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October 11, 2013

KPIs Get Personal with TIBCO Spotfire 6

Alex Woodie

Business users will be able to view personalized key performance indicators (KPIs) from their mobile devices with the latest release of the Spotfire business intelligence tool that TIBCO unveiled yesterday. Spotfire 6 also includes a simplified data discovery tool, event analytics for automated anomaly detection, location-aware analytics, and new cloud deployment options.

The new personalized KPI function in Spotfire 6 is designed to allow users to view real-time updates to important metrics wherever they happen to be, from the comfort of their Windows 8, iOS, and Android laptops, tablets, and phones. Considering the number of other big data companies that rely on Spotfire to be a front-end data visualization tool for their customers– including vendors like Teradata, YarcData, Fractal Analytics, and others–this will have a multiplication effect.

Connecting the “last mile of the enterprise,” as TIBCO says, is accomplished through an updated Web-based client in the product lineup, which TIBCO calls Spotfire Consumer. In addition to real-time KPI capabilities, Spotfire Consumer provides offline KPI monitoring, contextual drill down, and social collaboration.

Spotfire 6 also brings a new client interface called Business Author that the company says will help “bridge the gap between simple dashboards and advanced analytic applications.” Whereas other client interfaces may require users to manipulate pivot tables and charts to gain new insights into data, the Business Author client keeps things simple and allows users to “visually explore and interact with data” over the Web.

The new location analytics feature allows Spotfire customers to mix data from maps and other geographical sources into their analytic applications. By blending in data from multi-layered maps, automatic geo-coding, and data overlays, Spotfire 6 gives customers new ways to spot connections in the data that they may have otherwise missed.

TIBCO also launched a new Event Analytics product as part of the updated Spotfire suite. Event Analytics is designed to help companies spot potentially important information hidden in the data, which may show themselves as statistical trends or outliers. This function is powered by

TIBCO’s event-processing technologies, and generates alerts whenever trends or outliers are detected. Event Analytics is designed to enable businesses to manage by exception, and is seen as particularly useful in areas like quality control, customer churn, and productivity.

Lastly, version 6 brings three new cloud delivery options, including: Spotfire Cloud Enterprise, a full-featured version of Spotfire living in the cloud; Spotfire Cloud Work Group, designed for teams of analysts requiring data discovery as a service (DDaS); and Spotfire Personal, a low-cost Web client designed for “quick data discovery needs.”

Version 6 comes on the heels of a major version 5 launch one year ago at the company’s TUCON 2012 conference. Version 5 introduced a new in-memory analytic engine, delivering a performance boost that was viewed as a necessity by TIBCO customers who are attempting to analyze data sets that exceed 100TB. Version 5 also brought support for in-database analysis of data in Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and Teradata data warehouses. In March, TIBCO launched Spotfire 5.5, which brought even more hooks into relational databases and in-memory data stores, including Hadoop, Greenplum, DB2, Netezza, Sybase IQ, and Vertica. Version 5.5 also extended TIBCO’s “hybrid” approach to in-database processing.

Version 6 may not have the big impact of in-memory processing or hybrid processing, but that’s not to say that there haven’t been big upgrades made to Spotfire under the covers, according to Lars Bauerle, vice president of product strategy for TIBCO.

“We’ve invested significantly in our technical core, but have also incorporated truly innovative capabilities that dramatically extend the impact analytics can have on an enterprise,” Bauerle says in a press statement. “We’re extending the use of analytics to all corners of the business–such as delivering personal KPIs on any mobile device to every employee–enabling customers to transform and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.”

TIBCO elected to unveil Spotfire 6 less than a week before its annual TUCON user conference, which is being held at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, the same location as last event. Undoubtedly, the company has more up its sleeve for the big show. Datanami will be there to get the latest news.

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