TIBCO Spotfire is a data visualization tool that offers an expansive feature set geared towards engineering clients interested in working with geospatial data and analytics that would be too advanced for other big data visualization tools, such as Tableau, to handle. Unlike newcomer Power BI by Microsoft, Spotfire has been a leader in the interactive visualization space for years.
Spotfire ships with a number of data connectors so that data can be ingested from the typical sources (e.g., SQL Server, Excel) as well as many more niche data stores. The data is loaded into Spotfire’s data server and stored in memory so that even large amount of data can be rendered to the screen with impressive alacrity.
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The speed with which data can be visualized on the screen and Spotfire’s ability to sort, group, and filter quickly in response to user input means that interactive visualizations can be created even when they represent massive amounts of data. Prior generations of reporting tools allowed for little interactivity, so consuming the reports was like reading a book, with communication only going one way. This new wave of tools, including Spotfire, is more like a conversation with the author. Questions can be posed and answered immediately without a lengthy process of revision and repackaging.