Tableau vs Spotfire Verdict – Tableau has made data visualisation and analytics available to a large audience, but the product is not an enterprise BI solution and can run out of steam for sophisticated needs. It is best seen as a complement to a more complete BI solution, and will satisfy the needs of business users who need to get to information quickly. Spotfire from TIBCO suffers from a sort of schizophrenia – Spotfire 7 is very easy to use and rises to the challenge set by Tableau. But Spotfire is also part of a very broad analytics and enterprise integration product suite, and so there is really no limit to what can be achieved. Tableau is a good point solution for business users who want to get to their data, Spotfire will also do this, and much more besides.
Tableau has very successfully captured a pent-up need for easy data visualisation. It majors on the ability to be up and running very quickly, and the ease with which the platform can be navigated. It is not an enterprise BI solution, and the fact that many suppliers are integrating Tableau into their products demonstrates very well that it is an add-on. Tableau comes in a desktop version (most popular), a server edition and online – this latter proving to be very popular. The basic capability includes dashboards which can access a large number of data sources including databases, cloud data sources and big data. There has been criticism of Tableau performance on large data sets, but the company has made some improvements in this area recently.
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Spotfire met the Tableau ease-of-use challenge in version 7. It recommends appropriate visualisations and navigating data sources is much easier. And so Spotfire supports the creation of dashboards, data exploration and reporting, but if users want to perform advanced analytics Spotfire provides an engine specifically for this (predictive analytics and statistical analysis particularly). And then the story broadens to complex event processing, data and process integration – and most of the things a large organisation might need to do. So take as little or as much as you need. TIBCO has been around for quite a while and is expert in the real infrastructure issues which analytics presents. This is not a fancy wrapping with no content.
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