Last week at TIBCO’s annual user conference in Las Vegas, TIBCO announced Spotfire 5 with in-database processing and a new predictive analytics engine for open source R models.
TIBCO Spotfire 5 is expected to become generally available before year end, bringing in-database processing, a revamped in-memory engine, and a new predictive analytics run-time engine for R. Like many visual data discovery tools, TIBCO Spotfire has long had its own in-memory engine to provide speed-of-thought exploration and analysis. In contrast to chief competitors QlikView and Tableau, Spotfire has had an on-demand option to interactively load subsets of data into the engine as users get to a certain exploration point. With version 5, more of the processing can be pushed to the database, currently for Teradata, Oracle 11g and Exadata, and Microsoft SQL Server and Analysis Services, preserving the investments that customers have made in those platforms to bring better data scalability. I was impressed by how easily a Teradata star schema was used to build an initial Spotfire application, requiring less modeling time than previous releases. In addition to the in-database processing, TIBCO Spotfire has revamped into established in-memory engine, claiming 5 to 10x faster over version 4, maintaining sub second response time at over 100 million rows of data. (TIBCO did not provide test configuration information).
A differentiator for Spotfire has been its integration of predictive models based on the S+ engine. TIBCO Spotfire 5 introduces a run-time engine for R so that existing R models can be run and integrated with the Spotfire applications. The models can either be run from the desktop Spotfire Professional client or from the server.
While much of the BI industry is banging the BI and collaboration drum, TIBCO seemed to treat these technologies as distinct, even though they have some powerful capabilities. First released two years ago, Tibbr is like a Facebook for the enterprise, competing with the likes of Yammer (acquired by Microsoft June 2012) and SalesForce Chatter. Spotfire integrated with Tibbr’s collaboration capabilities last year in Spotfire 4. The next release of Tibbr brings additional capabilities such as an employee’s social profile, influence, and recent activity. The InterPort Police, responsible for controlling international ports, spoke of how Tibbr made it easier to share information with other agencies, where real-time data and mobility are critical to national security.
After TIBCO acquired Spotfire in 2007, Spotfire’s relevance in the visual data discovery market seemed to wane. They appeared on fewer customer short lists and sales did not keep pace with the rest of the BI market. According to IDC estimates, 2011 revenues once again showed solid growth. With TIBCO giving greater attention to analytics and Spotfire 5’s differentiators of in- database and predictive, the product is well positioned to take on both the pure play competitors and the major BI platform vendors.
Regards, Cindi Howson, BI Scorecard