Spotfire Simplifies Data Analysis

Spotfire gears its DecisionSite BI application for nontechnical users.

Enterprises looking to extend not only business intelligence but also advanced statistical analysis capabilities to less technical business users will have a new option with the latest release of Spotfire Inc.s DecisionSite BI application.

Version 8 of DecisionSite, expected to be announced this week, includes new data visualization and workflow capabilities designed to make advanced statistical analysis used in high-tech industries—such as life sciences, research and manufacturing—accessible to users such as sales and marketing managers.

The step-by-step workflow capabilities, known as Guided Analytics, walk users through the process of analyzing sets of data while allowing them to interact with the analysis at any time. These capabilities are combined with new data visualization capabilities, what Spotfire executives call "bar charts on steroids," to deliver a more visual, easier-to-understand data experience and lessen reliance on query-and-reporting tools and Microsoft Corp.s Excel spreadsheets, officials said.

Also new in this release is DecisionSite 8 Library, a shared repository for analysis guides, files and posters that allows users to share analysis methods and results used in Guided Analytics applications. The new SmartLists feature in DecisionSite 8 adds project management capabilities, including tracking lists of elements such as leads, prospects, lots and batches.

There are server and client pieces in DecisionSite. The server piece, Spotfire DecisionSite Analytic Server, enables DecisionSite 8 to source data from disparate databases and links Insightful Corp.s S-Plus and the open-source statistical engine, known as R, to the DecisionSite 8 environment. Spotfire, of Somerville, Mass., plans to support SAS Institute Inc.s statistical engine in a release of DecisionSite Analytic Server planned for later this year, officials said. DecisionSite 8 and Analytic Server are available now.

Meanwhile, Information Builders Inc., of New York, is readying an upgrade to its WebFocus BI software that is also focused on delivering improved data visualization tools. The update will include a self-service paradigm so business users can query multiple data sources and generate reports without IT intervention, said company officials.

The upgrade, expected within a month, will also include bundled data integration technology from Information Builders iWay subsidiary to deliver more real-time data analysis capabilities.


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