extensibility

    Qlik Sense offers a complete set of open APIs, enabling the development of custom applications and extensions. Airflow's open-source nature allows for customization of workflows and integration with other tools, making both highly adaptable to specific business requirements.

    Deployment Flexibility

    Users of Qlik Sense can choose between SaaS or on-premises solutions, depending on their needs and regulations. Airflow, while typically self-hosted, can also be deployed in various environments, including cloud platforms, providing similar deployment flexibility.

    Collaboration Features

    Collaboration is a key feature in Qlik Sense, with capabilities for data collaboration and adding narrative to analytics. Airflow also supports collaboration through sharing of workflows and results among team members.

    Qlik Sense
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    Qlik Sense vs. Airflow


    Qlik Sense is a comprehensive data analytics and business intelligence tool that provides interactive visualizations, dashboards, and augmented analytics capabilities. It leverages AI and ML for data analysis, insight generation, and predictive analytics. Airflow, on the other hand, is an open-source workflow management platform designed to programmatically author, schedule, and monitor workflows.

    Primary Use Case

    While Qlik Sense is used for data exploration, visualization, and making data-driven decisions, Airflow is primarily used for managing complex computational workflows, ensuring they run reliably and efficiently.

    User Interaction

    Qlik Sense offers a user-friendly interface that supports natural language interaction and self-service visualization for users of all skill levels. Airflow provides a programmable environment that requires users to define workflows using Python scripts.

    Data Analytics vs. Workflow Automation

    Qlik Sense focuses on enabling users to analyze data and gain insights with features like associative analytics and augmented analytics. Conversely, Airflow automates the execution of tasks based on dependencies, managing the data pipeline rather than analyzing the data itself.


    Qlik Sense offers both a cloud-based SaaS solution and an on-premises deployment, catering to different business needs and compliance requirements. Airflow is typically self-hosted, requiring setup and maintenance of infrastructure by the user or organization.

    Integration and Scalability

    Qlik Sense integrates with a wide array of data sources and provides high-performance scalability for handling large data sets. Airflow is designed to scale with ease in a distributed environment, managing numerous workflows across various systems.

    Community and Support

    Qlik Sense, as a commercial product, provides professional support and services to its users. Airflow, being open-source, relies on community support, though commercial support can be obtained through third-party vendors.

    Customization and Extensibility

    Qlik Sense offers customizable analytics solutions through its complete set of open APIs, which allow for custom app development and embedded analytics. Airflow’s extensibility comes from its modular architecture, enabling users to define custom operators, executors, and hooks.

    Industry Focus

    Qlik Sense is tailored for business users seeking insights from data analytics and is commonly used across various industries. Airflow is industry-agnostic, focused more on engineering and data operations teams who need to orchestrate complex data workflows.


    Comparison: Qlik Sense vs. Airflow with Sourcetable

    Qlik Sense Overview

    Qlik Sense is a comprehensive data analytics and visualization tool that leverages AI and ML for augmented and predictive analytics. It offers an associative analytics engine for interactive visualizations and dashboards, enabling self-service and enterprise analytics. Qlik Sense supports a wide range of functionalities including data preparation, integration, and connectivity. It also allows for custom app development and embedding analytics into other applications. Trusted by over 40,000 customers, Qlik Sense is available as both a SaaS and on-premises solution.

    Airflow with Sourcetable Overview

    Airflow is an open-source tool designed for orchestrating complex computational workflows and data processing pipelines. It provides a platform to programmatically author, schedule, and monitor workflows. Sourcetable, on the other hand, is a spreadsheet interface that connects to various data sources for data integration and collaborative work. It facilitates data accessibility and visibility across teams with a focus on simplifying data workflows and reporting without the need for complex database queries or programming knowledge.

    Functional Comparison

  • Analytics and Visualization: Qlik Sense offers a robust set of analytics tools with advanced AI and ML capabilities for data exploration and insight generation. Airflow does not provide analytics or visualization features, as it is focused on workflow automation. Sourcetable allows for data manipulation and visualization within a spreadsheet interface but lacks the advanced analytics capabilities of Qlik Sense.
  • Data Workflow Automation: Airflow excels at automating and scheduling data workflows, which is not the primary function of Qlik Sense. Sourcetable offers a more user-friendly approach to data workflow management compared to the technical nature of Airflow.
  • Deployment: Qlik Sense can be deployed both as a SaaS and on-premises, providing flexibility for different business needs. Airflow is typically self-hosted, requiring infrastructure setup and maintenance. Sourcetable is offered as a service, simplifying the deployment process.
  • User Accessibility: Qlik Sense is designed for users of all skill levels, providing tools like AutoML and AI-assisted creation. Sourcetable targets users who are familiar with spreadsheets, offering an easy transition to data tasks. Airflow is intended for users with programming and technical expertise in workflow orchestration.
  • Collaboration: Both Qlik Sense and Sourcetable provide features for collaboration and notes, enhancing team productivity. Airflow's collaboration is more technical, revolving around code sharing and version control.
  • Integration and Connectivity: Qlik Sense integrates with a vast array of data sources for analytics. Sourcetable connects to different data sources primarily for data consolidation and reporting. Airflow integrates with various systems as part of workflow automation but does not focus on data analytics integration.
  • Conclusion

    Qlik Sense is a versatile data analytics platform with extensive visualization and analytics capabilities, suitable for a wide range of data-driven decision-making processes. Airflow specializes in automating data workflows and is best suited for technical users managing complex pipelines. Sourcetable provides a user-friendly data management experience with a spreadsheet-like interface, ideal for teams seeking simplicity in data tasks and reporting. Each tool serves distinct purposes and offers unique benefits for different organizational needs and user skill levels.


    Frequently Asked Questions About Sourcetable

    What is Sourcetable and who is it for?

    Sourcetable is a spreadsheet application that replaces workflows typically done in Excel, Google Sheets, and Business Intelligence tools. It's used by growth teams and business operations people who need to centralize, analyze, and model data that updates over time, without the need for coding.

    How does Sourcetable integrate with other applications?

    Sourcetable syncs data from over 100 applications and most databases, allowing users to access data from most 3rd party applications. Users can query this data and build live models that automatically update.

    What are the pricing plans for Sourcetable and what do they include?

    Sourcetable offers a starter plan at $50 per month and a pro plan at $250 per month. All plans include a 14-day free trial. The starter plan includes the first 5 users and each additional seat costs $20 per month.

    How often does Sourcetable update data integrations?

    Data integrations update every 15 minutes on the regular plan and every 5 minutes on the pro plan.

    Is coding required to use Sourcetable?

    No, Sourcetable does not require any coding to use. Users can start creating reports within minutes and build live models that automatically update as the data does.

    Qlik Sense

    Qlik Sense Pricing Overview

    • Qlik Cloud Analytics Plans

      Qlik Cloud Analytics Plans require an annual billing commitment.

    • Premium Plan Costs

      The Premium plan is priced from $2,700 per month.

    • Enterprise Plan Inclusions

    • Starting at 500GB/year of data analysis capacity
    • Comprehensive features encompassing Premium offerings
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    Airflow Cost

    Airflow is an open-source platform, developed by the community, and available for use at no cost. It provides a robust framework to author, schedule, and monitor workflows. Due to its open-source nature, Airflow is accessible to anyone with Python knowledge, making it a cost-effective solution for a wide range of tasks including building ML models, transferring data, and managing infrastructure.

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    User Reviews of Airflow

    • General Satisfaction

      Many users have expressed dissatisfaction with Airflow, indicating a trend of unhappiness among its user base.

    • Usage Frequency

      Despite the dissatisfaction, Airflow is extensively utilized, suggesting that it is a prevalent choice in its market.

    • Competitive Landscape

      Competitors such as Astronomer and Dagster are currently not seen as significant threats to Airflow's position in the market.

    • Review Bias Consideration

      It is important to consider that the perceived dissatisfaction may be influenced by bias within the author's sample of reviewers.


    In summary, Qlik Sense focuses on data visualization and interactive analytics, while Airflow specializes in workflow automation and data engineering tasks. Both tools have distinct strengths and are suited to different aspects of business intelligence.

    Sourcetable offers an alternative by providing a real-time data syncing solution across various services, delivering business intelligence through a familiar spreadsheet interface. This approach simplifies the process of managing and analyzing data.

    Simplify Your BI Tooling

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