It can be made chemically aware. This is a must-have in pharmaceutical R&D
The in-memory architecture allows the software to be very responsive to user inputs even with large data sets. (This does require that we provide users with appropriate hardware to handle the workload.)
Spotfire is feature rich but not so complicated that users can't be trained to generate their own content. This takes some of the content management burden off of my group and it also, more importantly, gives our scientists a platform to explore their ideas around our data repositories.
Improvements to My Organization
In the past five or six years, we've moved away from multiple one-size-fits-all solutions attached to the various data warehouses to using Spotfire as a single point of entry to explore all (well... most) of our data repositories. We now have a team that works with the data stakeholders to make sure the data is federated and presented to the users appropriately. Operating under this model allows us to aggregate data at the project level and takes that burden from the users which allows them to do more science.
Room for Improvement
In the past few years, web-based analytics has come a long way. I would like to see Spotfire evolve into a product that handles the data volume with in-memory architecture (or some equivalent technology) server-side, but lets us feed the results into any web-based visualization that we can get our hands on.
Use of Solution
We brought Spotfire in-house in the pre-Tibco era of Spotfire DecisionSite. I'm guessing I have been using it about 10 years.
Our environment is two application servers and one web player server. Getting all the pieces operating inside of our corporate IT infrastructure was challenging, but the end result does serve well over 1000 thick-client and web-based users.
Customer Service and Technical Support
Being a life sciences company, our support comes from Perkin Elmer rather than Tibco. They have provided us with very good support.
We are running Spotfire with Perkin Elmer's Lead Discovery extension to handle chemical structures.
We have implemented our last couple of major upgrades with an in-house team with remote vendor support. I would recommend this if you are building a large Spotfire environment. Both Tibco and Perkin Elmer can provide that type of support.
My rating for Spotfire is relative to similar software. In my opinion, no other product handles both the large volumes of data and has an easily managed extension to handle chemical structures along with the data.
Rating the software on its own relative to the capabilities I would like to see in a data analysis suite, I would put it at 6/10. It is not trivial to use the API to expand the capabilities of the software and it is cumbersome to manage the content/servers/feature licenses.