Tibco has launched Spotfire 7, the latest version of its enterprise analytics and data visualisation platform, offering features designed to bypass the need for data scientists in everyday analytics.
Spotfire 7 offers upgrades that enable faster exploration of data through a simplified interface, and the ability to customise analytics dashboards (pictured below) for specific uses and audiences.
The platform also features a new Recommendations tool, which uses an intelligent wizard to guide users to the most suitable graphs for visualising the data being analysed.
Steve Farr, industry analytics director at Tibco, told V3 that people inexperienced with analytics can often end up with data being displayed in a difficult to digest fashion, hiding the insights it could deliver.
He explained how the Recommendations feature was born out of a desire to help business analysts avoid this problem without needing an experienced data scientist to assist them.
"We have a bunch of very bright people working for us and they usually work on solving very hard problems for individual customers. But what we asked them to do was to codify how you select the right chart for the right given dataset," he said.
"And that's essentially what they've done within Recommendations. When you come into [Spotfire 7] you load your data, you then select a category or two, you select a timeline or two, you select some sort of measurement, and the Recommendations engine has already parsed your data.
"It will start to show you what individual representations will look like given your particular dataset. That can be a great head start in creating your [analytics] dashboard."
Farr went on to explain that Spotfire 7 offers features to simplify the process of data exploration by improving searching within large datasets before the data is visualised.
He said part of this includes the ability to group data with minor errors such as spelling mistakes, rather than forcing users to spend time and resources on cleaning data.
While Farr did not go into specifics, he did hint that Tibco will be looking at making future versions of Spotfire friendlier for those lacking the skills for advanced data analysis.
"With data analysis there has always been the persistent problem of everyone in a white collar job is being asked to do it these days, but they don't have the tools to do it," he said.
"So Recommendations is the first step behind helping everybody be confident in their analysis."
V3 asked Farr if Tibco's goal of making data analytics accessible to everyone will erode the positon of highly skilled data scientists, who are currently in high demand but in short supply.
Farr said that simplifying day-to-day analytics will actually benefit data scientists who will be able to direct their skills at more challenging tasks.
"[Data scientists] need to be freed up to answer the really hard problems and come up with suitable models rather than support the everyday running of the business," he said.
Tibco is not the only company looking at opening up analytics for everyday business use. IBM recently offered its cloud-powered Watson Analytics service to anyone wanting to carry out powerful data analysis.
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