Spotfire - the best kept secret in Business Intelligence & Analytics!
Updated September 03, 2016

Spotfire - the best kept secret in Business Intelligence & Analytics!

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Spotfire

The depth and extensibility of the Spotfire platform is being used to provide instant access and insight across multi-million row data sets with hundreds of data elements per row instantly to a complex organisation of multi foci users. We are able to provide a beautiful, intuitive and rich user experience through the deep technology layers of IronPython and out of the box functionality that we have not seen in Tableau, SAS or even Qlik. Underpinned by the T.E.R.R statistical engine for calculations and analytical modelling, we are helping to identify efficiencies and opportunities to improve the clinical service delivery, efficiency and cost across more than 90 hospitals.
  • Outstanding statistical underbelly based upon R without a bolt-on addition.
  • Beautiful interface and visual design out of the box with a lot of flexibility in embedding HTML and javascript.
  • Great and simple management of data and calculated/binned data columns.
  • Really simple security integration and configuration with in-house ICT infrastructure.
  • Very cost-effective in our experience, again much more so under the TOA for procurement compared to other platforms.
  • Tooltips require significant work in their flexibility of use compared to Tableau and Qlik e.g. Cannot easily customise value formats, cannot add any custom tooltips on text area elements, cannot interact with tooltip e.g. insert a checkbox in a tooltip that you can click.
  • Cannot individual style charting objects/visualisations i.e. if you dont want a line chart to have axis lines - then when setting the global themes... all axes have to be enabled/disabled - so theming is very limited and individual visualisation formatting is limited - but look and feel thankfully good out of the box so can get by on good looks... for a while.
  • Printing from the web player is almost unuseable - it fails completely with a dark themed analysis.
  • Inadequate session sharing - Qlik does this very well
  • Hierarchies are not drill through and you must show all values at each level AND this in the levels above which makes the axes labels unreadable when all expanded. SAS VA does the drill through the best of all the BI platforms on chart viaualisations in my opinion.
  • Tables are very poorly thought through. Cross tables have no deill down - all levels of the crosstable are always expanded which is hopeless for alot of data. All tables look and feel is poorly implemented - no width as a percentage, no proper dynamic auto width, no column min-width, issues with conditional formatting. But Spotfire isnt alone in poorly implemented tables. And different styling features and options on each table - very inconsistent.
We have used a myriad of data sources within our testing and found the in-memory engine to be extremely responsive with very high fidelity of flt data conversion where meta data or data type descriptors are missing. Load times are good with customisable fetch and batch settings and direct edit access to the connection string. Swapping of data sources that support Information links that are bound to products is simple, providing a lot of ease in dynamic environments where data sources change without having to rebuild everything that hangs off the associated data.
It isn't as good as Qlik in session sharing and the print functionalities of the web client are terrible to the point we will build our own printing engine (probably worst thing I can say about Spotfire - web player printing) for the distribution of hard copies. The bookmarking is excellent but without good printing and session sharing it comes in a distant second to Qlik. Access control is excellent however it's permissions structure is not adequate if you need a user to be a member of multiple groups to access an analysis. We would like to be able to set the permissions to be either AND or OR for the attached security groups at the bare minimum (e.g. must be in AD-GROUP-CORPORATE AND AD-GROUP-DOCTORS) to see what is in that folder. Currently membership of only 1 group gets you in and you have to use nested folder layers. We have built our own ad hoc analysis functionality that helps somewhat to get around this limitation... but it still needs to be addressed.
We evaluated on Mobility, Dashboarding, Web Based User Interface and Analytical capability. At the forefront was the user experience which accounted for just over half of our evaluation criteria. No platform was a 10/10 in all four categories - SAS Visual Analytics excelled in Mobility but failed dismally in its web user interface and the design tools (plus the server was a mountain of scripts and unnecessarily complex - too much investment required to spin up) . Tableau looks pretty (clearly) but we exhausted the depth of its functionality in about 6 weeks - we could get more flexibility in design from XCelcius (SAP Dashboards) than Tableau and basically no real analytics with Microsoft Excel type line fitting and extrapolation. Microsoft - great SQL server platforms but the power pivots and power view are designed for baby BI as we call it. So a myriad of sort ofs but not quites!

Spotfire was actually the last platform we evaluated and almost came across it by accident (Spotfire shouldn't be the best kept secret in BI and analytics!)). It looked great, easy server admin, quick spin up, common programming languages so we could start dicing up dashboards as if they were web pages instantly, amazing data engine and one of the best yet simplest to administer analytical data engines in T.E.R.R that we saw! It has some very obvious and easy to do quick wins that if implemented would make Spotfire the easiest decision for BI & A shoppers around! Everyday we are finding cooler things we can do and continually reaffirming that we chose the right platform for both clinical, corporate and research needs! it is subject matter agnostic and underpinning data warehouse extensible!
The more we explore the platform, the more scenarios we are finding we can use it for - from beautiful dynamic infographics through to complex statistical analyses. I would recommend it for almost any scenario where large data volumes, centralised governance, true analytics and beautiful look and feel is required! I do wish Spotfire would showcase these features in their demos - most of which are quite ugly! C'mon Spotfire... let the Spotfire butterfly shine just as bright as Tableau's pretty yet shallow interface!

Spotfire Feature Ratings

Pixel Perfect reports
Customizable dashboards
Report Formatting Templates
Drill-down analysis
Formatting capabilities
Integration with R or other statistical packages
Report sharing and collaboration
Publish to Web
Publish to PDF
Report Delivery Scheduling
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
Predictive Analytics
Multi-User Support (named login)
Role-Based Security Model
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
Responsive Design for Web Access
Mobile Application
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile