From real time to deal time
Business intelligence and analytics apps from Iteration and Spotfire empower all kinds of users to make smarter decisions
After analysts loads the data sets, they can start looking at and manipulating various kinds of graphs, plots and charts, check relationships of two or more fields with selections and filters, and see what changes the shape or significance of the results.
The analysis tools took some getting used to, and some controls didn’t work as we expected. But the online help, in combination with a couple of hours using the system, was more than adequate to get comfortable.
The client proved responsive in what-if exploration. Graphical and statistical displays update in a flash, even when the data selected is radically altered.
Once analysts complete the work of exploration, hypothesis, and confirmation, they use the Analysis Builder to create a guide, a wizard that domain experts can use to examine data and hypotheses without needing expertise in manipulating the browser.
Analysts build guides using a sophisticated macro builder, much like a tool for building a LotusScript routine or a FileMaker script. The analyst selects the Analysis Builder then runs the desired browser exploration sequentially, adding explanations or other documentation and directions within the script, as well as customizable names for each step.
Builders can make scripts that take input from a guide user, which makes exploration more interactive and allows downstream users to add value to the process. The scripting function allows a builder to put multiple steps under one title, so the process appears simpler to the guide user. This makes for clear directions and an nonintimidating interface that can share insights that the Analysis Builder user notices.
Building and executing complex guide scripts was fast and straightforward. Debugging and repairing the mistakes we made was surprisingly easy. The intrinsic tools for adding fields or doing operations on one or more fields are obvious.
After scripts are debugged, an analyst distributes and manages guides from the DecisionSite administrator tool.
Spotfire has designed the workflow so that analysis builders and guide users develop, test, and refine strategies for excellent collaboration. To ensure everyone is on the same page, Spotfire uses “posters,” Web presentations that capture the underlying data along with findings, an analysis session, and all the team’s communications and annotations.
Because posters are simply presentations that don’t require specialized knowledge of the system, analysts can use them to expand the decision-making team by bringing in expertise that wouldn’t otherwise be available to the team.
The system’s architecture includes a poster library to hold and organize these findings, which could inspire collaboration and empower teams with information.
Iteration can be extremely useful to IT groups trying to add value to the enterprise by monitoring business activities in real time. Real-time feedback consoles can aid in making more informed, quicker decisions.
For shops that want to put data to maximum use, DecisionSite is worth a close look.