TIBCO Spotfire Joins Simplified Analytics Bandwagon - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Cloud // Software as a Service
08:36 AM
Connect Directly

TIBCO Spotfire Joins Simplified Analytics Bandwagon

TIBCO eases analysis with a Spotfire Cloud Recommendations feature that suggests best-fit visualizations. Can it leapfrog IBM, SAS, and Tableau?

TIBCO introduced a Recommendations feature on the TIBCO Spotfire Cloud this week that promises to simplify data analysis for data analysis neophytes.

Once you load data into TIBCO Spotfire Cloud, the Recommendations feature automatically suggests a ranked order of data visualizations that will best fit that information and the dimensions of data selected for analysis.

This style of auto-recommendation capability isn't entirely new. SAS introduced an Auto Charting feature in 2012 in its SAS Visual Analytics product. IBM followed suit in 2013 and 2014 with its Cognos Project Neo and cloud-based IBM Watson Analytics, respectively.

"We've used artificial-intelligence-like features before, and we think this Recommendation engine is way beyond what has been on the market so far," Brian Gentile, senior vice president and general manager of TIBCO Analytics, said in a phone interview with InformationWeek.

[Want more on easier analytics and BI? Read Analytics Showdown: Should Apps Be Simpler, Or Smarter?"]

It's all part of a movement to simplify business intelligence and analytics products that have a reputation for complexity. TIBCO is most interested in one-upping Spotfire's biggest rival, Tableau Software, which has won plenty of mind share and market share on the strength of product ease of use. Gentile said the Recommendations ranking and preview capabilities give newbies better guidance than Tableau's Show Me feature.

"The Tableau Show Me feature is a simple example of providing templates, whereas we're providing a live environment," Gentile said. "You're not just looking at static templates. You're looking at your data live in a ranked-order set of recommendations."

Once you find visualizations you like, you can drag and drop them into a dashboard builder to create a collection of views. Recommendations is available only through TIBCO Spotfire Cloud for now, but there are plans to add the feature to the on-premises software (though there's no target date). There are also plans to build behavioral analysis into Recommendations, so it learns from user data-access and visualization patterns over time.

"Today the recommendations are based on understanding data structure and metadata, but tomorrow it will based on that, plus a lot of human-interaction characteristics," Gentile said.

TIBCO Spotfire Cloud's Recommendations feature: A choice of product data by brand previews four suggested visualizations, shown with live data.
TIBCO Spotfire Cloud's Recommendations feature: A choice of product data by brand previews four suggested visualizations, shown with live data.

TIBCO stepped up its commitment to BI and analytics in 2014 with the April acquisition of Jaspersoft. Formerly CEO of Jasper, Gentile now leads the Tibco Analytics unit, which oversees Jaspersoft; Spotfire, an R engine for statistical analysis with the open source R language; and TERR, a mapping and geospatial analytics product.

On the larger corporate front, TIBCO experienced a few weak quarters last year -- tied in part to shortfalls in Spotfire sales -- that precipitated a change in ownership. The venture capital firm Vista Equity Partners acquired TIBCO in December. Vista named Murray Rode, who previously served as COO and, before that, CFO, as TIBCO's CEO. Rode succeeded Vivek Ranadivé, who remains on the company's board.

Gentile said last year's Spotfire sales execution "hiccups" are in the rear view mirror. He predicts that Spotfire Cloud, which was introduced last year, and features such as Recommendations will help the data-exploration and visualization product to win a broader base of customers beyond the deep data analysts who have been using it for years.

Just 30% of respondents to our new Big Data and Analytics Survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives? Get The Trouble With Big Data issue of InformationWeek Tech Digest today (free registration required).

Doug Henschen is Executive Editor of InformationWeek, where he covers the intersection of enterprise applications with information management, business intelligence, big data and analytics. He previously served as editor in chief of Intelligent Enterprise, editor in chief of ... View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
1/16/2015 | 6:37:12 PM
Quick comment on product names
Thanks for the great post on our Spotfire Recommendations Announcement!

Just wanted to clarify one thing on this: an R engine for statistical analysis with the open source R language; and TERR, a mapping and geospatial analytics product.

TERR (or TIBCO Enterprise Runtime for R) is TIBCO's enterprise grade, R-compatible statistical engine. Our Geoanalytics product is simply called TIBCO Geoanalytics. 
Charlie Babcock
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
1/16/2015 | 4:38:20 PM
Vivek lead Tibco through a golden era
Vivek Ranadive founded Tibco and did a great job of leading it through the mainframe and Unix software eras as a system message bus company. Tibco was the first company to create a real time trading system on Wall Street. The Tib in Tibco stands for The Information Bus. Now the message bus has become a standard feature of every system and the play is in what you can do wtih the information coming over the bus. Both Tibco and its many competitors realize that.
CIOs Face Decisions on Remote Work for Post-Pandemic Future
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  2/19/2021
11 Ways DevOps Is Evolving
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  2/18/2021
CRM Trends 2021: How the Pandemic Altered Customer Behavior Forever
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  2/18/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
Flash Poll