Dell Targets 'Citizen Data Scientist' With Statistica 13.1

The latest version of the software includes making it easier for nontechnical business-line employees to run analytics initiatives.

data scientist

Dell officials want to enable the "citizen data scientist."

Dell is rolling out version 13.1 of the company's Statistica data analytics platform, which will offer a range of new capabilities in such areas as expanded in-database analytics, improved fraud detection through network analytics and enabling analytics at the network edge on devices and systems, which will address the growing amounts of data being generated by the Internet of things (IoT).

A key part of the new software, which is available now, is making it easier for line-of-business workers to prepare and analyze structured and unstructured data from myriad resources and distribute the results of the analysis. As the data generated by companies continues to skyrocket, there is a growing demand for tools that will make it easier and faster for businesses to quickly analyze the data and derive useful business information from it.

Data scientists are become increasingly important at companies, but there is a lack of available skilled data scientists in the market. At the same time, line-of-business workers no longer want to bring their data to someone and then have to wait for the results to come back, according to Shawn Rogers, chief research officer at the Information Management Group at Dell. They want the ability to run the analytics themselves on the data they have and then share it with others.

"Data is at the core of everybody's company as far as innovation goes," Rogers said at a recent small event in Boston. "Everybody wants to leverage [data]. Not everybody knows how to do that. This is not about IT anymore. This is coming from business."

Dell significantly bolstered it big data analytics capabilities in 2014 when it bought StatSoft, a company from Oklahoma with more than 25 years of expertise building analytic software. Dell officials soon after the deal changed the name to Statistica and began seeing what they had with their new acquisition. They spent 18 months working on the software and scaling. In October 2015, Dell released Statistica 13.0, the first real version with Dell's fingerprints on it that touched on such areas as the user interface and in-database analytics.

Now comes version 13.1, and that will be followed by several other point upgrades that will build upon what 13.1 offers, according to John Thompson, general manager of Dell Statistica. Version 14.0 will see Dell making the software available in public, private and hybrid clouds, Thompson said during the Boston event.

To highlight the growing importance of data and analytics, Dell officials pointed to research by Gartner analysts who found that by 2018, more than half of large organizations worldwide will "compete using advanced analytics and proprietary algorithms," and that by 2020, "predictive and prescriptive analytics will attract 40 percent of enterprises' net new investment in business intelligence and analytics."

The new version of Statistica has data preparation tools that will enable citizen data scientists to help drive the use of analytics. These are people who "don't have Ph.D.s in math," Rogers told eWEEK. "They can't do algorithms, but they understand the benefits" of analytics.

Using Reusable Process Template in Statistica, data scientists can create analytic models and workflows and then distribute them to nontechnical users, who can use them to run analytics initiatives and share the results with others, Dell officials said. Those workflow templates can be used repeatedly throughout the organization, making analytics more efficient and solving problems without having to always rely on high levels of technical expertise.