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TIBCO Spotfire Review: "Spotfire is Spot-On for Data Analysis"
https://www.trustradius.com/business-intelligence-biTIBCO SpotfireUnspecified8.4508101
Michael Soliman profile photo
Updated December 04, 2014

TIBCO Spotfire Review: "Spotfire is Spot-On for Data Analysis"

Score 9 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version
4.0.2

Overall Satisfaction with TIBCO Spotfire

  • I particularly enjoy how Spotfire enables us to triage any problems fairly quickly. We can directly connect to a database, pull in a subset of data, and then quickly create visualizations to make judgments on problem severity. For example: we can grab server response data, create a bar chart and then quickly add standard deviation and average lines to the bar chart.
  • This could just be a problem of the (fairly old) version of Spotfire we're using, but being able to directly control database chunksize would be great. The desktop client seems fairly chatty, so you really feel the network latency when you are doing a direct connection with a database across the country.
Spotfire has become an integral part of our business intelligence initiative.
Like any tool or service you are considering for your company, always go in with the expectation that some work will be needed to integrate it in a fully utilizable way. In my experience, things rarely work "out of the box" so I recommend internal beta-testing first (if time permits, of course) to start learning about the system. During that period, you will start to see how it will really fits in your business.

One key thing to remember is that Spotfire is a great analysis tool. If your company just wants numbers in a spreadsheet format, then you might want to stick with Excel or Crystal Reports. Don't buy a solution and then spend a year looking for a problem it can supposedly solve. ;)

Using TIBCO Spotfire

  • Marketing Channel Analysis.
  • Sales Analysis.
  • Financial Analysis.
  • Data Integrity Triage.
  • Server Health Monitoring.

Evaluating TIBCO Spotfire and Competitors

TIBCO Spotfire Implementation

The original architecture I created for our implementation had only a particular set of internal business units in mind. Over the years, Spotfire gained in popularity in our company and was being utilized across many more business units. Soon, its usage went beyond what the original architectural implementation could provide. We've since learned about how the product is used by the different teams and are currently in the middle of rolling out a new architecture.

I suggest:
  • Have clearly defined service level agreements with all the teams that will use Spotfire. Your business intelligence group might only need availability during normal working hours, but your production support group might need 24/7 availability. If these groups share one Spotfire server, maintenance of that server might be a problem.
  • Know the different types of data you will be working with. One group might be working with "public" data while another group might work with sensitive data. Design your Library accordingly and with the proper permissions.
  • Know the roles of the users of Spotfire. Will there only be a small set of report writers or does everyone have write access to the Library?
  • ALWAYS add a timestamp prompt to your reports. You don't want multiple users opening a report that will try and pull down millions of rows of data to their local workstations. Another option, of course, is to just hard code a time range in the backing database view (i.e. where activity_date >= sysdate - 90, etc.), but I'd rather educate/train the user base if possible.
  • This probably goes without saying, but if possible, point to a separate reporting database or a logical standby database. You don't want the company pounding on your primaries and take down your order system.

TIBCO Spotfire Training

  • In-person training
  • Self-taught
The on-site trainer really set the foundation for our usage of Spotfire, but that only went so far since he didn't have intimate knowledge of our data. That being said, their "Help" documentation in the desktop client is great! I've learned most of what I needed from the documentation and experimentation.
I think some initial training is needed to use the product if there is nobody in your company that knows how to use it.

If there are ready examples to work with, then I would recommend playing with the examples and have the training sessions be question/scenario driven.

TIBCO Spotfire Support

I haven't directly dealt with their customer support staff, but my colleague has and he was very impressed by their level of expertise and professionalism. I do remember that he was trying to work his way through some new functionality introduced and the customer support rep was able to navigate him through some very obscure code to make the fix.
Yes - I didn't make that decision, but I'm glad we do have that support. We've made use of it.