'Recommendations' Simplifies TIBCO's Spotfire BI Adoption

Taking a step toward bringing business analytics to a wider audience, TIBCO Software is adding a new set of capabilities to its Spotfire Cloud analytics application that the company said will provide data discovery and business intelligence insights more quickly for everyday business users.

The new toolset, called Recommendations, uses a built-in analytics intelligence wizard that guides users to the best data visualizations and charts based on the attributes of the data and the kind of results the user is seeking.

"We thought it would be helpful to have the tool do more of the work for the user," said Mike Boyarski, who manages product marketing for TIBCO analytics. "That dramatically cuts the time at the front of the data-studying process. It also makes that data analytics more approachable."

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Business analytics software vendors have made progress in recent years to improve the usability of their products. But business intelligence software generally remains too complex for most business users. While statistical analysts and other "power users" can work with such programs on their own, it's often left to IT department programmers to develop the reports and dashboards that provide analytical results to information workers.

The Recommendations tools are designed to help lower those barriers to usage by guiding users toward the best way to display analytical results and quickly develop dashboards with interactive data visualizations. That, Boyarski said, is better than the typical trial-and-error route to data discovery.

The new release of Spotfire Cloud also provides an improved user interface and offers more on-the-fly means of grouping data, a necessity for such tasks as analyzing different categories of products sold by a retailer.

TIBCO works with systems integrators and solution providers to sell Spotfire, especially with partners that bring vertical industry expertise in such markets as financial services, energy, manufacturing and retail -- expertise that's often critical in business analytics.

One such partner is CFS Consulting Group in Oak Brook, Ill., where senior vice president Jason Bedsworth said his customers, including retailers and consumer-packaged-goods makers, benefit from Spotfire's ability to pull in data from multiple sources. The software, he said, is also easy to scale up as demands grow.

"Their enterprise scalability, the way they manage the data and the security they build around that data," he said, ticking off the technology's best attributes.

The new Recommendations capabilities will help CFS Consulting implement Spotfire in midsize businesses that he said often install business analytics systems and then find themselves unsure what to do with the data.

The new Recommendations and other capabilities are available now in the cloud version of Spotfire and will be available shortly in the on-premises version, Boyarski said.

TIBCO acquired Spotfire in 2007. Last May, the company bought Jaspersoft, a developer of open-source business intelligence reporting, analytics and visualization tools, for approximately $185 million.

Boyarski said TIBCO has no plans to combine Spotfire and Jaspersoft, given that the latter is more focused on embedded applications -- both for commercial ISVs and in-house application developers. But he said TIBCO is developing unifying technology for the two, such as common data access and acquisition capabilities, and possibly the ability for them to exchange dashboards.