Nuts and Bolts of the Analytics “Bike”

Wrenches on nuts and bolts

In a previous blog, we covered how great visuals amplify human understanding. TIBCO has been innovating to bring out the best of what is possible with data exploration and data visualization. Smart visual analytics, inline data wrangling, analytics apps at scale, and streaming analytics form the framework within which we cover some of the latest innovations.

Smart visual analytics—first to insight and first to action.

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The notion for smart visual analytics is that it should allow you to be the first to find insights and the first to take action. TIBCO Spotfire was built for exactly this purpose—to ask and to answer questions quickly. There is a two-pronged approach that we take in order to address this: make meaningful visualizations available in Spotfire and recommend visualizations depending on data and built-in heuristics and smarts. In Spotfire 7.6, we introduce a new chart type, KPI Charts, and also brought in the waterfall chart. KPI (Key Performance Indicator) charts display information in a new mobile and touch-friendly manner where the layout is responsive to the device screen size. The other new visualization, the waterfall chart, is particularly useful for presenting how various categories contribute to a final result.Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 10.20.31 AM 

We have been focused in not only providing new data visualizations, but also how a user can leverage them in the easiest way. When users starts working with the data, recommended visualizations button gives a pre-built gallery of visualizations that they can select from and put on the Spotfire analysis page. This selection of charts is actually using best practices and heuristics, taking into account the attributes of the selected data; it is very much like an “Easy” button for the users. These visualizations can be used not only for data exploration, but also for building guided applications to drive meaningful actions.

In-line data wrangling—immerse yourself in data to see what’s important.
It is a well-known fact that people spend no less than 50% of their time wrestling with the data and munging the data before actual analysis. Spotfire is well-known for its data transformation capabilities but more recently, we have been working on bringing the data preparation and data wrangling capabilities closer to the analytics process itself. The reason for this is our belief that no matter how hard you try, the data preparation will never be perfect. You will always have to iterate and will have to go back and forth between data wrangling and data visualization. We have brought in many features in Spotfire that give the users ability to see information about the data and easily make adjustments. Many data cleansing tasks can now be done from within the Spotfire data panel itself. We have also introduced, for the first time, a data table source view in Spotfire Cloud. Data table sources and operations can now be easily viewed in a schema. This makes it possible to see detailed information about operations and preview results after intermediate steps.Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 10.20.42 AM

Analytics apps at scale—build and broadcast smart analytics.Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 10.20.49 AM Another strength of Spotfire is the analytic apps built to scale. Customers build and use analytic apps with advanced forecasting and statistical methods built in. Users don’t need a degree in statistics to use statistical and advanced models built into an analytic app. Using the app should be as simple as moving sliders and picking the right ranges. An example of this would be a consumer goods company trying to optimize the business through marketing, sales, and supply chain management. TIBCO Chief Analytics Officer, Michael O’Connell, demonstrated this use case at TIBCO NOW. Built-in geoanalytics and built-in R engine power the Spotfire analytic app, and in-line predictive and prescriptive analytics are all available.

Collaboration is a key aspect because modern analytics is not limited to one person. It has to empower the whole organization and should encourage discussion and participation by everyone. With the new storytelling and threaded conversation features, Spotfire takes analytics collaboration to the next level. To try out the latest version of Spotfire, click here.