When it comes to dealing with Big Data, software architecture matters, said Lou Jordano, director of product marketing for Spotfire, Tibco Software, which this morning rolled out Tibco Spotfire 4.5, the latest version of its in-memory analytics platform.
Though there is no commonly-embraced definition for Big Data, Jordano said it can be described as data too big to fit into relational databases. One of the key features of the release is a new application data service (ADS) connector to Apache Hadoop, which allows organizations to combine Big Data with data from their enterprise applications, including popular apps from Salesforce.com, Oracle and SAP.
Big Data Difference
While a growing number of analytics software providers offer connections to Hadoop, Jordano said many use an approach that does not involve a "live" connection to the data framework but instead extracts information from Hadoop and transfers it to a proprietary data store, limiting what Jordano called "the freedom of exploration." In contrast, he said, Tibco's "hybrid" Data On Demand architecture combines an in-memory approach with an in-database type of approach, making it easier for users to dynamically explore data.
"A lot of people have connectors to Hadoop, but nobody else has Data On Demand," Jordano said. "We can pull tremendous amounts of data in memory and give people the ability to dynamically explore it. As needed, they can then swap out data on the fly for further ad hoc exploration."
So, for example, Jordano said a retail marketing manager might analyze online behavior for a company's top purchasers and then swap it out to examine the behaviors of customers who browse but don't buy.
Integrated Approach to Big Data
In addition, Jordano said, Tibco Spotfire has earned platinum-level certification with Attivio’s Active Intelligence Engine (AIE). Spotfire is the only business intelligence and analytics provider to earn this certification, which allows organizations to access and leverage AIE’s AI-SQL capabilities to provide data visualization, enhanced analytics of unstructured content and Google-like search and discovery capabilities, all in the same dashboard.
Illustrating the benefits of this integration of Tibco's visualization-based approach to discovery with Attivio’s search-based approach, Jordano said a customer service representative speaking to a disgruntled customer can enter a query into a Google-style search box and easily see not just information drawn from structured data sources, such as the customer's transaction history, but also unstructured information such as emails from the customer and reviews the customer posted on social media.
This kind of approach is crucial in an age when customers interact with companies across multiple channels and expect a consistent experience in all of them, Jordano said. "Customer expectations and behaviors have changed, and companies are trying to harness all of these different touchpoints with their customers," he said. "If you're stuck only with historic data, you're going to be left behind."
Another "significant differentiator" in Tibco Spotfire 4.5, Jordano said, is the addition of pre-packaged predictive methods that allow organizations using software-based analytics models from SAS or MathWorks MATLAB to access them within the Spotfire interface so it becomes easier to disseminate those models to larger numbers of users.
In a nod to the growing popularity of mobile business intelligence, Tibco Spotfire 4.5 includes a deployment kit for the iPad, so enterprises and third parties can customize and brand their Spotfire mobile applications for distribution via iTunes. With these capabilities, organizations can create applications based on distinct sets of end users, while providing organizations control on the back end.
TIibco Spotfire 4.5, which will be available this month, can be used with other Tibco software, including BusinessEvents, tibbr and ActiveSpace. For more information, register for a May 31 webcast.
Ann All is the editor of Enterprise Apps Today.