TIBCO Spotfire Review

The transformations available when bringing in the data allow for quick changes such as pivoting and unpivoting, data type change, and renaming of columns.


What is most valuable?

The quick data mash-up and manipulation and the visualization of large amounts of data.

Spotfire allows me to combine data from disparate data sources quickly and to investigate if my joins are appropriate visually. Additionally, the data transformations available when bringing in the data allow for quick changes such as pivoting and unpivoting, data type change, and renaming of columns. I am also able to load in large amounts of data within Spotfire and slice and dice this data as desired. I’ve had over 50 million rows of data in a single file and was able to create drillable visualizations with the entire data set.

How has it helped my organization?

Due to the creation of information links directly against our ArcGIS database feature classes, we are able to have live updated interactive shapefiles shared across the company.

We are also able to create visualizations in an interactive (investigative) dashboard combining data from multiple databases. These dashboards can serve somewhat as a self-service investigative tool by our team members to answer questions they might have about a particular issue.

What needs improvement?

I believe the number one feature that needs improvement is the ability to edit the data table construction/modification steps after the fact, similar to the Microsoft Power Query interface. Although you can prototype quickly in Spotfire, if you’ve made a mistake in building your table, you often times have to start from scratch to fix your error. Being able to modify these steps would greatly enhance the data preparation ability of Spotfire.

Also, further control over the stylization of shapes and shapefiles would be beneficial (e.g., dashed lines in shapefiles, different fill patterns rather than solid, etc.).

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for four years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

As far as deployment, everything I have experienced has been ok. We did have some issues in getting everything set up with Kerberos authentication and had to work with Tibco quite a bit on how to configure everything properly.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is pretty good. However, if you have a decent-sized data set (maybe 100 columns by a few hundred thousand rows) and you create a lot of complex visualizations, sometimes the program will crash on you. As there is no auto-save feature, this can cause an issue sometimes.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I can’t really speak to the scalability issues as I haven’t been involved with that.

How is customer service and technical support?

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say customer service is a 9. Their customer service representatives are usually extremely responsive and knowledgeable. For more complicated issues, they will schedule WebExes to facilitate a more efficient customer service experience. Furthermore, they are good at adding your requests as enhancement requests if the feature in question doesn’t exist.

Which solutions did we use previously?

I switched from using Excel to Spotfire about four years ago. At that time, I was not part of any other program evaluations. I was just provided with Spotfire.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Currently, I have worked with Power Query, PowerPivot, Power Maps, and Power BI and find them to be useful tools, especially for a reduced cost (sometimes free). However, I would classify these solutions as SpotfireLite. For many users at a company, the Power Suite would probably be suitable for general data investigation. Yet, you will reach a point at which the Power Suite cannot achieve the same functionality in such a controllable way as Spotfire. E.g., trend analysis, box plots, easy drillability, etc.

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