TIBCO Spotfire Room for Improvement

Developer and a Software Administrator (currently unemployed)

When Spotfire released version 10.0, they came out with a brand new UI and made some pretty drastic changes to the user interface. With the first release of anything, there's always a lot of criticism and room for improvement. Still, the design of the UI could be improved. There are small issues like file name extensions that are hard to read, for example. They really improved their database connectivity. In version 10.0, they added a lot of great improvements that consumers have wanted for a long time. Regardless, some basic design changes in the UI would make it a little more intuitive for users.

In terms of the next release, from a data analytics standpoint, I think that it's a pretty strong product. I know they just made some recent improvements — now they have a Python programming interface in Spotfire. That was one of the things that I had wanted for a long time.

Some minor changes to the user interface to make navigation a little more intuitive would be nice. Other than that, the solution is really good. 

There's an online Spotfire community that is underused. I used to log into it a lot to try and have discussions with other users. I don't know if it's just that the users are working on so many different things that sometimes they're just not interested in talking with other users, but I think the user community should be promoted more. There's a lot of valuable information out there but it's up to the consumers to make use of it. I think that's something that they should promote more.

I also think they should limit the number of releases. I'm not a fan of their release schedule; sometimes they may have two types of releases at the same time. Basically, they have both short-term and long-term releases. They put out a long-term release every year to year-and-a-half. At the same time, they'll have five or six short-term releases in between. Sometimes, the short-term releases will have a critical upgrade that clients may want, but often, the short releases aren't supported as well as the long releases. So, if you're going to upgrade to a short-term release, you have to be willing to upgrade often.

My previous company had over 600 users. By the time I would get one version into production, we literally went right back into putting the next release into development — testing and getting it ready for production. I worked a lot with people in various business groups to help with testing and user acceptance — it got to the point where it was requiring a lot of them. Some of these people were engineers and they would say, "We can't be putting all this time into helping you test." So, we had to work around that. The release schedule is something I would change.

On a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of ten.

There are other really good products on the market, but I haven't seen anything that is light years ahead of Spotfire as far as capabilities go. It's been around for a long time; It has been a leading product years before many of these other products were even on the market. They have a great history.

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Specialist Geosciences Data Consultant at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees

Personalising Spotfire, as a whole, is painful and is something that could be made easier. As a result, I'm not doing much coding.

The background process is something that I find difficult to work with, although that may be more related to company policy and procedures than it is to Spotfire. Specifically, having it on the servers for development and then moving to acceptance in production is not user-friendly. I understand why it's got to be done, so you don't mess up anything that's in production, but to me, it's a little bit antiquated. I think it could be more robust in how you pull in your data, from a database level. Using data in spreadsheets is very simple but when you start connecting to databases, it can be clunky and difficult to do.

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Integrating Manager at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees

In terms of what could be improved, when it comes to data manipulation there are features which are good, but one of the features which has really been missing in Spotfire is an offline ability for data manipulation. In Qlik you are able to simply manipulate the member's data, manage it, and build data through SQL queries. This means you can actually do your data modeling offline. If we had this type of capability in Spotfire that would make it a very superior product with respect to the others in the market. Now it is hard to manage offline.

You really have to rely on the external sources to do the entire data modeling for the exploration or for the visualization development. But what Qlik has also started offering is that they have a wider capability where you can actually have offline data and do your data modeling through the SQL. This means you can actually manipulate a member's data before you utilize it in a visualization. So you really don't have to rely a lot on the enterprise source, and you can manage data in your own source and then deploy the dashboard supporting this.

Additionally, support could be improved. Lastly, the third feature which I would really recommend improving is the diagnosing and monitoring tools, which are really missing in the overall portfolio of Spotfire.

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