TIBCO Spotfire Review

Spotfire, Tableau and QlikView – in a Nutshell


Pick Spotfire if your analysis is likely to become complex as time progresses. Pick Tableau if you primarily want to satisfy the less complex needs of business users, and choose QlickView if you want a broad architecture that satisfies general needs.


Spotfire from Tibco provides an easy to use interface for data visualisation, analytics and the creation of dashboards. Most of the slicing and dicing can be done through drag and drop and a multitude of intelligent functions (eg scaling the time axis on charts automatically) make light work of many analysis tasks. The lightening fast execution speeds are also a great advantage, particularly on large data sets.

More complex analytics can be accomplished through the R programming language, and the R runtime engine has been embedded into the Spotfire statistical server. This allows R based analysis to be fed out to as many users as required (typically through its WebPlayer web client).

Version 5.0 of Spotfire has embraced big data and particularly in-database analysis, with support for Oracle, SQL Server and Teradata – others will follow.

In a nutshell: Full blown analytics and visualization environment with both end-user and analyst functionality.


There are three elements to the Tableau product set. Tableau Desktop provides a drag and drop analysis environment that is highly tuned for productivity. The product is capable of handling very large amounts of data and supports extensive collaboration features. Dashboards can be created from multiple analysis and these can be shared if desired. The technology is designed to connect straight to data sources without the usual extraction phase.

Tableau Server provides browser based analytics and the construction of dashboards which can be filtered and drilled in to by other users with relevant privileges. Mobile devices are also supported including iPad and Android devices. Finally Tableau Public is a web based service supporting the publishing of interactive real-time graphics on web sites. Embedding the graphics is as straightforward as embedding YouTube videos.

In a nutshell: Excellent environment for business users with a minimum of technical fuss to get results.


QlikView majors on in-memory processing for high levels of performance, and substantial inbuilt intelligence to maintain associations between data, compress data (by as much as 90%) and aggregate data on the fly. The product architecture has been designed to provide functionality for IT, analysts and end-users.

Business users can use web and mobile clients through the QlikView portal. Analysts perform analysis through QlikView Desktop and IT professionals use the QlikView Management Console. The QlikView Server (QVS) is the hub of the QlikView archiecture and supports all three users though its very fast in-memory processing.

In a nutshell: Innovative and highly productive environment for end users, business analysts and IT professionals. Extensive inbuilt intelligence provides a very productive environment.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Add a Comment

author avatarit_user153207 (User at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees)

I have gone through this post and found that R runtime engine has been embedded into the Spotfire statistical server.

So there is no need to install separate engine for R, if we install TERR and R engine has been embedded into TERR engine.

Kindly correct me if my understand is wrong.

author avatarit_user237789 (Director of Product Marketing at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees)

Hi Chidambaram,
The Spotfire Analyst and Spotfire Desktop clients have an embedded R engine (TERR). There is no need to separately install TERR. The main purpose of using server-side TERR is the ability to run R using a larger computer on larger data sets.