MashZone NextGen Business Analytics Review

Better than any of the competition for ease-of-use but it is slow and not good with big data


What is our primary use case?

We are experts in process analysis for the biggest companies in Poland.  

Software AG is trying to sell us on their cloud version, but for now, we still using the on-premises version on our server.  

MashZone is a very simple system for analysis because it connects widgets for object analysis. You do not have to try to develop something in SQL or another programming language. Everyone who knows something like Microsoft Excel, for example, will have enough experience to try doing analysis with MashZone. It is that simple. It is easier to use than Qlik, more simple than Tableau, et cetera.  

What is most valuable?

The ease-of-use of MashZone is better than any of the competition for data analysis.  

What needs improvement?

Within the last month, Software AG sent us a new version of MashZone. Some of the features in MashZone have been modified and there are two new functionalities that are quite interesting to us. But we are still in the testing stage so there is not much to say about the new version yet and if they have resolved some things that are currently issues for us.  

The interface is good. It is very simple. It may not have many functions, but it is enough for process analysis. By comparison, Qlik and Tableau have many, many more functions. Statistical analysis is impossible in MashZone, but for process analysis, it is enough.  

MashZone is the best for process analysis. It is a very solid system. It is not as good for BI (Business Intelligence) because when you have big data, you have a problem. When we start to aggregate data and we have a source of something like one million rows, we have a big problem with MashZone because it is a very slow system.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have worked with MashZone for about two years. I started work with my present company and this company working with Software AG (Aktiengesellschaft / Corporation) for many, many years. But for me, it is only the last two years that I have been with them that I have had experience with the product.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I think the stability depends on the specialists you have in your company. It is a very stable system when you have good employees in your company who know what they are doing and how to work with the product. If the IT department that you have is good, then MashZone is very stable.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The number of users that we have changes a lot, up and down, because of periodic fluctuations. We are a company which sells the systems to many big companies. In the last half-year, I worked for the Polish government postal services, Poczta Polska. They have about 1,000 users. But now, in our system, we have only about 10 users. The product can scale to the number of users.  

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is a problem because the tech support team in Germany is the only group with enough experience. In Poland, we have had many situations where we have had a problem that we needed to address for our customers. Usually, we had to talk with the technical support in Germany to get the issue resolved because the depth of knowledge in Poland is a problem. If you get technical support in Germany they have a very good understanding of the product and the support is excellent.  

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We sell Software AG solutions and when we talk about process analysis, I think Software AG has the best solution. ARIS (Architecture of Integrated Information Systems) products like Architect, Connect, and Process Mining are very good solutions for process analysis which I have used before.  

We are using only Software AG for our process analysis at my current company. But sometimes a customer will ask about some solution for statistical analysis or for financial analysis, et cetera. When they need this type of analysis we might use another product which we research or which they request.  

How was the initial setup?

It is quite difficult to say how the installation is for common users. This is because we have high competency in our company and many people who know the product well. When I came to our company, I worked with my colleague at the next desk and he knows every answer to every question without doing any research. For people with experience, this product will be easier to install and use.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Because we sometimes get data from systems and companies that need different analysis, we need the best application for analysis of the data type. We think the best solution for us when we need to do statistical analysis might be Qlik. I could not be sure without trying to compare, so we did some testing. The Qlik solution has memory technology that acts differently and we see a big difference with using Qlik for this type of analysis when comparing it to MashZone.  

What other advice do I have?

The advice I have for people considering MashZone is that it is very good for specific things. When you have big data you must buy MashZone with Terracotta, because Terracotta is a second Software AG solution with better memory technology. Only using MashZone along with Terracotta will make the processing fast enough.  

I think the biggest problem with MashZone is that even though you have a lot of widgets and the system is simple to develop with, it is not a very fast system. It is a very simple system to use, more simple than Tableau in my opinion. But the biggest problem is speed. It is not fast with processing.  

I think because the system is really designed for process analysis, when we analyze a process for our customers, the MashZone is much better than all other solutions. But the database for processes can not be very big. If there are about 40,000 rows for process analysis — and this is a pretty big analysis — then MashZone is enough. But when you want to analyze something using statistics or for financial analysis, MashZone is not a very good system. This is not really what it was designed to do and excel at.  

On a scale from one to ten (where one is the worst and ten is the best), I would rate MashZone NextGeneration overall as a product as a seven-out-of-ten.  

The reasons why it gets a seven is because of the problems the product has in processing big data. If I try to analyze big data in MashZone, it is just impossible. I changed the server for a better one and it is still is not enough processing power. This is only my opinion based on the version of the software that we are using (10.3). But now they have a new version (10.5) which has some new features that we are very interested in and maybe I will score the product as more than seven when I have the opportunity to use them. For example, in the new version, Software AG claims that now there is a business component for developing our own templates for MashZone. 

For many years now, that was impossible. The template changes could only be made by the IT department in JavaScript. It required JavaScript to make the change. Now it is possible to do it in a different way. It is one less problem.  

The second problem that Software AG said they have tried to address is the speed of MashZone. Prior to this release, MashZone did not have enough capabilities to do proper Gant analysis. Now Software AG says that in new version Gant analysis is better. We do not know for certain because we have not yet put it to the test. For now, when we using version 10.3, that is practically impossible. Of course, something is there to do this type of analysis in version 10.3, but it is very complicated to use.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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