Friday, November 28, 2008


Christian Marcazzo of Spotfire spoke to the SDForum BI SIG November meeting. Sandeep Giri posted an excellent description of the meeting. Here I want to try and understand where Spotfire fits into the arc of Business Intelligence tools.

The origins of Spotfire is in academic Computer Human Interface (CHI) studies. Christian made fun of typical stupid dashboard tricks like thermometer and speedometer indicators that take up a lot of space and tell us little. In this sense Spotfire is like Tableau who are also based academic research. However they attack different markets. While Tableau is primarily an end user tool, Spotfire is an enterprise solution, with various different types of server to support more or less sophisticated use of the client.

Christian works with Pharmaceutical customers, and important customer base for Spotfire. The examples he showed were all straightforward uses of Spotfire in sales and marketing, however he told us that in pharmaceuticals they have the largest group of customers in research, next in clinical trials and only then in sales and marketing.

Spotfire supports sophisticated data analysis. In the meeting, I asked Christian how they compare to SAS or SPSS. He did not answer the question directly, instead he told us that Spotfire has recently integrated with the S+ programming language. In his view the future of sophisticated analytics is the R programming language, the Open Source version of S.


Anonymous said...

Actually, the Spotfire guy is not right about Tableau. It is enterprise class software. It is true that it's as easy to use as a desktop tool. But my company runs their Server product. People all over my company use a browser version to get data analytics, views and dashboards.

Richard Taylor said...

Anonymous, thanks for your comment. The comment on Tableau is as much my construction as that of the guy from Spotfire. He said that recently they have not run into Tableau so often in competitive situations. I meant to say that Tableau's offerings reach down to the individual user whereas Spotfire does not.