Spotfire for Mid to Large Enterprises
January 07, 2019
Spotfire for Mid to Large Enterprises
Score 7 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with TIBCO Spotfire
Spotfire is used by most departments in our company to access enterprise and local data sources. It is connected to over 30 enterprise data sources. It began as a tool for engineers, but anyone who wants to access data may work with the application to create dashboards, workflows, and other tools to aid in decision making and visualization.
- Users get a better understanding of data when they see it in Spotfire, as opposed to Excel. Spotfire visualizations also have several functions like zoom sliders and hierarchies that are a significant improvement over charting in Excel.
- Spotfire integrates with coding languages like IronPython, HTML, CSS and R in order to dramatically expand the out of the box functionality.
- Features like property controls make the application dynamic and interactive in ways that Excel is not. These same features also make the application more efficient.
- The application is not efficient when building large projects. There are many small features that could make building large projects faster like the ability to add more than one filter or property control at a time. Also, users shouldn't have to expand and collapse every single table in the Filter panel or in the Add filters dialog (when adding filters in a Text Area).
- TIBCO has been slow to add in features that users have requested for years, like the ability to edit join operations. It's there now, but we waited years for that feature. The information designer hasn't seen an overhaul (or even any new features) in over 5 years.
- Increasing the release frequency has resulted in a lower quality product. TIBCO lauded the "completely redesigned" user interface of Spotfire 10, but it's not a complete redesign and looks sloppy.
I have very briefly used PowerBI and Tableau, and I found Spotfire to be much better than PowerBI as an interactive tool. Property controls and action controls really make the analysis interactive and dynamic. However, Spotfire mobile has a long way to go. We've tried to set it up twice and failed both times. As a result, we use PowerBI for all mobile analysis. Tableau visualizations are more visually appealing, but the application doesn't have the breadth of functionality.
- Users know more about the data than they did when we worked in Excel.
- Decisions can be made faster when we have Spotfire projects to support decision making.
- Users are more aligned on the data and the story it's telling because we share projects across users and regions, as opposed to everyone having their own spreadsheet and their own version of the story.
- Online training
- In-person training
We designed and built our own internal training for Spotfire in order to incorporate our own data sets. Generally speaking, 4 - 12 Spotfire courses are held each year on a variety of topics. We keep thinking we won't need to offer beginner training anymore, but we keep adding users. Deploying Spotfire would have gone much slower (or even failed) without a training effort and deskside support for users.
We also use Automation Services, Web Player, and Spotfire Server. We are able to keep costs as low as possible by providing analysis to users via the Web Player (a cheaper license) when users are only consuming the content (not building it). Automation Services allows us to push analysis to people and better support workflows, specifically with data QAQC efforts. Users receive a report each morning of only the data that needs to be fixed. They don't have to remember the task. Spotfire server enables deployment across an enterprise. I couldn't imagine using Spotfire without it.
I think Spotfire is a good product, and we'll continue to use it. It is expensive relative to other competitors, and a successful launch will require internal support (support from the company, not just support from TIBCO). Therefore, I don't think it's a good fit for smaller companies. However, it is a good tool for larger enterprises who have many data sources that users need to access to. The combination of Spotfire Server, Automation Services, and Web Player make it a powerful enterprise tool.