SEP 2, 2010 10:24am ET

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Not All In-Memory Analytics Tools are Created Equal

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Comments (5)
1. First of all I will caution against the abuse of the term "Business Intelligence", because it misused by large companies like SAP, SAS, IBM, Oracle with obsolete software who are buying opinions of market researchers, trade magazines and other decision influencers. Intelligence is the attribute of the human mind and has nothing to do with software. Correct terms are Data Visualization, Data Analytics and Visual Analytics. For example Qlikview is the leader in Data Visualization and Spotfire is the leader in Visual Analytics. As Boris will say that battle has been fought and lost. BI is a standard market acceptable term. 2. Comparison of Qlikview and Spotfire vs. PowerPivot little bit unfair and it is not your fault, it is rather a huge strategic mistake by Microsoft. Microsoft currently do not have a "product" (like they had it before in form of acquired ProClarity or short-lived PerformancePoint Server). Instead Microsoft decided to give people the reason to upgrade to Office 2010 and promoted a shiny dream (or idea) of self-service BI (see above, because BI is just a marketing term and Intelligence is not an attribute of any software in existence, despite propagandists from AI, BI and other "XI" areas), which is "BI-stack" based on multiple tools (like Excel 2010 and SQL Server Analysis Services) and components (some of them are brilliant like PowerPivot and some of them just a virus like SharePoint). In order for users to get something based on Microsoft "BI-stack", comparable with Qlikview-based or Spotfire-based applications they need an expert consultant(s). And again. most clients still want to compare these three tools above. 3. Some factors and/or features you mentioned are very important and some you did not mention probably because they will probably be mentioned later (I hope, see below p.5) in your more complete comparison of "in-memory analytics tools" and Data Visualization Tools. I agreed with your list of 3 super-leaders in this area: Qlikview, Spotfire and PowerPivot, but for completeness (because their real function is to be a "Data Visualizers", I suggest to add in the future 2 more tools: Tableau Software and Visokio's Omniscope. I also glad that you do not include vendors who are 1-2 generation behind: SAP, SAS, IBM, Oracle, Microstrategy and I can add to this list a dozen more of mis-leaders. I assumed Tableau and others working on some in-memory technology to stay competitive. And Visokio probably too small for Boris to track. 4. I want to comment on at least 10 factors you are planning to use for comparison: - memory optimization [Qlikview is the leader in in-memory columnar database technology]; - load time [I tested all 3 products and PowerPivot is the fastest]; - memory swapping [Spotfire is only who can use a disk as a virtual memory, while Qlikview limited by RAM only]; - incremental updates [Qlikview probably best in this area]; - thin clients [I tested all 3 and Spotfire has the the best thin client, especially with their recent release of Spotfire 3.2 and Spotfire Silver]; - thick clients [I tested all 3 and Qlikview has the best THICK client] , - access by 3rd party tools [PowerPivot's integration with Excel 2010, SQL Server 2008 R2 Analysis Services and SharePoint 2010 is a big attraction]; - interface with SSAS cubes [PowerPivot has it, Tableau has it, Omniscope will have it very soon, Qlikview and Spotfire do not have it], - GUI [3-way tie, it is heavily depends on personal preferences, but Qlikview is more easy to use than others]; - advanced analytics [Spotfire 3.2 is the leader here with its integration with S-PLUS and support for IronPython and other add-ons] 5. I suggest to add some other factors to comparison, for example the productivity of developers involved with tools mentioned above. In my experience Qlikview is much more productive tool in this regard.

This comment is Cross-posted from http://blogs.forrester.com/boris_evelson/10-09-01-not_all_in_memory_analytics_tools_are_created_equal#comment-6897

Posted by Andrew P | Thursday, September 02 2010 at 5:23PM ET
Not sure I would put PowerPivot in this same group, but ADVIZOR Solutions should be. Strong in-memory capability developed in and then spun out of Bell Labs. Data Visualization that's better than the other two, and embedded Predictive Analytics from KXEN. The ADVIZOR in-memory model is a flexible dynamic linking capability that is targeted at facilitating discovery and ad hoc query across a pool of tables. The associations can be on any relevant field, and across one-one, one-many, and many-many relationship. The model also permits cross table copying of fields, as well as table rollup to create aggregated, average, min, max metrics. The model is highly optimized for quick load, fast response, and small memory footprint. Can run on either client or web delivery.
Posted by Doug C | Friday, September 03 2010 at 1:27PM ET
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