SPSS Review Current Analysis

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SPSS Review Current Analysis Overview SPSS 14.0 is an enterprise-class offering that reflects the company’s evolution from the desktop to the department and, finally, to the enterprise. SPSS has always been recognized as one of the premier desktop statistical software vendors, but it has sometimes been mis-positioned as being little more than a desktop or departmental tools vendor. With SPSS 14.0, however, SPSS has integrated its products into a single platform with a common set of services (e.g., security administration; a repository supported by most relational databases with model management capabilities, including advanced search, versioning, and test-versus-production status; scheduling and notification; etc.), while exposing its APIs to facilitate its openness and to serve the evolving needs of the enterprise. By integrating its products and sharing a common set of services with other SPSS products (e.g., Clementine), SPSS 14.0 should improve business processes at the operational level and thus the overall analytical effectiveness of the enterprise. Strengths     * SPSS is actively carving out and helping to define a market niche with its emphasis on predictive analytics and the need to use analysis to drive actions. The May 2005 release of PredictiveClaims for fighting insurance fraud reinforces its predictive analytics message. Also, the LexiQuest acquisition expanded SPSS’ predictive analytics capabilities to include unstructured text data mining capabilities.     * SPSS launched several products or enhancements that strengthen its core value proposition in data mining. In January 2006, the vendor released v. 10.0 of its Clementine data mining workbench, providing such productivity enhancements as anomaly detection, feature selection, and export to Excel; such performance enhancements as in-database caching, database write-back with indexing, and improved support for parallel processing; and tightened integration models with SPSS Dimensions and SPSS Predictive Enterprise Services. Also, in June 2005, SPSS announced ShowCase Suite 7.0, which included major enhancements to its Essbase, Analyzer, and Enterprise Reporting components.     * SPSS has partnerships with a number of major data warehouse vendors, including Hewlett-Packard, Hyperion, IBM, Microsoft, Sun, Sybase, and Teradata (a division of NCR), and with such BI vendors as MicroStrategy (announced in March 2006). In February 2005, SPSS formed a strategic alliance with RTI International, an independent research company with over 2,500 employees to offer data collection and predictive analytics to the public sector.     * SPSS continued to tighten its integration with Microsoft SQL Server 2005. In June of 2005 SPSS announced SPSS Statistical Services for Microsoft SQL 2005, which would integrate SPSS’ predictive analytics software with Microsoft SQL Server 2005.     * Current Analysis failed to mention SPSS’s integration with ODM, which provided a highly scalable, embedded data mining engine for Clementine, the SPSS front end. Weaknesses     * SPSS has many alliance partners that incorporate its products within their own software applications. As the company expands its footprint into analytic applications, as it did, for example, with the DataDistilleries acquisition and its set of “Predictiveâ€� offerings, it must carefully navigate this new co-operation environment.     * As SPSS continues to target the enterprise market, it will face increased competition from industry giants, such as SAS and Oracle, which consider this to be their market. SAS, in particular, is showing a new level of aggressiveness. However, SPSS has been cognizant of the importance of building its indirect sales channels to help it better leverage its software, and it is aggressively pursuing this channel.     * The initial releases of SPSS Server 14.0 are on Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003 platforms, although Sun Solaris, IBM AIX, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux support is expected to follow shortly thereafter.
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