Clementine 8.1 melds BA with BI foundation
Data mining platform uses workflow diagrams, graphical interfaces to streamline analysisFollow @infoworld
The tabbed organization of streams, outputs, and trained models also makes it very convenient to reuse them in other projects or export them to C code or to PMML (Predictive Model Markup Language), an XML-based language for defining and sharing predictive models between compliant vendors’ applications.
Clementine’s work structure is supported, albeit unevenly, by real-time error messages. When laying down nodes on the work area, the client won’t allow you to connect things that can’t be connected logically as a sequence and creates an error message to alert you.
On the other hand, some of the error messages you get at run time in the thorough event log entries will alert you that there was a failure, but not specify it closely enough to remind you of what you did incorrectly. For that, you have to go to Clementine’s documentation, a beautifully executed manual and deep, linked, on-line help with a search function and indexing.
For all its elegance, I’m relieved SPSS hasn’t claimed in its marketing or positioning documents that this software can be an equally powerful tool for non-dedicated staff. It won’t be: The documentation is comprehensive and factual but doesn’t presume to teach more than the minimum about the craft and statistical tests and models of this platform. The ideal user for this software is still the staffer whose job is dedicated to analytics and statistics.
No small commitment
On the BA side, SPSS made it easier to trigger iterative efforts by providing more visual muscle to models with graphical cross-tabs and better visualization of cluster graphics. A data audit node and reclassification capabilities support quicker data retuning, which in turn supports more exhaustive, iterative engagement with the analysis. A new utility, Cleo, also deploys models to the Web for viewing and interaction.
The breadth of the Clementine platform offering makes it a big commitment. The product’s solid integration with external data sources and its $75,000 entry price make it most appropriate for dedicated analysis groups that will make use of and master the full platform.
Clementine is a mature platform, but is expanding its capabilities and moving more surely into newer techniques such as BA. Its user base is drawing third-party products — such as Kxen’s Analytic Framework— that add even more tools to the kit. Clementine’s connections to enterprise data sources and development tools make it a leading platform for supporting smart decisions in an economy that offers no additional margin for hiring or slack.
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