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TIBCO Spotfire OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

TIBCO Spotfire is the #9 ranked solution in our list of top Business Intelligence Tools. It is most often compared to Microsoft BI: TIBCO Spotfire vs Microsoft BI

What is TIBCO Spotfire?

TIBCO Spotfire is your secret weapon. You can create beautiful, interactive visualizations that will help you find the critical insights hiding in your data - fast. Spotfire gives you the tools to quickly and easily examine, organize, analyze and comprehend your data to see connections, patterns, and opportunities.

TIBCO Spotfire is also known as Spotfire.

TIBCO Spotfire Buyer's Guide

Download the TIBCO Spotfire Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: September 2021

TIBCO Spotfire Customers

Allergan, ASSS de Montreal, Avantium, Blue River, Bank of Montreal, Citibank, FrieslandCampina, Hellmann Logistics, Merck, Novartis

TIBCO Spotfire Video

Archived TIBCO Spotfire Reviews (more than two years old)

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DB
Systems Engineer
Real User
It does very well at collecting metrics and giving us concise reports, but we would like an easier way to migrate to the cloud

Pros and Cons

  • "We used it pretty heavily in gathering data, which goes to our VPs. They are able to base their next revenue planning based on this metric. So, it has been invaluable."
  • "We would like an easier way to get the product to the cloud. Right now, we have the on-premise version, and we would like to find a way to make it easier to migrate it over to the cloud."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for reporting and metrics.

How has it helped my organization?

We used it pretty heavily in gathering data, which goes to our VPs. They are able to base their next revenue planning based on this metric. So, it has been invaluable.

What is most valuable?

It does very well at collecting metrics and giving us concise reports based on what we need.

What needs improvement?

We would like an easier way to get the product to the cloud. Right now, we have the on-premise version, and we would like to find a way to make it easier to migrate it over to the cloud. We want something that is easier to get over to AWS.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Its stability has been good. We experienced crashes a few versions back, but the current version that we're on has been stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We are heavily into AWS; the company is about 75% into AWS. 

We have over 10,000 employees with about 5000 active users of the product.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I would recommend evaluating it against other products. When I got onto the team, we didn't evaluate it against any other products. It was the one that was already in-house, so we went with it. If somebody wants to evaluate it for use, I would recommend that they have two or three other products that they could compare it against.

What other advice do I have?

We use it a lot with TIBCO EMS. It works relatively well with that. It is able to gather performance metrics on it.

We are using the non-AWS version.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AF
Business Development Executive at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees
Reseller
Connects to many data sources, enables us to quickly see insights in the data

Pros and Cons

  • "The ability to connect to many different data sources is one of the key features. The other would then be the different ways in which that data can be visualized."
  • "I would like more easy-to-implement analytical algorithms. At the moment they include things like forecasts and regressions. They need to add a lot more of these types of things to the product because not everyone is a data scientist."

What is our primary use case?

Very generally it's used for meshing together many data sources and doing data visualization.

How has it helped my organization?

Using Spotfire, it's very quick to see insights in your data.

What is most valuable?

The ability to connect to many different data sources is one of the key features. The other would then be the different ways in which that data can be visualized.

What needs improvement?

The key thing for me is to see that the product continues to add more types of visualizations. On top of that, I would like more easy-to-implement analytical algorithms. At the moment they include things like forecasts and regressions. They need to add a lot more of these types of things to the product because not everyone is a data scientist.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's extremely stable. There may be some criticism, as a client, about it not being made available on a Mac, as opposed to just Windows. But on the Windows platform, it is fairly stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Some of the biggest customers have 40,000 users, so it is extremely scalable.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support is exceptional. I think it has extremely good coverage with multiple levels, Bronze, Silver, and Gold, ranging from standard support through to 24/7 mission-critical.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

As a reseller, the typical vendors would always be Tableau, QlikView, Spotfire, and maybe in that mix would be Microsoft Power BI.

What other advice do I have?

When looking into a product like this, you really need to think not just about what your requirements are today, but to think about it from a requirements point of view for 18 months or two years down the track.

Also, think about whether or not you just want to do BI dashboards or real analytics. If it's the latter, then Spotfire's the tool for you. If not, if your company isn't ready for analytics, then you're probably better off getting a cheaper visualization tool.

When selecting a vendor the most important criteria are 

  • credibility
  • time in the marketplace
  • service support
  • geographical footprint.

I would rate Spotfire at eight out of 10. I still think there is work to done on the visualization side of things. And there is also work to be done on the statistical algorithms.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
Learn what your peers think about TIBCO Spotfire. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2021.
541,708 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Aditya Singh
Programmer Analyst at Tech Services Company
Consultant
One of the best data analytical tool for your business which gives insight into our data along predictive analytics.

What is our primary use case?

Creating reports and dashboards for end users to get insights of business fetching data from multiple data sources. 

How has it helped my organization?

It is one of the best BI tools that gives deep insights into our data along with analytical exposure and statistical services.

What is most valuable?

Data Connections, Information Links, WMS and TMS layer in Map Chart, In-Memory Analysis, Scheduled Updates, Support to IronPython, R-Script, S+, MATLAB for analytical capabilities.

With every new release of Spotfire comes up with new features which help the user experience like theme based visualizations, recommendations engine for visualizations, waterfall and KPI chart, annotations, comments on the charts, combining data for categorical values is very useful, nested aggregations and ODATA connectors are very important features which would edge to the dashboards.

What needs improvement?

More appealing in user interface like other tools. Sometimes users complain of only basic visualizations availability compared to other tools. These are available from third party but if those could be added in Spotfire itself then it would be great.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Nothing significant.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Easy to scale

How is customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Good

Technical Support:

It's good but need improvement.

How was the initial setup?

It was straightforward to setup the Spotfire environment provided you have some knowledge how the thing works in system but few things need lot of time and expertise.

What about the implementation team?

In house team

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing and licensing are high compared to other tools, but ROI is great.

What other advice do I have?

One of the best data visualization and analytical tools I have worked with and would definitely suggest others to evaluate and go for Spotfire to get the best ROI.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user738732
Business Intelligence Lead at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Gives us the ability to automate manual reports

What is most valuable?

Text areas R and automation services Schedule updates

How has it helped my organization?

We were able to automate manual reports, which we then email a report copy to the user's mailbox instead of someone manually creating the report and sharing it in bigger user groups.

What needs improvement?

PDF export Print capability and trigger-based events Real time reporting

For how long have I used the solution?

Five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Data refresh got stuck few times.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No, we have 700GB of Web Player Nodes. We have never consumed more than 10% of the available memory.

How is customer service and technical support?

Excellent.

How was the initial

What is most valuable?

  • Text areas
  • R and automation services
  • Schedule updates

How has it helped my organization?

We were able to automate manual reports, which we then email a report copy to the user's mailbox instead of someone manually creating the report and sharing it in bigger user groups.

What needs improvement?

  • PDF export
  • Print capability and trigger-based events
  • Real time reporting

For how long have I used the solution?

Five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Data refresh got stuck few times.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No, we have 700GB of Web Player Nodes. We have never consumed more than 10% of the available memory.

How is customer service and technical support?

Excellent.

How was the initial setup?

Yes, we had challenges with the firewall, but those were internal. Expect the rest of the setup to be quite straightforward.

What other advice do I have?

Scale the servers based on need and follow standards in developing reports. Reuse information links, columns, filters, etc.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Vice President at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
One of the main features is integrated statistical analysis. Compared to competitors, the UI is quite dated.

Pros and Cons

  • "One of the main features is integrated statistical analysis."
  • "Compared to competitors, the UI is quite dated."

What is most valuable?

One of the main features is integrated statistical analysis. At time of first purchase, presentation of tree maps was important, but competitors have closed that gap.

How has it helped my organization?

The same way any visualization product has improved things.

What needs improvement?

Compared to competitors, the UI is quite dated.

For how long have I used the solution?

Personally, I have used it for six years. In this organization, I have used it for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The server product can have stability issues for certain use cases. The desktop product is fine.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

We did not try technical support.

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

We are a large organization, and so have Tibco and most of its competitors deployed in one place or another. So there hasn’t been a “switch” as much as an addition.

How was the initial setup?

The desktop product installation is straightforward. Don’t know about the server.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Negotiating large/enterprise licenses has been a trial. The Tibco sales teams have been very difficult to work with - ignoring requests, misrepresenting level of demand, etc. Careful due diligence is required with any (and I do mean any) representation made during the sales/contracting experience.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated all of them.

What other advice do I have?

Keep an eye on competitors - the usual suspects like Tableau and Qlik as well as tools like Alteryx. There are still use cases for teams/applications where Tibco is a clear choice based on features and price, but the gaps are narrowing quickly. Add to this that your teams and processes are maturing, and may be maturing more quickly than the product suite deployed for them. It’s a mistake to just renew current products as, in many cases, the cost to change is coming down as well.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Development Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Even if you do not have a lot of IT skills, you can build a dashboard fast.

Pros and Cons

  • "Data discovery is very simple."
  • "The number of charts available out of the box in Spotfire can be enhanced."

What is most valuable?

Data discovery is very simple.

Improved data wrangling (7.8)

Building a dashboard is very fast, even if you have limited IT skills.

You can retrieve data from a database without using SQL and integrate data from different sources (Excel, CSV, database, and so on).

Predictive Models incorporated in the dashboard(TERR-R-S-Matlab)

Integration with Tibbr

What needs improvement?

  1. Add more visualization types. The number of charts available out of the box in Spotfire can be enhanced. I know there is a Custom Extension, JSViz, to integrate D3 visualizations. Last year I had a look but I remember there were limitations in using this extension and anyway it requires a Java script knowledge.
  2. Provide the capability to trigger a Python script on marking change. It's only possible to trigger an R script on marking change. In my experience, considering customers requests and forum discussions it's a feature requested . Using some tricks can be achieved but it should be out of the box.

For how long have I used the solution?

I used it for 2 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Deployment is very simple.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Sometimes the Spotfire client crashes when you test a Python script.

There is an issue with the web player exhibiting the same behavior in all browsers. Sometimes, the property control in the test area is resized or not well displayed.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability improved in the new sw versions (7.5 and higher).

With the new architecture (7.5 and higher) load balancing for the web player is out of the box. Easy setup of spotfire server cluster for fault tolerance.

How is customer service and technical support?

I had a few issues with the product, and they were quickly solved by the support team.

How was the initial setup?

It is simple in my opinion. If you find any issue: Read the installation manual!!

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user575982
Sr. VP Insights & Analytics at a media company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It can consume and collaborate data from a number of different data sources.

What is most valuable?

It's an analytic tool, similar to Tableau. The features that are most valuable to us are:

  • Its ability to consume data from about any type of source such as a CSV, SQL, Excel, and text (*.txt) files. Thus, it can consume and collaborate data from a number of different data sources.
  • It has the ability to do very sophisticated analysis on the data.
  • It has an extremely good graphic ability, so as to present the data in a way that's very meaningful to the end user.

What needs improvement?

They have good training programs for it, but the learning curve for Spotfire is probably higher than it might be for Tableau.

All of the functionalities are also higher in this product. Spotfire requires a fairly strong commitment from somebody to become a Spotfire developer.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for about three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were no stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no scalability issues, as of now.

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

We didn't use a different solution before. Previously, we have just used Excel, PowerPoint, and other such typical Microsoft Office products.

What other advice do I have?

I'm a good advocate for Spotfire, so I would highly recommend it, with one caution. You have to train developers in it and that will take a fair amount of time and commitment.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user498429
IT Analyst at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
It has allowed us to host client and web on the same server.

What is most valuable?

Data on demand JSS and HTML customization

How has it helped my organization?

It has allowed us to be able to host client and web on same server.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for three years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

The server crashes at times with plugins.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support is 8/10.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was simple.

What other advice do I have?

Use it for all of your analytical reports.

What is most valuable?

  • Data on demand
  • JSS and HTML customization

How has it helped my organization?

It has allowed us to be able to host client and web on same server.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for three years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

The server crashes at times with plugins.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support is 8/10.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was simple.

What other advice do I have?

Use it for all of your analytical reports.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Project Controls Consultant with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
The ability to handle large volumes of data through its in-memory OLAP is valuable.

What is most valuable?

It's not specific, but in general, the product's ability to handle large volumes of data through its in-memory OLAP is valuable, as well as its data visualization capabilities.

For most organizations which are generally not so tech-savvy, people usually rely on Excel to do their data analytics. But once the size of data hits a certain level, it becomes very inefficient to manage your Excel files. Once you are at this stage, you could either get a developer to come up with a solution (most likely an enterprise tool or some sort of OLAP database solution), or you could get a stand-alone version of Spotfire.

If you have someone in your team with a little bit of database development skill, learning to use Spotfire is not too difficult and you could save time and money on implementing a full-blown solution by IT consultants.

How has it helped my organization?

Our old executive reports were heavily text-based. People responsible for generating reports would spend a lot of time writing a report that nobody read. Once we implemented Spotfire, the reports have become data-driven and visually appealing.

We carefully designed the analytic report in a way that condenses text-based information into visual information that is easy to digest. It is true that you could also achieve the same outcome with Excel or other MS Office tools, but with Spotfire's data visualization capabilities, the job is much easier.

What needs improvement?

I'm not a technical expert, but based on my experience from the user/designer point of view, the level of visual customization (e.g., how graphical objects are displayed) needs more flexibility.

Learning to use the scripting language (Python) proved a challenge for me personally due to lack of good documentation, and the scripting editor is not so user-friendly. If you want greater flexibility and more powerful features than what's offered, you may need to hire a Spotfire developer to do the coding.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used the solution for around two to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Generally speaking, the software is quite stable (both the application and back-end server). However, we did experience application crashes from time to time when memory usage is heavy, but we aren't technical experts, so we could not identify exactly when/why it crashed.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of its ability to handle a big volume of data, it's highly scalable. But in my organization in which Spotfire was used mainly as a reporting tool, we found it a bit challenging to scale up our report configuration. For example, with MS Access, you create a master layout which can be used for several projects or customers. In Spotfire, we ended up having to create separate master layouts for every project. When there was a request to modify the report layout, it was a tedious task.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't had enough experience dealing with technical support to answer this question.

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

We used a combination of out-of-the-box software solutions and Excel/Access before we added Spotfire to make our lives a bit easier. We did not switch completely from existing tools to Spotfire. It's more about adding Spotfire in order to enhance our existing system.

How was the initial setup?

Our requirements were simple (only at the department level in a large organization). So the initial setup of the Spotfire server was straightforward and was done within a few days. The main issue was obtaining security credentials from the IT department to access database servers we need to generate reports.

A less-straightforward step is when we needed to design our analytical reports that meet the requirements of our executives. Here, it is nothing to do with Spotfire or any other software but more about good communication with the stakeholders.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

My advice based on personal experience would be to start small and scale up when you're certain that Spotfire is the right tool for you. In our organization, we started with a couple of stand-alone licenses for one year. Only after that, we decided to implement a server-based license to expand our user base for the whole department.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We tried Spotfire and liked it, so we did not have the need to evaluate other options. However, other well-known (perhaps more popular) options include Tableau and QlikView. You can refer to the Gartner's Magic Quadrant report on BI tools.

What other advice do I have?

In addition to what I have written regarding pricing and licensing, I suggest that having an in-house power user in your organization - who understands both the tool and your needs - is highly critical.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user494247
Senior Analyst - Reservoir Engineering at a energy/utilities company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
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 are 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 solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

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.
it_user494085
Consultant at a consultancy with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
I have used it to develop visualizations that have identified historical trends that allowed an organization focus its operations to reduce injuries.

What is most valuable?

  • Ability to handle large amounts of data from multiple sources and quickly visualize it for users.
  • Connectivity to widely used data management (MDM) solutions in place in most organizations
  • Easy to train users in how to use the dashboards, visualizations and maximize their performance as users

How has it helped my organization?

From a safety standpoint, I have developed visualizations that have highlighted trends in past history. When identified, they helped the business determine where to put more focus and consciousness in operations so that they can reduce injuries.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see improved mobile capabilities.

I would like more functionality in the formatting of the pages so that they can have more of an application with the look and feel of other custom-developed solutions with the organization.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for eight years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I have never had issues with deployment or scalability, TIBCO offers different versions to fit customers’ needs (desktop, web based, etc.).

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is average; however, the user conferences that are held regionally and nationally provide a lot of value.

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

I previously used Oracle OBIEE. We switched because:

  • Development time was too long.
  • Overhead of resources required to maintain it was too high.
  • Spotfire will offer very fast enterprise data and visualization capabilities in a short amount of time.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is straightforward; there are downloads that you perform in order that make it easier than it used to be, but it is not quite plug and play for an enterprise implementation.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented it with an in-house team.

You may not need one, but establish a contact number at TIBCO for extra help should you encounter problems.

What was our ROI?

ROI depends on the maturity and adoption of the organization. Spotfire can have an exponentially higher ROI than what it costs, if implemented well, adoption programs are in place and users are trained.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Users can license and download directly from the TIBCO website and be active within minutes.

What other advice do I have?

I highly recommend Spotfire.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Consultant (Analytics + Information management) at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Provides visualization options and data exploration.

What is most valuable?

  • The advanced settings in the dialog box for visualization options are comprehensive and easy to use.
  • The filters available in the data panel for data exploration are responsive, even on large data sets.

How has it helped my organization?

It has improved internal audits in customers that implemented the enterprise server by increasing the size and scope of data sets analyzed and tested. This makes the process more automated.

What needs improvement?

Some visualizations that were customized did not display well when published to the web server. I suspect it had more to do with the specifications for that particular deliverable than with the solution's capabilities.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used the solution for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not encountered any scalability issues, but we are only a small implementation for three to five analysts.

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't used the technical support facility.

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

Other customers implemented IBM Cognos, SAP Business Objects, or Tableau.

How was the initial setup?

We don't know about the initial setup.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We can't offer any advice on this issue.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Tableau. Our decision to go with Tibco Spotfire came down to the availability of a developer/analyst skillset with the tool.

What other advice do I have?

Consider how this fits within enterprise data governance. There are no real savings on time spent preparing data for analysis.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Vice President, Scientific Analytics at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The visual and advanced analytics are valuable. It is scalable at the enterprise level.

What is most valuable?

  • Best in class in visual and advanced analytics
  • Enterprise scalability

How has it helped my organization?

  • Massive process improvement and time savings in life science research, as well as clinical data analytics

What needs improvement?

Cloud infrastructure could be improved. The cloud market is rapidly evolving and TIBCO is at the forefront of development here. With Hadoop connectivity, there is also a link to data lake environments. I think that a turnkey offering with a smart data lake and analytics layer on top is where the market is heading.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this for 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

If you use recommended hardware sizing, you should not encounter any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I did not encounter any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support was excellent.

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

We did not previously use a different solution.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was straightforward as you can start small and build the platform as you go.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

You can choose between subscription and perpetual licenses based on your needs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate alternatives.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this product because it is intuitive with a fast learning curve and very powerful. In my opinion, it exceeds competitors' capabilities in enterprise scalability and advanced analytics support.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We're a Life Science Partner.
ITCS user
BI Developer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
This product has enabled staff to easily create reports/dashboards without having to involve a developer in most cases.

What is most valuable?

  • Good data transformation tools.
  • Excellent connectivity to different data sources.
  • Good forecasting and statistical capabilities.
  • Can be hosted or cloud based.

How has it helped my organization?

  • It has enabled staff to easily create reports/dashboards without having to involve a developer in most cases.
  • It has made it easier for users to create their own reusable visualizations/widgets.
  • For more advanced users it facilitates better integration of the languages used (Python, Javascript, etc.) and the tools.

What needs improvement?

  • Spotfire is poor at pixel perfect embedding in a website.
  • It can be difficult to remove the Spotfire branding for embedded pages as well.
  • It is a very expensive license model.
  • DBA is still required for optimization of some report queries and their underlying SQL.

For how long have I used the solution?

We used this solution for four years up to the beginning of 2016.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Ours was a hosted solution with two servers. The main Spotfire server required very few restarts and it was normally down to a user creating a crazy report for millions of rows of data.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not encountered any scalability issues. However, the cost is prohibitive.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is above average. Our Spotfire support was handled by a Spotfire partner who was quick to respond. TIBCO's website does also provide a wealth of information through a knowledge base, community forums, technical block articles etc. They provided a few licenses for a development system so we could test patches etc out before deploying to our production system.

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

We used Oracle Portal. We switched as the technology was becoming dated and our analysts wanted something they could use themselves with minimal development involvement and to be easy to deploy their dashboards/reports to their users.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't involved with the setup as our IT team did this. They didn't complain about it afterwards.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Tibco is an expensive product and although we purchased it initially for a small user group, as usage grew licencing costs meant we had to be very proactive with users who had licences but were not using them. There didn't appear to be any options to reduce the per user licencing costs by changing to a per processor model unless you were spending £1m+.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Tableau, Qlikview, Jaspersoft, Oracle.

What other advice do I have?

  • Tibco brought Jaspersoft recently which offers far better options for embedding/pixel perfect, however they are still in the process of integrating the two.
  • Write your needs down as well as any specific requirements.
  • Get the Tibco Partner to show you a demo against your data.
  • If it's only for a small number of users look at their cloud solution rather than hosted.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
SS
Vice President - Fixed Income at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Visualizations help us dissect data more and spot outliers more easily. Their mobile solution and export functions are relatively weak.

What is most valuable?

Visualization is the most valuable feature. Visualizations help us dissect data more and spot outliers more easily.

How has it helped my organization?

We have a dashboard set up with Spotfire to show risk metrics across the firm for senior management.

What needs improvement?

Their mobile solution (i.e. to use on mobile devices) and export functions are relatively weak. Spotfire templates are typically designed and mocked up on PC and then got rolled out to users, who in most cases require the capabilities to view them on both PCs and mobile devices. Due to real estate issues, the PC versions wont’ fit well on the latter. Spotfire doesn’t offer easy solutions for the transition yet. Separate templates tailored to smaller screens have to be set up manually by users.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Tibco Spotfire for about four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not had any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not had any scalability issues.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support is medium. They don’t have a user hotline to call. Any technical issue will have to be either directed to consultants or logged in a ticket on the web.

How was the initial setup?

Setup was straightforward. Users can use the product straight out of box.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I was not involved in pricing and licensing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated MicroStrategy.

What other advice do I have?

It is a great tool. Compared to other products on the market, Spotfire is designed for enterprise-level solutions. The key, however, to fully utilize the tool is to have an open/transparent data infrastructure to feed into the tool.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user494067
Senior Analytics Consultant at a pharma/biotech company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Build everything from data discovery , to enterprise reports, to simple dashboards, to predictive analytics and beyond

What is most valuable?

  • Data engine: numerous methods to load load, transform, and merge data from every major data source.
  • Web player: out of the box ability to share analysis through web browser. Advanced web functionality to customize with portals.
  • Analytics: basic stats functionality out of the box and ability to connect to all major analytics vendors/languages (SAS, MatLab, R, etc.).
  • Visualizations: equally suited for data discovery and reports.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Tibco Spotfire analysts from building Excel and PowerPoint reports and allows them to start analyzing information.
  • Standardizes metrics and flow of information within organizations.
  • Simple enough for non-tech users to use, but powerful enough for power users to produce advanced analytics.

What needs improvement?

  • Integration with a custom web portal is still challenging.
  • Version control should be included to aide development processes.
  • Further the out-of-the-box ability to customize visualizations.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for over five years, starting with v3.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Initial deployments are normally issue-free. Spotfire supports numerous data sources, authentication methods, load balancers, and other IT environment configurations. Spotfire v7.5+ is a significant change in architecture and will require a different configuration and additional admin training.

Upgrades normally require minor adjustments to some Spotfire analyses. There are Spotfire tools to assess differences between files in each version and the change in performance.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The most common issue is insufficient resources on host servers or laptops. Most other issues arise from custom applications integrating with new versions of Spotfire.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I’ve worked with deployments and upgrades at small organizations and all the way up to 20,000+ user organizations. Spotfire can be scaledeasily, but requires planning and is dependent on the underlying technology (as with any software).

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Improved dramatically in recent years with rapid releases of updated versions.

Technical Support:

Professional and timely support. The Spotfire upgrade roadmap is a bit opaque though.

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

Previously I have used Tableau, Business Object, SAS JMP, MiniTab and Excel. Spotfire is most commonly compared against Tableau, Qlik and MicroStrategy. Spotfire is typically selected for its data engine, web player and advanced analytics capabilities.

How was the initial setup?

It's generally straightforward except for when custom applications, e.g. in-house developed software, are to be configured with Spotfire.

What about the implementation team?

Usually large scale implementations are done by a vendor, but small scale deployments are possible with an internal team. Beyond the basic requirements, the key is to understand scalability needs, community use cases, authentication needs, and data architecture needs. Upgrades can be handled in-house.

What was our ROI?

ROI can be measured by how much time is saved by your analysts no longer needing to build reports. Typically, a core group of users build the Spotfire templates and everyone else in the organization analyzes information in the templates. Other than upkeep, once a template is built in Spotfire, your organization can analyze information and take action. Also, the time and sanity saved in no longer sharing PowerPoint slides or Excel spreadsheets throughout the organization can be priceless.

ROI can also be measured by the fact that Spotfire can integrate with existing IT infrastructure and existing IT expertise. Eg. Spotfire can make use of your existing SAS environment to apply SAS models and SAS expertise to data in Spotfire (which is then visualized).

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I recommend training a core group of analysts to build your Spotfire templates. The rest of your organization can use the less expensive Web Player licenses to analyze the data through their web browser.

What other advice do I have?

I also recommend the Spotfire Automation Services component. It allows Spotfire to automate certain tasks like loading data at defined times, sending automated emails, sending alerts, etc.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I work for the vendor PerkinElmer. PerkinElmer is the exclusive life sciences vendor for Spotfire.
ITCS user
Consultant at a financial services firm with 5,001-10,000 employees
Consultant
It can be manipulated using IronPython, JavaScript, HTML/CSS & jQuery, and so on.

What is most valuable?

The best features are its malleability; it can be manipulated using IronPython, JavaScript, HTML/CSS & jQuery, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

It is being used in a number of ways within the organisation, from internal financial analysis to products and services we sell to our clients.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for ~18 months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not had to use technical support that much, save for when I first started learning the software. The service I got then was very good/positive.

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

We have used a number of solutions (as the product is used in many areas of the company). In my previous role, we replaced Cognos with Spotfire and the benefits were plentiful, including but not limited to:

  • Improved types of reporting/visualisations
  • Significantly more malleable than Cognos
  • Advanced analysis features

How was the initial setup?

I believe the admin/installation was not as straightforward as other software. However, I wasn’t directly involved in that.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Many other software products were reviewed; the decision to proceed with Spotfire was made at executive level.

What other advice do I have?

Find experts in Spotfire; perhaps get some consultancy to fast-track your knowledge. We are lucky enough to have internal expertise to fulfill that requirement.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
BI and Location Analytics Consultant at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
It offers embedded R scripts and a mapserver.

What is most valuable?

  • Embedded R scripts
  • Mapserver

These features are key to separating BI tools from ETL tools. RDMS have ETL tools that run the transfer protocol. Some BI tools in the oil and gas industry have ETL features that take the place of accessing the database directly. In the big data ecosystem, the data cleansing process takes place before ETL processes are run to integrate the data. On the other hand, in RDMS, the data cleansing takes place after the data has been imported from disparate system into the database.

How has it helped my organization?

I used it in an academic setting as a resource to learn R scripting. I have found it an easy API to learn.

What needs improvement?

I encourage a seamless integration with Hadoop; a direct connection to Hadoop server from a session in Spotfire. This might exist for the Spotfire server connectivity, but I do not work with the server version.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have infrequently used it for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't used technical support.

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

I have used several BI tools and still maintain this diversity in product usage.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was somewhat complex on the client’s system. I am not familiar with the server installation.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is economical to consider desktop client usage when possible.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I also use QlkView, Tableau and MicroStrategy.

What other advice do I have?

Consider how you intend to use the product before investing in functionality that you might not need.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user511206
Senior Programming Analyst at a pharma/biotech company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
You can easily create different types of analyses.

What is most valuable?

The ability to create different types of analyses with ease is the product’s most valuable feature.

How has it helped my organization?

It gave business insights by exploring their data.

What needs improvement?

Exporting to Excel, PDF, and PowerPoint should be easier.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The server can become overloaded and cause it to crash.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Tibco is always helpful with problems.

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

I did not previously use a different solution.

How

What is most valuable?

The ability to create different types of analyses with ease is the product’s most valuable feature.

How has it helped my organization?

It gave business insights by exploring their data.

What needs improvement?

Exporting to Excel, PDF, and PowerPoint should be easier.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The server can become overloaded and cause it to crash.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Tibco is always helpful with problems.

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

I did not previously use a different solution.

How was the initial setup?

The inital setup can be complex if you have to install and configure the server.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Spotfire might be expensive, but it brings many tools to the table.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user490071
TIBCO Specialist at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
It can work with data using in memory mode, this makes the loading process faster.

What is most valuable?

TIBCO Spotfire can connect to many different data sources in order to acquire data, from many vendors such as SAP, Oracle, IBM, or even just local files.

It can work with data using in memory mode, this makes the loading process faster.

It is easy to customize, and extendable with custom functions.

A very useful API is provided in order to integrate it easily with any web application.

What needs improvement?

The developing and runtime environment are very stable. The TIBCO Spotfire architecture environment is not complex. However, not all the runtime components are multiplatform. To be exact, the component whose purpose is to render the data in a web browser can be installed only on Microsoft machines. This is a very big limitation from this point of view.

For how long have I used the solution?

The first approach was in 2010. I have used TIBCO Spotfire in four or five different projects as of 2016.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The TIBCO Spotfire product is really stable. No relevant issues have been encountered.

Most of the time the TIBCO Spotfire dashboard is used by business users. It was very common for them to notify us regarding weird behavior in business data patterns that was always ending with a discovery of bugs on the backend applications.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support was always very good and fast. Always leading to a resolution of the problem immediately.

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

Together with TIBCO, my previous company was a partner of SAS. Recently, SAS provided a BAM and BI solution, but personally I have found it not comparable to Spotfire: huge memory consumption, no API available, not customizable.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is quite easy, a few steps to perform before the application is ready.

A little bit more complex is the configuration of SSO, but the documentation is covering all the scenarios in a very clear way.

What about the implementation team?

Implementation with TIBCO Spotfire consists basically of understanding the business requirements, and transforming them into readable dashboards and diagrams. Most of the time, in my case, implementation was made by a one-man team.

What other advice do I have?

TIBCO Spotfire is a new challenge, very different from any typical implementation a developer used to do. Most of the time, it consists of understanding the data. Very often, that requires direct contact with the business department of the customer.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user494238
Spotfire Technical Analyst at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It supports scripting for better analysis.

What is most valuable?

  • It has the best types of visualisations.
  • We can do lot of scripting for better analysis.

How has it helped my organization?

I am giving an answer that considers one scenario. For example, we have health care client. They need their standards as high as possible all the time. For that reason, they want to know their drug risk level calculation for every time zone throughout the world. I developed one dashboard that can show them their drug risk level and calculate new risks, etc., whenever they required.

What needs improvement?

Room for improvement is in comparison with another tools. I need to see more options that do not require scripting in the tool, and I need more enhancements on the statistical server side. The reason is that for some every-day, simple things that are directly available as options in other tools, we need to script them in Spotfire.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for the past two-and-a-half years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I have not encountered any deployment, stability or scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is really good. For every TIBCO product, there is a community where we can post our questions and get answers from experts from throughout the world.

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

I worked for three months on Cognos. Compared to it, Spotfire is easy to learn and we can develop wonderful visualisations.

In Cognos, it took too much time to run the reports. In Spotfire, it takes a lot less time.

How was the initial setup?

The server setup and all remaining installations are very easy. There are many sources in Google to get solutions for our queries and also many docs exist from TIBCO.

What about the implementation team?

I have implemented everything on my office machine. I would like to suggest that if we are not able to provide the exact solution for a user’s needs, then we have many options in this tool to provide the best solution.

What other advice do I have?

Those who are willing to make analytics easier with better understanding, this is the best tool and it is the easiest tool to learn quickly.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user490062
Consultant at a tech company with 51-200 employees
Vendor
With transformations, I can make the structure of the data most suitable for answering the user's questions with the visualisations.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of this product, for me, are:

  • Applying transformations to data tables: With these transformations, I can make the structure of the data most suitable for answering the user's questions with the visualisations.
  • The visualisations: They look very good, are easy to use and can answer almost any business question.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see the improvements in the following areas:

  • The info designer feature: The user interface could be more graphical, it would make it more user friendly and flexible.
  • The transformations and insertions of rows and columns: Tables can be created by using transformations and inserting rows and columns. I would like to have more ability to make changes to these transformation and insertions without having to recreate the complete table from scratch.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution for three years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I did not encounter any issues with deployment.

How are customer service and technical support?

I rate technical support 9/10 (very quick and good response, good level of knowledge).

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

I previously used IBM Cognos products also as a consultant. I choose Cognos because I thought (and still think) that Cognos is a good product.

How was the initial setup?

I am no real technical consultant, but I found the initial setup pretty straightforward. After installing the software, no enormous or complex configuration is needed.

What about the implementation team?

We implement for our customers and also for customers of TIBCO.

What other advice do I have?

Start small but think big. When you start using the product - regarding setting up authorisation and setting up the library, for instance - work structured and with a kind of policy that is scalable and flexible regarding maintenance.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Technical partner and reseller of TIBCO Spotfire.
it_user494244
Senior Application Specialist at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Customizing data expressions is simple.

Valuable Features

  • Easy data transformations before loading data into Spotfire e.g., pivoting, unpivoting, etc.
  • Simplicity of customizing data expressions

Room for Improvement

Better UX/UI design to make the product look “sexier”. It’s somewhat difficult to add formatting to Spotfire dashboards to make them look nice (e.g. coloring backgrounds of charts, adding floating texts, etc.). This is a bit easier and more customizable in Tableau, and even more customizable in MicroStrategy.

Use of Solution

I have been using it for two years.

Deployment Issues

I have not encountered any deployment, stability or scalability issues.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Personally, I have never had to use technical support.

Other Solutions Considered

I was not involved in the evaluation.

Other Advice

Compared to Tableau, it is much more powerful in terms of statistics and analytics, but Tableau is more popular, so there is more support for it online. Spotfire is easier to use for an advanced user, while Tableau is easier to use for a beginner user.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user494094
Business Analyst at a aerospace/defense firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Even though advanced statistical approaches underlie capacity planning analysis, emphasis on the visuals make it easy to communicate out to managers without the stats background.

What is most valuable?

Three main features:

  • Ability to work with many different data sources
  • Easy for beginners
  • Ability to be extended with R functions

This combination of features means it's relatively easy to take business users with little analytics background and scale them up to expert-level techniques.

How has it helped my organization?

One of my teams uses this for capacity planning. Fairly advanced statistical approaches underlie the analysis, but because Spotfire emphasizes visual approaches, it's easy to communicate out to managers without the stats background.

What needs improvement?

Setting up data sources: There's a lot of flexibility, but it's easy for users to pick a poor approach and needlessly complicate their sources.

I think most people coming to a tool like Spotfire will be coming from an Excel background. In a standard Excel scenario, you'll have a spreadsheet full of data, and all the manipulation you do on your data will take place within the spreadsheet.

However, Spotfire is built to pull data from sources as needed; basically, with bunches of SQL queries. If a user only knows the standard Excel way, they might try to write one master query to pull all the data in Spotfire, and then do all their manipulation there. In these "Big Data" times, that can result in degraded performance due to memory/processing demands. A better way to use Spotfire is to leverage your database - it can pivot, it can summarize - and using that pre-filtered result joined with subqueries can let Spotfire work with much leaner, faster data.

TIBCO offers training that covers this, and other options as well, but unless the user happens to take that class, or has enough of a database background to already know some of these techniques, they're likely to try the less efficient way, and Spotfire will happily let them go that direction. I would like to see, even without changing the functionality, just adding nudges, maybe more visibility of their extensive help pages, to encourage users to at least consider different ways of pulling data.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for two years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I had a deployment issue. There's a component to support automated tasks. Even with TIBCO support, I never was able to get that component to work the way I expected.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support and customer service is 5/10. For technical questions, their support team is responsive and thorough, but their account managers tend to be nonresponsive, and have high turnover.

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

My organization had already chosen this solution before my involvement.

How was the initial setup?

I didn't see the initial setup, but from administering and upgrading it, it seems a more complicated process than necessary.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

TIBCO provides multiple licensing options, but this is an area where their competition is becoming more attractive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

In the process of learning the tool, I did review demos of competing products. The ability to extend Spotfire with R and Python is important to me, and Spotfire was one of the first visual analytics tools to provide that. The competition is narrowing the gap, however.

What other advice do I have?

When evaluating TIBCO Spotfire versus other vendors, or even other Spotfire offerings (e.g., Spotfire Cloud), it's very important to understand what your organization's needs are. Not every tool supports every data source, or visualization technique, and some tools might be more or less appropriate, based on the balance of analysis creators vs analysis consumers.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user494859
Analytical Scientist at Syntelli Solutions Inc.
Vendor
It provides a more systematic way of tracking employees and their hours. Some simple functions such as aggregating rows are too complicated.

Valuable Features

The most valuable features of this product are: R integration using the data function in the Spotfire client Bringing data into Spotfire using APIs

Improvements to My Organization

It provides a more systematic way of tracking employees and their hours.

Room for Improvement

Simple functions like aggregating rows and performing PnL are very complicated The limited number of connectors

Use of Solution

I have been using it for one year.

Deployment Issues

We encountered an issue while integrating a Kerberos-secured HBase into Spotfire.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Technical support has good response times; we’re very happy with the support.

Initial Setup

Initial setup was complex, as we had to integrate it with a secured Hadoop cluster. …

Valuable Features

The most valuable features of this product are:
  • R integration using the data function in the Spotfire client
  • Bringing data into Spotfire using APIs

Improvements to My Organization

It provides a more systematic way of tracking employees and their hours.

Room for Improvement

  • Simple functions like aggregating rows and performing PnL are very complicated
  • The limited number of connectors

Use of Solution

I have been using it for one year.

Deployment Issues

We encountered an issue while integrating a Kerberos-secured HBase into Spotfire.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Technical support has good response times; we’re very happy with the support.

Initial Setup

Initial setup was complex, as we had to integrate it with a secured Hadoop cluster.

Implementation Team

An in-house team implemented it.

Other Advice

Gather the correct requirements and ask for help.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Senior BI Consultant at a tech services company
Consultant
With the Information Designer, the user doesn't have to go into detailed SQL.

What is most valuable?

There are many valuable features but Information Designer is one that is more valuable. It gives a data model created, so the user doesn't have to go into the SQL details. There are filters, joins, stored procedure call, parameterized info links, and so on.

How has it helped my organization?

It got rid of a static report, there is now no need for multiple reports, and it provides user interaction. A single report serves multiple users, and they can access it via web browser.

Maintenance is greatly reduced.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see a few more charts and properties, easy integration with HTML design, d3 charts, and custom charts. This would take reporting to new heights in terms of UI and design as report features are plenty. It needs more flexibility in terms of designing a report.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for five years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I did not encounter any deployment issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

They are awesome. Tibco has a support cell and we can raise a ticket that has an SLA for them. Also, there is a large user community and technical information for Spotfire, so there is no issue as such to get assistance.

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

We used to use SSRS and Excel.

Old versions are static and need a lot of maintenance and repeat work.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was straightforward and a guide is available.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented it by myself as I do have implementation knowledge already. My advice is to follow the steps and guidelines. It is all nicely written and proven over a long period of time.

What was our ROI?

We realize ROI through less maintenance, one-time work, easy accessibility, and less manual work.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing is little on the high side but looking at long-term benefits, the company can bear it.

What other advice do I have?

There are other products in the market but don't go only on sales talk. They will always talk big magical things.

Evaluate first what it has, period.

See the flexibility.

Plan for your needs.

Use the guidelines.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Teradata/Tibco Spotfire Developer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Reports that had been tabular are now intuitive and automated. It saves a lot of effort, time & money. I would like to have built-in "event-based" automation.

What is most valuable?

The product’s most valuable feature is its integration with HTML, JavaScript and R, because the integration makes all impossible stuff possible with Spotfire.

How has it helped my organization?

Many reports which were tabular in form are now very intuitive after being converted to Spotfire. Also, they are automated, so it saves a lot of effort, time & money.

What needs improvement?

I would like to have "event-based" automation (without integrating with other tools), e.g., send an email only if some event has occurred.

Even though we can cascade the drop down property control, having a drop down filter would help a lot.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for 3.5 years.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good.

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

I have also used Tableau, which is another wonderful tool for creating reports. But Tibco comes with a complete suite of products. Spotfire can be integrated with other tools in the Tibco suite.

How was the initial setup?

I can't say; I’ve never had an opportunity to install & configure the server.

What about the implementation team?

I can't say.

What was our ROI?

It is worth investing in Spotfire.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I’m not very sure if there is any, but there should be a product with no licensing cost - such as Tableau Reader - that can be used for reading the Spotfire files.

What other advice do I have?

Spotfire is a wonderful product with vast reporting and analytical capability. You must try this solution if you are looking for a tool for developing reports.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user489900
Business Analyst at a tech vendor with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
It offers easy development, easy-to-provide user training, and allows power users to do ad-hoc analysis. Dashboards look stale and boring.

Valuable Features:

Map charts are very powerful and work better than most other in-memory analytical tools.

It offers easy development, easy-to-provide user training, and it even allows power users to do ad-hoc analysis.

Improvements to My Organization:

I have used Spotfire at several client locations to develop solutions to help their organization make better and more informed business decisions.

Room for Improvement:

My biggest gripe with Spotfire is the lack of customization. Dashboards look stale and boring. No floating objects, floating text, etc. and the way panes resize based on resolution is annoying. Most complaints I have are related to the look and feel of a finished dashboard.

Use of Solution:

I have used this solution on and off for several years.

Deployment Issues:

I have not encountered any issues with deployment, stability or scalability.

Other Solutions Considered:

I use the product which my client is using. I personally would choose another tool over Spotfire if it was my choice.

Other Advice:

Take other tools into consideration as well. There are a lot of analytical tools and different ones have different strengths.

Spotfire is better than some competitors, but limited in many aspects.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company is a TIBCO partner.
it_user494052
BI & Digital Transformation Consultant at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
It has helped our organization become more agile.

What is most valuable?

In-memory analytics Integration with SAS, Matlab, R

How has it helped my organization?

It has helped our organization become more agile.

What needs improvement?

More visualization More cross-visualization functionality

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for seven years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I have not encountered any deployment, stability or scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is 8/10.

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

I previously used MicroStrategy, which is a real BI tool.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was complex: report creation, installation, automation, report changes...

What about

What is most valuable?

  • In-memory analytics
  • Integration with SAS, Matlab, R

How has it helped my organization?

It has helped our organization become more agile.

What needs improvement?

  • More visualization
  • More cross-visualization functionality

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for seven years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I have not encountered any deployment, stability or scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is 8/10.

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

I previously used MicroStrategy, which is a real BI tool.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was complex: report creation, installation, automation, report changes...

What about the implementation team?

An in-house team implemented it.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company is a TIBCO partner.
it_user494232
Test Engineer at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Powerful tool capable of creating data analysis "templates" or "dashboards".

What is most valuable?

Data visualization: Spotfire is an incredible, powerful tool capable of creating data analysis "templates" or "dashboards", which can be shared globally and can be used to visualize data to make business decisions.

How has it helped my organization?

We have used Spotfire to monitor test equipment utilization worldwide, and are able to respond to testers that have been identified as "down." This type of analysis also reduces costs because, instead of the test facilities purchasing new equipment, we can work on increasing utilization.

What needs improvement?

Version 7 was recently released, so I am still not familiar with all the features. However, ease of connecting to Oracle databases and parameterizing the database queries would be useful.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it since June 2011 (five years).

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I have not encountered any deployment, stability or scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

I can't say; I have not reached out to customer service for Spotfire. However, there is an abundance of knowledge online which I have used to solve problems in the past. The online community is pretty active.

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

The company I previously worked for used Excel for their data analysis and would not consider paying for Spotfire. But, I highly recommend Spotfire if your data analysis needs are pretty extensive.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user504063
Founder at a tech company with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Spotfire is a powerful, intuitive application that makes it easy to visualize and interact with complex data to quickly answer questions

Pros and Cons

  • "It allows users to quickly analyze data from a variety of sources and visualize it with powerful, interactive graphs, and charts."
  • "The Text Area feature needs to be more user-friendly. It is a little clunky to use, and it is difficult to consistently format text."

Improvements to My Organization

It allows users to quickly analyze data from a variety of sources and visualize it with powerful, interactive graphs, and charts. This leads to faster and better decision making, as well as identifying areas to save costs, increase revenue, optimize, etc.

Valuable Features

  • Intuitive interface: Easy to get started and use features.
  • Filtering: Quickly filters to a level of detail that you are interested in.
  • Marking: Drills into data, seeing the same data in other charts.
  • Data connections: Having the ability to quickly connect to just about any data source.

Room for Improvement

The Text Area feature needs to be more user-friendly. It is a little clunky to use, and it is difficult to consistently format text. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Don't make it pop out when editing the text area.
  • Add a feature to easily add tables (without HTML).
  • Overall, make it more user-friendly.

Stability Issues

It is prone to crashing every now and then for seemingly arbitrary reasons.

Initial Setup

Initial setup is straightforward: Just downloaded it from their website (not applicable for large organizations).

ROI

The ROI is nearly impossible to calculate. 

Pricing, License Cost and Setup

The pricing seems competitive and reasonable. The value delivered by the product far exceeds the cost.

Other Solutions Considered

I have tried Tableau, but haven't spent much time working with it because my previous organization and current clients use Spotfire. Excel is also a competitor, but Spotfire is significantly better than Excel for data visualization.

Other Advice

I recommend watching some Spotfire demo videos on YouTube, and also downloading the free trial to get a feel for the software.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user496149
Sr. IT Business Intelligence Scientist at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
It provides connectors and data driver support for about 40 unique data sources, including all of the common structured ones and non-structured ones.

What is most valuable?

  • Ease of accessing, aggregating and visualizing data sources
  • The amount of data that the product can manage in memory

Spotfire provides connectors and data driver support for about 40 unique data sources including all of the common structured ones like Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, etc., plus non-structured sources like HTML, RSS feeds, data warehouses and fast data platforms. All of the different data sources can be merged or mashed up in one “viz”. The size limit of data is the 64-bit address space or 16 terabytes, basically unlimited. I ran one POC on a dataset over 100 GB and Spotfire performed as well as it does with small datasets. Note, the data load time is roughly proportional to the size of the dataset, but the access to the data once it is loaded in memory in Spotfire is just about the same on any size dataset.

How has it helped my organization?

Use of Spotfire has almost eliminated people doing cumbersome, manual ETL efforts in files and other products from transactional source systems and the corporate data warehouse.

What needs improvement?

Administration functionality can be improved more by moving the rest of the command-line effort to a web-based UI. Otherwise, just keep adding more functions that otherwise most customers have to create as custom functions. Add a Shut Down and Exit option in the event of an unresponsive session, usually due to data connectivity issues.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for eight years(starting with version 4.0).

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There is very little instability until the memory of the host reaches 0% availability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Almost perfect support, 9. The only issue I had was understanding some of the techs verbally due to “English not their primary language”. WebEx and chatting was the workaround.

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

I did not have any experience with a similar solution before Spotfire.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is very simple and works as documented.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Negotiate, plan for three years out and triple whatever your best forecast is for growth. Spotfire usage typically will grow like a wildfire in high winds and dry forest.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I did not do the evaluations but a comparison of Tableau was evaluated and failed to meet data size requirements and in-memory capacity.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
AVP, Data Analyst - Expert at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
The Details on Demand feature immediately identifies the details associated with a visualization without having to create a query against it.

What is most valuable?

It is difficult to identify the most valuable features as it typically depends on the project. I would say that the feature that is a ‘must have’ for all projects is the Details on Demand. This feature allows me to immediately identify the details associated with a visualization without having to create query against it.

Most currently, I have been leveraging scatterplots, geographical mapping, and linear regression visualizations.

How has it helped my organization?

I have produced numerous models on customer segmentation, leveraging cross-tab; summary tables; scatterplots; k-means clustering; and custom filtering. One such tool has essentially allowed us to create real-time custom segments of customers based on similar customer attributes. Historically, we used P$YCLE codes for segmenting but now we can create 10-13 segments on the fly based on our own customer data.

What needs improvement?

Spotfire needs to allow for more of a database feel when using multiple data files. In order to use more than one file in a visualization (e.g., customer and customer sales history), the user has to build relationships between the tables on a one-to-one basis. Some visualizations allow the user to pull data from multiple tables while others are limited. Building the relationships between tables also feels somewhat clunky. Much of the power behind the Details on Demand (DOD) feature is adversely impacted by only being able to view details for the source table. This means that data contained within related tables (by way of the previously built relationships) cannot be previewed through the DOD unless the user inserts columns of the related table(s) into the source table. This inserting procedure is also somewhat clunky and leads to manipulating the original source file.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the Spotfire application for about two years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I have not encountered any deployment, stability or scalability issues. Spotfire is a robust visual analytics platform capable of crunching a lot of data. Because the processing is in-memory, users are only limited by how much memory that they have on their system.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is exemplary.

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

I have used other so-called analytics tools in the past but Spotfire buries most others. Even Microsoft Power BI is unable to compete with the ease of the Details on Demand feature available within Spotfire.

How was the initial setup?

Setup was simple.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented on our own.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing is competitive, as it relates to most other enterprise-wide applications.

What other advice do I have?

The UI is very easy to pick up and learn. I would also say that people considering Spotfire should preview the predictive analytics component. It is really smooth and provides the necessary statistical tools to help build forecasting models.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user494829
Reports Developer / Business & Data Analyst at a engineering company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
It can open multiple data sources. It is easy to create visualizations.

Valuable Features

Being able to open multiple data sources Ease of creating visualizations

Improvements to My Organization

It did not improve the way my organization functions. We have implemented a different solution to meet our need.

Room for Improvement

I’d like to see a more easily embedded version because that’s our need.

Use of Solution

I used it for five years (different versions).

Deployment Issues

I have not encountered any deployment, stability or scalability issues.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Technical support is excellent.

Initial Setup

Initial setup with version 3.5 was very difficult, partly because we were embedding the Spotfire Web Player API and using custom authentication.

Implementation Team

Implementation was done in-house.

R

Valuable Features

  • Being able to open multiple data sources
  • Ease of creating visualizations

Improvements to My Organization

It did not improve the way my organization functions. We have implemented a different solution to meet our need.

Room for Improvement

I’d like to see a more easily embedded version because that’s our need.

Use of Solution

I used it for five years (different versions).

Deployment Issues

I have not encountered any deployment, stability or scalability issues.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Technical support is excellent.

Initial Setup

Initial setup with version 3.5 was very difficult, partly because we were embedding the Spotfire Web Player API and using custom authentication.

Implementation Team

Implementation was done in-house.

ROI

We don’t charge for the Spotfire reports individually. It is difficult to calculate ROI, but the product is considered to be expensive.

Other Solutions Considered

We originally chose this product as a tool for our SaaS offering, but its embedding features and level of complexity for a multi-tenant situation were prohibitive.

Other Advice

It is great for enterprise use.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user494838
Growth & Data Guru at a non-profit with 51-200 employees
Vendor
It links to the database and the dashboard updates automatically. You don’t have to export a CSV file. Implementation could be much easier.

Valuable Features:

Real time analytics: TIBCO Spotfire links to the database and the dashboard updates automatically, which is great. You don’t have to export a CSV file to get a dashboard.

Improvements to My Organization:

The client where I have implemented TIBCO Spotfire was using it to understand calls received on their call centre. With the analytics provided, they were able to understand when during the week / day they receive most of the calls to then take action and get the right number of agents.

Room for Improvement:

I would say that the implementation of the product could be much easier that it is at the moment. It is a complex process at the moment to set up TIBCO Spotfire with your database; not always straightforward.

Use of Solution:

I have been using it for six months.

Initial Setup:

The initial setup is supposed to be straightforward, but I found that there is often some glitch in the setup that requires thought.

Implementation Team:

TIBCO Spotfire provides an expert to set up the solution for their clients. This usually takes 2-3 days.

ROI:

It is an expensive product, but if you have the right data analyst to use it, the ROI can be quite high. This number depends on a lot of factors. How much analytics are you doing at the moment? How good is your data analyst?

Other Solutions Considered:

I have used Tableau and Alteryx, which are similar solutions. I would say that TIBCO Spotfire is a combination of those two other solutions, although I think Tableau is much more user friendly.

Other Advice:

I think you should get a trial and see what are the possibilities and understand who would be using the product. Define your business goals first and then use TIBCO Spotfire in order to measure those.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user495000
Sr. Data Scientist II - Information Research at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
It takes some of the content management burden off of my group and gives our scientists a platform to explore their ideas.

Valuable Features

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.

Deployment Issues

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.

Implementation Team

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.

Other Advice

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.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Business Analyst/Project Manager at a energy/utilities company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Great product for admins and for end users. Vendor listens to customer input.

Valuable Features

From an administrator’s standpoint, the most useful component is the Information Designer, which allows one to design links to SQL/Oracle/etc. datasets that query the source system when opened or refreshed. This provides the user base a self-service approach and ensures the query design is not something that jeopardizes the source system or warehouse.

From an end-user standpoint, the most useful features to me were data manipulation capabilities. Spotfire allows users to easily join multiple datasets (from Info Links, spreadsheets, etc.) and create calculations and visualizations against them. With a bit of experience, end users will find Spotfire wonderful for ad-hoc analysis. The other great capability is the extension with R allowing users with R code snippets more visual capabilities (comes with the Advanced Analytics module, I believe).

Improvements to My Organization

In my previous organization, Spotfire added a great deal of value by allowing Reservoir and Production Engineering teams self-service access to production and well data. Spotfire allowed our teams to query datasets for their analysis through the pre-defined lens that we had created in Spotfire. In addition, it allowed them to manipulate the data without introducing any risk to the source systems.

Room for Improvement

The administrative component of Spotfire could use some attention. The Information Designer tool is wonderful, but a level beyond that with hotfixes, updates, and security administration, things get complicated quickly. I have heard that other BI tools in the space are easier to administer.

There are basically two types of Spotfire administration, admin(s) who setup access to data and control the Spotfire library/ies, and admin(s) who manage the Spotfire server and component implementation. Usually, these are not the same person. The administration that involves setting up Data Sources, Data Elements, Filters, and Information Links comes very easily utilizing the Information Designer tool in Spotfire. The administration that is a pain is server administration, mainly because transferring Spotfire files/projects from one environment to another (test to prod during an upgrade) involves exporting the Spotfire library to file storage and then importing it into another Spotfire library. This was the approved method during my day. However, we ended up just doing database copy and refreshes to avoid that entire process.

It is unusual for IT to administer a software suite without the normal dev/test/prod processes. However, with Spotfire and some other BI tools, mass amount of end users create content only in the production environment. In many situations, a Spotfire admin would necessarily make library changes directly in the production environment because it is required to support their users. For Spotfire, it is important early on to define change control processes and procedures, to ensure quality control without limiting end user functionality (which is why you bought Spotfire to being with). Any changes to server or database configuration should go through normal test/prod processes but changes to the Spotfire library sometimes should not (because you are supporting a living and breathing thing with users creating and utilizing content).

Room for improvement would be more guidance up front on these real-world administration scenarios. I don't remember any guidance in these areas and ended up learning much of this the hard way. It is information that folks in the community share, but never gets formalized.

This only applies to enterprise implementations using Spotfire server, not stand alone installations not connecting to a Spotfire library.

Use of Solution

I have been using the solution for five years, including previous versions (5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 6.5). I haven’t used 7.5.

Stability Issues

We encountered a number of issues with certain Spotfire projects (.dxp files) after completing upgrades. These files were extremely complicated with R snippets running, and numerous datasets, transformations, and calculations being performed by the file. Spotfire allows users to create files that should not be created. In these cases, stability of a file is an issue. Stability and scalability of the solution itself is solid.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

Customer service is excellent, quick to respond and knowledgeable.

Technical Support:

Professional Services on the other hand is more questionable. I have had wonderful service from some technical staff, but I have also worked with some I would not wish on my worst enemy. It will be important for customers to find PSG resources they trust or to find another experience through a TIBCO partner, etc. I can suggest a number of these to anyone with interest.

Initial Setup

The initial setup is quite easy, made easier if you’re blessed with a good DW. Only when you start adding administrative features and distributed user bases with different security requirements does the solution become a pain to administer.

Implementation Team

Initial implementation was done before my time. I performed two major upgrades, one with the vendor on-site for two weeks, one alone. I had no issues with the one performed alone. That being said, new departments offering Spotfire as a solution will need support for their first couple hotfixes and upgrades. Refer to what I wrote regarding Professional Services.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

My previous employer purchased an enterprise license that accommodated our sharp spike in users (tripled user base in two years). Licensing the thick client versus the web developer or web consumer is critical for technical users. This is dependent upon the company and personnel using the tool. Technical users such as engineers or planners will most likely require the professional client. Light-touch users in organizations who’d rather receive a PDF than perform calculations and pivots will have web-client needs only. Picture MS Excel: If your users are Excel users, they will be thick-client/professional/expensive version users.

Other Solutions Considered

I’ve used other solutions in the space including Tableau and SAP BusinessObjects; even Excel and Access can roughly be considered a competitor of Spotfire. I prefer Spotifre to Tableau and BOBJ due to its flexibility and technical capability. Both Tableau and BOBJ seem more structured and stiff. Although beautiful, they sacrifice abilities for tech-savvy end users in return for a friendly-for-all, drag-and-drop, easy-to-print, set-it-and-forget-it-feel. In a bi-modal environment (one tool for key non-changing reports, a different tool for ad-hoc analysis), Spotfire wins the ad-hoc battle versus common competitors.

Other Advice

Spend time scoping the security/folder setup as well as the “Information Links” (queries Spotfire allows users to run). Changing either of these components after users construct their beautiful files against them is a very unpopular thing to do. Predict the dependencies you’re going to create and be strategic in your design.

Spotfire became everyone’s favorite tool if they could learn how to use it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user489936
Engineering Specialist at a energy/utilities company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
It allows us to collectively write a procedure for data transformation that can accommodate most if not all of our team’s needs.

Valuable Features:

Driving details visualizations is the most valuable feature of this product to me. One of the greatest strengths of the tool comes from being able to build high-level projects that can be implemented in many ways. In my industry, we are attempting to consolidate analytical tools to give our engineers a few “one-stop shops" rather than each person doing their own work in a bubble. It allows us to collectively write a procedure for data transformation that can accommodate most if not all of our team’s needs.

Improvements to My Organization:

We are moving away from a single person exploring data and giving presentations towards team exploration of data in a conference room environment.

Room for Improvement:

From what I understand, some of the issues I’ve had have been addressed in 7.0, but my company has not upgraded yet. Layering multiple levels of aggregation is something I’m constantly asked to provide, which has been difficult to do in the versions I have used so far.

Use of Solution:

I have used the solution for eight years.

Stability Issues:

Some of the previous versions have had stability issues, but 6.5 appears very stable.

Scalability Issues:

I have run into issues with large datasets (>2M records), and attempting to build relationships between tables for use in a single visualization.

Initial Setup:

I’ve never been part of the original setup of Spotfire. I’ve worked for four different companies, all of which already had their own server installed. I can say that there hasn’t been much of an issue moving from company to company, other than general organization methodology.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

Start small. Tibco tends to push the higher level subscriptions, and want you to buy their server. I’ve found that the base version is a great introduction at a reasonable cost, and allows teams to evaluate whether they want to continue using the product with minimal effort from the IT department (You can just download the base version from the internet and start using it.)

Other Solutions Considered:

I still currently use a myriad of solutions – it all depends on if I think there will be followup questions asked of the data. Often times, the engineers I work with are not familiar/comfortable with the data, so requests become iterative as projects evolve. There are certainly times where dumping data to Excel and giving a customized pivot table is a better solution because the engineer finds that less daunting.

Other Advice:

Make sure you have people dedicated to data quality/analytics. Spotfire isn’t a software package that you can dabble in and make it worth your while. Once you understand how they organize the tools, it is fairly easy to navigate, but things like syntax for expressions/calculations trip people up in their early stages. The reasons to choose Spotfire over other BI tools are that the other tools are more difficult to implement and they will require a significant time investment.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user494928
Integration Analyst at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
The predictive data analytics in 7.0 make it easy to build a report on the fly.

Valuable Features

  • Information links, though a little complex, really make connecting to data sources reliable.
  • The predictive data analytics in Spotfire 7.0 make it super easy to build a report on the fly.

Improvements to My Organization

Spotfire is great for data visualization.

Room for Improvement

Backend administration of the application can be difficult. There are constant upgrades, but it would be better to do just releases for smaller changes.

Use of Solution

I have been using it for one year.

Deployment Issues

I have not encountered any deployment, stability or scalability issues.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Technical support is average.

Initial Setup

We have a very easy and straightforward way of installing Spotfire at our company. Since it is a self-service tool, it is available for everyone via our IT store.

Other Advice

Spotfire is an easy-to-use yet powerful tool. Though the administration can get tricky and a little difficult, it is worth it for the efficiency and optimization it provides for our users. Overall, it is a stable and powerful application.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user494847
Sr. Engineering Manager, Technical Fellow at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
No row/column limitations. Many of our datasets of interest have tens of millions of rows and hundreds to thousands of columns.

What is most valuable?

Ability to connect to multiple databases. This is important because our company uses many different database solutions across the functional and geographic areas of the organization. Spotfire can map to all of them.

In-memory interactive capability to work with the data. The tool is relatively easy to use without any training, but has many features to slice and dice data in sophisticated ways.

No row/column limitations. Many of our datasets of interest have tens of millions of rows and hundreds to thousands of columns. Spotfire handles these situations with relative ease.

How has it helped my organization?

Many users have developed dashboards for management review that are now automatically generated, as opposed to something that requires many hours per week or month.

Some people are using Spotfire to provide analysis updates in meetings as opposed to using static PowerPoint slide decks. This allows for more interaction with the data, as ad-hoc questions can be answered by manipulating Spotfire to display data as requested.

Expert users can deploy analytic platforms for data that are periodically generated, which less-experienced analysts can then use to make good decisions. For example, yield review of batches of material received in manufacturing.

For how long have I used the solution?

The original version of the system was called DecisionSite, which we installed in 2004. We have maintained continuous capability since that time as the tool has changed over the years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No specific deployment, stability or scalability issues. We have a dedicated admin who maintains the servers, installs patches, and updates Spotfire to major new revisions as they become available. We have encountered issues and have got them corrected as necessary, but overall the platform is very stable. We have facilities across the world that are using it, so it is generally available 24-7. The Web Player version is heavily utilized, which has required hardware upgrades over the years to keep performance up.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is acceptable, but not superior. Sometime after TIBCO purchased Spotfire (the company), they outsourced support to Perkin-Elmer. For minor problems, P-E is capable of finding solutions, but problems that require more detailed knowledge of the tool often take very long to resolve. P-E has to go back to TIBCO for assistance in these cases.

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

We had a number of different tools, some off-the-shelf and some home-grown, before we chose Spotfire. When we decided to look into other options, we evaluated several tools in addition to Spotfire. We eventually chose Spotfire based upon a detailed comparison of its capabilities against the other contenders, including the features mentioned elsewhere in this review.

How was the initial setup?

The installation itself was fairly straightforward, but building up the database connection infrastructure has been an ongoing process. Although it is not problematic in the sense of having issues or bugs, it requires someone with good relational database skills to optimize the Information Model.

There are many tool configuration options that can be set during installation. Most of the default options appear to work well, although we have found a few that required modification in order to optimize the platform to our specific IT infrastructure and user preferences.

What about the implementation team?

We installed Spotfire in two distinct phases: initially, when it was DecisionSite, using an on-site Spotfire team for the heavy lifting, and then a second round when the current version of Spotfire was released. The second round was mostly performed by our in-house admin, with support from Spotfire. This all happened before Spotfire was purchased by TIBCO.

One claim to fame made by Spotfire is that doing sophisticated analyses does not require a team of IT professionals. This spreads the burden of report generation and ad-hoc analyses to the experts in the data itself, which we have definitely seen to be a benefit. We can use the tool without having to write detailed requirements, learning and experimenting as we go before setting up validated dashboards and other reports.

Find first-adopters and enthusiasts in your organization. If you have data, these folks exist. Let them play around with the tool, and then leverage their acquired skills to evangelize.

What was our ROI?

On a per-user basis, we are saving several hours per week of analysis time. This has been especially impactful for analysts who had been spending as much as 20% to 50% of their time managing and summarizing data each week, and who now have time to generate more detailed analyses in less time. This leads to better insights into the data, and has resulted in more targeted actions to address improvement opportunities.

For ad-hoc analyses, Spotfire allows us to manage much larger datasets than we had ever been able to look at before. This has led to many breakthroughs in productivity, customer focus, supplier management, issue resolution, etc. It is difficult to quantify these situations, but in many cases, we believe we reach solutions faster with Spotfire than we would have done otherwise. In one specific case during our initial evaluation, a large team had been working on a manufacturing yield issue for a month without nailing down the root cause. We decided to apply Spotfire (then DecisionSite) to the data, and literally within 15 minutes we had narrowed the problem down to a specific piece of equipment at a supplier facility. What made this possible was the ease with which we could aggregate the data in ways we had not been able to do without Spotfire.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

For licensing, try to obtain as broad a user base as possible. TIBCO offers a variety of licensing schemes, including less-costly individual licenses for the view-only version called Web Player. In order for that tool to be useful, you will need a number of people who are experts in Spotfire Professional to deploy analytic solutions.

What other advice do I have?

There are many options available that are built upon the Spotfire platform (S+, Operations Analytics, Lead Discovery, Cloud, etc.); make sure you review the capabilities of each before deciding which to include.

Determine how organized your internal data sources are, and then put together a strategy for how to build the Spotfire Information Model that will best utilize these resources. Unless you are very confident in your ability to execute, do not attempt to consolidate all of your data sources into one large warehouse. Spotfire works very well with many individual databases, so you may find that a better solution is to construct specific analytical tools within Spotfire that aggregate the data on-demand.

We have a small cadre of individuals who host a weekly online training session. Users can call in with specific questions about analyses they are currently performing. We have found this extremely beneficial in improving the level of Spotfire skill across the corporation. It only takes a handful of people to make this work, and the time investment is minimal, so it’s well worth the effort.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Spotfire consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
The ability to analyze your data quickly is valuable to me.

Valuable Features

The following features are the most valuable to me:

  • The ability to analyze your data quickly
  • Extensibility: Quintus consultants develop QuintusVisuals and custom extensions using the Spotfire SDK.

Improvements to My Organization

In a previous job, I implemented a signaling system for calls coming in from the first line support desk. I placed Spotfire on top of a small live data sheet. It reloaded Spotfire with an external script and exported the analysis to HTML. After that, another script (created by a co-worker) ran to extract the contents and place the items in an automated web page, where tabs were switched every couple of seconds.

This tool was even able to run in the Network Operation Center on a big screen.

Room for Improvement

I'd like to see the following improvements:

  • Configuration options (properties screens are too crowded)
  • Licensing system: Make it more clear or get rid of the special groups and their special tick boxes that can only activate on that specific group.
  • Enhance multiple scales in line and bar charts to grouped scales (group numerical, percentage etc. columns).

Use of Solution

I have used this solution for about seven years.

Deployment Issues

In the recent version of Spotfire, 7.5 or 7.6, I was able to corrupt my webplayer services deployment with no way to restore it. I had to re-install it. Luckily, this is very quick to do.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Technical support provided very fast response times and helpful people. Excellent.

Initial Setup

Initial setup was a straightforward process.

Implementation Team

Because we are a Spotfire partner, we have the ability to deploy Spotfire in-house.

Other Solutions Considered

I tried to evaluate a version of Tableau but it felt hard to configure and not as easy as I’m used to with Spotfire.

Other Advice

It’s a business tool, but it’s always a good thing to have IT stand behind your decision when implementing it.

In my opinion, TIBCO Spotfire is the best tool that really serves the business analysis needs.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Quintus consultants is a VAR partner for TIBCO Spotfire. Quintus consultants also develop the add-in QuintusVisuals using the Spotfire SDK.
ITCS user
Manager, Business Intelligence at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
The feature most valuable to me is the incorporation of analytical techniques such as K-Means and ETL.

What is most valuable?

The feature most valuable to me is the incorporation of analytical techniques such as K-Means and ETL.

How has it helped my organization?

Reporting and dashboarding became quite easy. It is much faster and more robust than other BI or visualisation tools.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see the following improvements:

  • Multiple Interactive Layers
  • More Built-In Visualisations.
  • Dropdown and Hierarchy Filtering

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used the solution for two years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We did not encounter any issues with deployment, stability, or scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer service and technical support are good.

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

I have used Tableau for the same amount of time. Spotfire has its own advantages in transforming data and analytical functions.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is complex when you use Spotfire Server.

What about the implementation team?

A vendor team implemented the solution.

What was our ROI?

It provides a great ROI.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing is just fine.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user489912
Consultant/Project Manager at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Self-service analytics and easy visualisation are the most valuable features.

Valuable Features

Self-service analytics and easy visualisation are the most valuable features of this product to me. It shows where you are fetching data from, in the same way that you like to have a data model for a database. If you made a mistake in building a table, you need to start all over, there is no way to change it. That takes a lot of time.

This saves time in the analysis of the data structure and in fixing issues in the data structure of data tables.

Improvements to My Organization

It gives us better insight into data, taking things out of Excel and sharing solutions. We save many millions of dollars.

Room for Improvement

I would like it to be easier to see how data is combined and when a user changes. It would help when creating complex Spotfire files.

Use of Solution

I have used this solution for 15 years.

Deployment Issues

Deployment is easy and stable.

Scalability Issues

Scaling was harder with prior versions, but better since 7.5.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

I rate customer service 8/10.

Technical Support:

I rate technical support 9/10.

Initial Setup

The initial setup was simple, but that was 15 years ago. We are now at >10,000 users.

Implementation Team

Implementation was performed by an in-house team with specialized contractors.

Other Solutions Considered

We looked at PowerBI, Tableau and Lumira. On features and on deployment in large organisations, Spotfire scores very well.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Analytics Consultant at a consultancy with 51-200 employees
Consultant
It reduced how much time we spend manipulating data in Excel. Pricing should be more transparent.

Valuable Features

The following features are the most valuable to me:

  • Ability to import data from disparate sources and manipulate/transform that data
  • Ability to create visualizations that communicate insight
  • Integration with R

Improvements to My Organization

This application has reduced the amount of time we spend manipulating data in Excel.

Room for Improvement

Allow insert columns to be changed after the initial operation. Currently, if an insert columns operation needs to be changed, the user must replace the entire table and this could involve significant rework.

Expand the statistical modeling functions.

Allow lines in line charts to be formatted.

Use of Solution

I have used this solution for 3.5 years.

Deployment Issues

I have found that the manuals for deployment can be lacking in detail and explanation. I frequently open help desk tickets when working on installations.

Customer Service and Technical Support

I rate technical support 7/10 and getting better.

Implementation Team

I know that we had a vendor team do the initial installation but have done all upgrades and additional product (Stats Services) installations ourselves. Again, the manuals are often lacking in detail and explanation.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Spotfire seems to be more expensive than other tools and negotiating with the vendor can be difficult. They could make purchasing the product a lot easier by being more transparent on pricing and having the same pricing or pricing tiers for all customers. Customers absolutely hate this negotiation process because it is not transparent, and also because the negotiations seem to take a long time. Be transparent and fair.

Other Solutions Considered

I have only used Spotfire. Every oil and gas company I have worked for uses it.

Other Advice

The vendor has historically provided two updates per year, although there can be more. In my opinion, updates twice a year with new features is pretty good given the amount of testing required to rollout an updated version of the product.

Also, if you find defects in the software and report them to their HD, they will notify you when hotfixes have been created, and they are pretty good about pushing out hotfixes for known issues.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Systems Architect - Business Intelligence at a marketing services firm with 5,001-10,000 employees
Vendor
The ability to create dashboards in real-time is valuable in our industry.

Valuable Features

Being able to create dashboards on the fly while stakeholders give requirements in real-time is extremely valuable in advertising. Creating dashboards with high interactivity and drilling down with record sets of multi-millions of rows is very fast. Stake holders would have experience a very long lag with similar tools on the market.

Spotfire also has a sky-is-the-limit extensibility to it that is very impressive. I can say yes to almost anything a stakeholder asks for and be able to deliver.

There is a bevy of advanced analytics tools included that only SAS can compete with.

Improvements to My Organization

Our organization utilizes Spotfire in many ways, we have had major success in using Spotfire for resource utilization and project management as well as with big data in website analytics.

We have demonstrated creating tools using advanced analytics in Spotfire that our analytics team can run and get the information needed to provide insights extremely fast.

Room for Improvement

Some of the syntax for custom expressions can be complicated and the learning curve for advanced work is steep.

Training is only offered by Tibco and there are not many courses for advanced usage. There are a few internet blogs and community forums I can turn to, but I would like to see more training options available.

Stability Issues

The only stability problems we have encountered are due to the anti-virus software running on the servers, but it is very rare and runs 24x7 for months without any intervention.

Scalability Issues

The product is very scalable. If server resources are running low, we can spin up a virtual server and create a new node to help share the burden.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Technical support can be a slow process involving email threads and scheduling screen share meetings, but they usually solve the problem in the end.

Implementation Team

Implemented in house.

Other Solutions Considered

We evaluated Tableau and PowerBI

Other Advice

Spotfire is a very impressive solution and I would highly recommend it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user172863
Senior Consultant at a consultancy with 51-200 employees
Consultant
With the new Spotfire 7.0, many of the design limitations are gone

What is most valuable?

.NET SDK, IronPython and R integration

How has it helped my organization?

We are BI Consultants and this tool is by far the most complete software for data analysis. It has helped many organizations to analyze, predict next trends and report findings using interactive dashboards. One of the best features is the capability to export the analysis to make it run in a web browser without loosing the core interactive and filtering functionality making it available to anyone without having to install any software. This characteristic can represent in huge savings in custom web application programming efforts.

What needs improvement?

The look and feel is not very customizable out of the box, which is the cherry on the cake when it comes to analazing data. If you are looking for a nice looking sexy reporting tool, this is not it but I doubt you will find one with the brains and sophistication Spotfire has.

For how long have I used the solution?

6+ years in different projects and 2 years doing full time Spotfire consulting

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

As any other software, deployment has its challenges, but once the server is up and running, it is reliable stable. If you follow the well written Spotfire documentation, you should be good to go.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Issues come and go by the Spotfire development team via the hot fixes and constant version updates. No major issues with stability from my end. If there are any, the issues are addressed quickly.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

They have new version releases twice a year, which is hard to keep up with the latest version since it requires migration efforts from the IT admins. If you do not keep up to date, in a few years Spotfire will no longer support your outdated version. Another issue is that once you convert and old version analysis to a new version, you can no longer save it as an old version, but that is rarely the case to be backward compatible.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

I am a technical guy, but according to the business, they are very responsive and generous.

Technical Support:

They have a strong Spotfire community where they discuss technical issues. My experience with technical support is limited.

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

I was born with Spotfire so I never "switch" but I tried other tools, however it is hard to compare apples to apples.

How was the initial setup?

With the right technical skills, especially in reading and following instructions, you should not have any issues installing and configuring the Spotfire Server. For the client, it is straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We are Spotifre consultants, so we are that vendor team that implements Spotfire to our customers.

What was our ROI?

I do not have that figure

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It really depends on the complexity of the client. Each project and client are different hence, each each implementation will have a different setup cost.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No

What other advice do I have?

If you are looking for an analysis tool, this is the one. It has great features. It is also great for interactive dashboards that can save huge web development work. A 3 months web application sashboard project, even with third party controls to consume data from a database can be done in a couple of hours with Spotfire.

Also, I have a technical blog that helps developers extend Spotfire beyond its out of the box features http://spotfired.blogspot.com

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user176994
Organization's Metrics Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
We can see real time operational analytics. It's not as intuitive as Tableau.

What is most valuable?

Interactive Visualizations, allowing us to write scripts to change the outlook of the tool and statistics are the key to this product.

How has it helped my organization?

This has allowed us to see real time operational analytics helping us to take timely decisions in correcting the defects and repositioning them in correct mode.

What needs improvement?

Story Telling features aren't intuitive as much as Tableau and some of the features are segregated

For how long have I used the solution?

2+ years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Deployment issues were very minimal.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, not any noticed issue on stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Few times when the data size got increased , it shuts automatically and restarts in the thick client environment.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

It’s good, at least the Tibco Community is active and very helpful.

Technical Support:

9/10

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

I haven’t used any other reporting tool as my present organization using Spotfire exclusively for it.

What about the implementation team?

It was implemented in-house.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I know that other products were evaluated but I don't know what they were.

What other advice do I have?

Know the complete tool by going through all the help files available. Feel free to play with this product with no limitations to the imagination. It makes it possible to give us factual insights, helps us to take a right decisions transforming our business.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Senior Developer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Allows you to customize the application and use html in text areas.
Spotfire is a very intuitive design tool. It’s very easy to manipulate X-axes and Y-axes to build visualizations. The tool does not have a heavy learning curve. It’s also well-designed in that once you learn one thing, it’s quite easy to use that knowledge to do something else. The UI is quite consistent. The tool allows you to customize the application. For example, the SDK allows for custom visualizations. But for that one should have the programming knowledge, C# is must to learn. The best feature which I found is use of html language in text areas. You can design the text area with background colors and images as well you can add borders in text areas. Spotfire supports the S plus and R language which we can used for predictive analysis. It’s a complex part of Spotfire. It allows you…

Spotfire is a very intuitive design tool. It’s very easy to manipulate X-axes and Y-axes to build visualizations. The tool does not have a heavy learning curve. It’s also well-designed in that once you learn one thing, it’s quite easy to use that knowledge to do something else. The UI is quite consistent.

The tool allows you to customize the application. For example, the SDK allows for custom visualizations. But for that one should have the programming knowledge, C# is must to learn.

The best feature which I found is use of html language in text areas. You can design the text area with background colors and images as well you can add borders in text areas.

Spotfire supports the S plus and R language which we can used for predictive analysis. It’s a complex part of Spotfire.

It allows you to make your custom sql queries and load the required data only. Information designer is the best part in Spotfire, you can create columns, use conditions, pivot, unpivot, and make joins. It’s a kind of sql editor.

Marking visualization components and filtering for drill-down into the underlying data are very intuitive and easy to understand.

Version 6.0 has some added features like maporama in their maps, later on in coming releases they are going to add more to maps.

You can limit your data by using simple expressions.

These are the points which makes Spotfire different from other BI tools.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user7344
Owner at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
TIBCO Spotfire and the In-Database/In-Memory Analytics Choice
(First posted October 4, 2012 in the Breakthrough Analysis blog. ) Visual analytics leader TIBCO, with its September 25 launch of Spotfire 5.0 and announcement of a new Teradata alliance, wants analytics customers to have it both ways, promoting both in-memory analytics and, for the largest or deepest problems, push-down of calculations into the Teradata engine via a technique called in-database processing. Flexibility is good. In-memory processing speeds interactive-analysis response times which in-database analytics reduces data-access delays and calculation time, taking advantage of parallel processing by the the database management system (DBMS). For each of a large variety of analytical processing challenges, which approach works best? On the one hand, the new analytics…
(First posted October 4, 2012 in the Breakthrough Analysis blog. )

Visual analytics leader TIBCO, with its September 25 launch of Spotfire 5.0 and announcement of a new Teradata alliance, wants analytics customers to have it both ways, promoting both in-memory analytics and, for the largest or deepest problems, push-down of calculations into the Teradata engine via a technique called in-database processing. Flexibility is good. In-memory processing speeds interactive-analysis response times which in-database analytics reduces data-access delays and calculation time, taking advantage of parallel processing by the the database management system (DBMS). For each of a large variety of analytical processing challenges, which approach works best?

On the one hand, the new analytics partnership — “Spotfire harnesses Teradata for executing complex calculations and predictive analytics in-database” – delivers “extreme data discovery and analytics.” On the other, newly launched Spotfire 5.0 is a “re-architected in-memory engine specifically built to enable users from across the enterprise to visualize and interact with massive amounts of data” that doubles down on the long-standing positioning of TIBCO Spotfire as “in-memory analytics software for next generation business intelligence.”

Next Generation BI and Database Systems

The next generation of business intelligence is indeed interactive and visual, typically involving iterative, exploratory analyses. Tableau and QlikTech, notably, compete with TIBCO on this front. And business is increasingly demanding real-time analysis of high-velocity data, without the latency involved in writing data streams to a database. These scenarios are tailor-made for in-memory processing. But here’s the rub. Next-gen BI also calls on huge volumes of diverse data and, often, the application of sophisticated computational algorithms, necessary to make sense of time series, geolocation, connection-network, and textual data. If you’re crunching high-volume data from social/mobile sources, and from certain species of machine/sensor-generated data, you may working beyond the responsiveness bounds of in-memory analytics… or you may not.

QlikView, for instance, can directly import social-sourced data via connectors from QlikTech partner company QVSource, and all three of the companies I’m mentioned work with ‘unified information access’ vendor Attivio to ingest data from a variety of unstructured sources that Attivio handles. And Teradata’s partner ecosystem includes text-analytics providers Attensity and Clarabridge, who software runs outside Teradata systems rather than in-database, just as SAP, in a tighter coupling, provides text capabilities via a data-services framework.

It’s a complex analytical-software world out there! We see that in-memory and in-database analytics occupy overlapping territory. How to choose the right approach in a bi-BI world? In what circumstances should you pull data from the external DBMS for those fast in-memory analyses — TIBCO touts the “two-second advantage” — and when should you push-down complex calculations and predictive analytics into an external database system?

TIBCO-partner Teradata provides a very worthy analytical DBMS, with parallel query processing, high reliability, low-latency data availability, broad data-management capabilities, and rich in-database analytics. So happens I wrote a paper for the company a couple of years back, Frequently Asked Questions about In-Database Analytics. (Teradata has paid me to write other papers, QlikTech is a consulting client, Attensity is a sponsor of my up-coming Sentiment Analysis Symposium – If you’re into social-media analytics, market research, or customer experience, check it out, October 30 in San Francisco – and I have done paid work for SAP and Sybase in the last year.) Teradata is not the only player in the game. Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services are additional external in-database analytics options with Spotfire, and DBMS options including EMC Greenplum, IBM Netezza, and SAP’s Sybase IQ all support in-database analytics unallied with TIBCO.

In-Memory vs. In-Database Guidance

A TIBCO-provided customer testimonial hints at one decision criterion. TIBCO references MGM Resorts International, a Spotfire and Teradata customer. “‘Being able to work with Spotfire directly connected to billions of data records through Teradata will greatly improve our ability to manage the Big Data dilemma,’ said Becky Wanta, Senior Vice President and Global Chief Technology & Innovation Officer,” as quoted by TIBCO. Focus on “billions of data records” and the word “manage.” In-database analytics in a centralized data store provides for shared-but-controlled access and robust administration, not only for data but also for database-embedded analytical routines, whether instantiated in SQL, custom code, or code libraries.

Consider another customer testimonial: Alan Falkingham, director, business intelligence at Procter & Gamble says, again quoted in the TIBCO release, “We are excited by the prospect of Spotfire 5.0 being able to efficiently analyze and visualize extreme data volumes by executing analytics directly within our database architecture.” Key-in here on “visualize” — visual analysis happens in the user-facing front-end, often as part of an iterative, exploratory process, where in-memory excels — where the efficiency is in handling heavy computations, that touch those “extreme data volumes,” close to the data, in the DBMS.

TIBCO Spotfire Vice President of Marketing Mark Lorion explained, “Being in-memory, there will still be limits based on specific machines configured and deployed… Our approach enables organizations to bridge between/distribute across the two architectural approaches to best fit the use case. This allows companies to leverage the benefits of in-memory freedom with the existing investments in data managed elsewhere.”

Still, how to decide what’s done in-database and what’s done in-memory? Lorien didn’t respond to a question I posed, asking the limits of the in-memory approach. I asked Gartner analyst Merv Adrian his take. It was, simply, the following: “I haven’t thought about it much. Anything that fits in memory ought to be done there, in my opinion. But the DBMS in-memory doing processing in-database would be ideal.” Ideal indeed, not currently doable so far as I know. SAP HANA is the most prominent in-memory database system, but while the HANA database has a column store option and handles multidimensional (OLAP) analyses, but I don’t believe you can embed serious analytics in-database. Similarly, Kognitio‘s in-memory analytical platform doesn’t support in-database analytics.

Putting aside capacity questions, analytical-routine availability is a key factor. You may not have a choice, if implementations of the algorithms you need are available or can be programmed in-memory or in-database but not both.

Heterogeneous Environments

Looking ahead, two premises I will state are that as tempting as it is to try to handle all work in-memory, disk-reliant analytical database systems — relational like Teradata and others I’ve cited, or NoSQL — will remain a corporate reality for a while to come, and that neither DBMS-embedded analytics nor in-memory analytics will completely meet enterprise BI needs anytime soon. Software companies such as TIBCO and Teradata, with duplicative predictive-analytics capabilities, would not partner if they were able to go it alone.

So you’re left with what we used to call systems analysis, and with experimenting, to see what works best given your own mix of data (volume, type, and pace), analytical routines, user workload, and management and administration requirements.

Enterprise IT environments are heterogeneous, meeting diverse demands. Flexibility and systems interoperability are musts for partial-solution vendors including both in-memory and DBMS-centered analytics providers. Flexibility and systems interoperability are must-haves for the earlier-generation analytics, the next, and the analytics generations after next as far as the eye can see.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user6855
CEO with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Spotfire, Tableau and QlikView – in a Nutshell
Verdict 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 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…

Verdict

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

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.

Tableau

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

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.
it_user3768
Consultant at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
Great alternative to Excel and Pivot Tables, but lacks ability to fine-tune appearance options
What is Spotfire' Spotfire is a BI (business intelligence) tool that enables you to explore and represent “big data” sets. It’s one of a class of tools that focus on making it easy to explore masses of data without being a database ninja. It’s head-to-head with tools like Tableau and Qlikview. I’d previously been put off trying Spotfire partly because Tibco had a head-spinning number of industry-specific variants and I had no idea where to start. Thankfully they have simplified their product range to one product, with variants of funtionality based on how much you are prepared to pay. This is a review based on my personal experiences over the last few weeks of using Spotfire, so I’m not going to comprehensively review all the feature set, just those that I have used and found noteworthy…

What is Spotfire'

Spotfire is a BI (business intelligence) tool that enables you to explore and represent “big data” sets. It’s one of a class of tools that focus on making it easy to explore masses of data without being a database ninja. It’s head-to-head with tools like Tableau and Qlikview. I’d previously been put off trying Spotfire partly because Tibco had a head-spinning number of industry-specific variants and I had no idea where to start. Thankfully they have simplified their product range to one product, with variants of funtionality based on how much you are prepared to pay. This is a review based on my personal experiences over the last few weeks of using Spotfire, so I’m not going to comprehensively review all the feature set, just those that I have used and found noteworthy. So is Spotfire the solution to your data analysis hassles'

User interface – what’s it like to drive'

Spotfire’s interface is a teeny bit introverted. It has a clean simple interface that really doesn’t let you know what delights lie within. Unlike a package like Tableau, which has plenty of “user interface bling”, much of the functionality is tucked away in property dialogs that you need to call up with a right mouse click. So you are presented with pretty plain interface. There’s a big button in the blank workspace that will take you to Spotfires introductory tutorial (well worth checking out, but pretty brief).


The first thing you see when Spotfire opens

Getting data into Spotfire

The first thing to do is to open the data you intend to analyse. For Excel data this is a doddle, just go to the little folder icon and open your spreadsheet.


You click the folder icon to connect to your data

You will be asked which tabs you want to import and which columns. Intuitive and simple…


Choosing which data you want to import from an Excel workbook

Opening data from a database is a little more convoluted (by necessity) requiring details of the database and of the SQL query you would like to run.

Analysing data

It can take a while to import the data into Spotfire (a couple of minutes for my query to a 15GB SQL database) but this may be more a function of my database server than Spotfire. It took about 35 seconds to open a 80MB, 800,000 (30 columns) row spreadsheet.

Once the data is imported you are ready to start analysing the data. Filters give you lots of flexibility about which data you include or exclude. You just select your chart (or table) type from the icons at the top and drag and drop your data into the chart. If you have used pivot tables it’s a similar routine. This is the bit that makes you go “wow”. The charts refresh almost instantly. You then fine-tune your analysis by telling it what type of aggregation you want (for example count, sum, median etc.) You do this by clicking the little arrow on the axis label.


With a few clicks the charts start to make sense

You can nest the axis, so have “months” with”day of month” nested within it. Because of the way Spotfire handles dates there is pretty much complete flexibility with how you structure time axes (it splits dates out in numerous ways, allowing you to mix-and-match those elements).

You can do just the same process with tables as well, or mix and match charts and tables with a “Graphical Table” that allows you to drop Sparklines or Bullet charts in cells next to the data – very nice.

Laying out charts and tables – working your dashboard magic

Once you have created your first chart, chances are you will create another. You have two options, either drop another on the same sheet – building a dashboard, or you create another “tab” with your new analysis on. If you put more than one chart on a tabbed page you can use the buttons on the toolbar to arrange them or just manually drag the border to resize the windows. You can add text or data windows onto the same page.


A simple Spotfire dashboard whipped up in a few mouse clicks

Filters – your new best friend – if you can work them out

Filters are really important in Spotfire. They enable you to choose which data you are going to show from a given column, allowing you to exclude certain data (just like filters in Excel, but a bit more elegant). Maybe I’m a bit stupid, but I was surprised that changing the filter on one page affected every other tab in the workbook. After a little Googling I discovered that filters don’t apply to just the page you set them on. You need to create a new filter and then apply it. This isn’t very intuitive as the “Show filtering scheme” option is turned off by default, you need to go into “Document properties” then select the “Filtering Scheme” tab to turn it on – not very obvious at all. Once you have worked this out, filters and simple and easy to use.


The pesky (and important) “Show filter scheme menu in Filters Panel” option

Calculated Columns – super handy feature for all your calculation needs

There’s almost certainly a lot more  functionality buried in Spotfire, but one feature I found myself using was “calculated columns”. Let’s say you have columns called “weight” and “height” and you wanted to have “Body mass index” (kg/(height squared)) you would go Insert>Calculated Column. You are presented with a page that enables you to build an expression based on available columns, available column properties and a list of possible functions.


The expression builder for adding a calculated column

When you are done building your expression you give your column a name before clicking “OK”. It’s simple enough that I didn’t need to look at the documentation once – perfect.

Visualisation of data – charts, graphs and other bling

I have simple tastes when it comes to representing data, rarely branching out past column, line and scatter plots. Spotfire has a good selection of ways of plotting data, including heatmaps, maps, treemaps and all the usual suspects. Here are a selection of examples….


A simple Spotfire heatmap


A Spotfire scatterplot

When appropriate, there are lost of options to vary marker size, colour and even shape based on data. It’s best not to get carried away with this but it can allow you to squeeze some vital extra data onto your visualizations.


A Spotfire treemap

Likes

With the exception of intially loading the data set, Spotfire pounded through the analysis I threw at it. One of the data sets was a 15GB SQL database, another was a 800k line Excel workbook. It returned the analysis almost instantly in both cases. Jaws dropped as my colleages (used to Excel) saw the speed and ease of cutting data. As one of my team said “That tool would completely have replaced my job at the last bank I worked at!”

There seems to be good forum support, most queries you have can be resolved with a couple of minutes Google research.

There are some real time-savers, like the ability to import and export corporate colour schemes. You can also drag and drop data, with clever – icon based – targets that let you determine how the dragged data is used, like this….


The clever icon tool bar makes dragging and dropping data into charts easy

It handles things like dates brilliantly, breaking them down into any combination of day, week, month, quarter, day of week. It’s a breath of fresh air and makes periodic analysis really simple.

It is wonderfully fast, at least on the data set I used.

Confused by

  • Things such as changing the order of data series can be a bit non-intuitive.
  • Filters can take a little figuring out, but are very straightforward once you understand how to set them up and switch between them.
  • Changing the colour scheme is also not very intuitive, but a huge time saver in a corporate environment once you have figured it out.
  • Refreshing data when a spreadsheet changes.

Dislikes

PowerPoint slide export has the potential for greatness but is let down by it’s execution. The exported slides are a bit of a mess, with both images and text a bit too large and badly laid out. You will end up having to hand tweak each slide. I guess Tibco expect users to serve up their dashboards over the corporate intranet but in reality most of my clients still function of the PowerPoint-Email distribution system. I didn’t have the opportunity to test it’s ability to serve up analysis as web pages, but I think it’s quite a big part of Spotfire’s feature set.

The other irritating aspect of the package is the way that axes are labelled. They are logically labelled based on the data source (e.g. Record Count) and the aggregation type (e.g Unique Count). This is all handled automatically and is fine most of the time, as long as you don’t mind axes with labels like “Unique Count(Record Count)”.  If you want to “fine tune” the labels for the “sensitive senior exec types” of customer you will find yourself fiddling about in PowerPoint trying to overlay a text box with the revised label over the top of the image from Spotfire. Not great when you are in a hurry.

Some of the spreadsheets I tried to connect to managed to choke Spotfire (and not through their size, the problematic ones were tiny) – necessitating a trip to Task Manager to kill the program. After a quick copy>paste special>paste values and format into a new sheet and everything seemed to work OK. Workeable but very tedious when there are lots of revisions going on. It may not be a Spotfire issue, but Excel had no issues opening and editing these workbooks.

Verdict

Using Spotfire you get the feeling that someone finally got fed up with messing around with Excel and Pivot tables and decided to implement that approach, but properly.

The whole tool feels nicely focussed around cutting, analysing and displaying data. It doesn’t try to spread itself too thinly and really succeeds at what it sets out to do. One example of this focus would be on scatter plots. I needed to plot a number of points that were nearly co-incident. Spotfire has a dedicated “jitter” control that will jiggle the points about (with the ability to vary the “jitter” amplitude), so you can sacrifice precision for readiblity – brilliant!

Where I found myself getting a bit frustrated was in trying to fine-tune some of the appearance options. For example, on my scatter plot you can label the points, but the only thing you can change on the labels is the font size. You are stuck with a crude enclosing box, no choice on background or on the colour or weight of lead-line to the point.

Part of the reason these minor formatting issues grate is that the rest of the workflow with Spotfire is a delight. Once you have got into the way the package works (a couple of days of light use and you should be there) it is a joy to use. It is fast, logical and flexible. If you find yourself regularly using pivot tables, producing lots of charts or creating dashboards in Excel you really owe it to you (or your team) to check this tool out, it could transform the way you produce analysis.

Trying Spotfire out – getting a free trial

You can try Spotfire out by visiting their site here. You get 2 weeks of the full product and after this it drops back to the “personal edition” which drops a number of the more useful chart types, the abilty to export to PowerPoint and connections to databases (limits you to Excel spreadsheets).

Disclosure

I didn’t get paid a bean to write this article – just so you know.

Version tested 4.5.0.33

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