Happy Shopping for your Data Visualization Lab!

Since we approaching (in USA that is) a Thanksgiving Day for 2013 and shopping is not a sin for few days, multiple blog visitors asked me what hardware advise I can share for their Data Science and Visualization Lab(s). First of all I wish you will get a good Turkey for Thanksgiving (below is what I got last year):


I cannot answer DV Lab questions individually – everybody has own needs, specifics and budget, but I can share my shopping thoughts about needs for Data Visualization Lab (DV Lab). I think DV Lab needs many different types of devices: smartphones, tablets, projector (at least 1), may be a couple of Large Touchscreen Monitors (or LED TVs connectable to PCs), multiple mobile workstations (depends on size of DV Lab team), at least one or two super-workstation/server(S) residing within DV Lab etc.

Smartphones and Tablets

I use Samsung Galaxy S4 as of now, but for DV Lab needs I will consider either Sony Xperia Z Ultra or Nokia 1520 with hope that Samsung Galaxy S5 will be released soon (and may be it will be the most appropriate for DV Lab):


My preference for Tablet will be upcoming Google Nexus 10 (2013 or 2014 edition – it is not clear, because Google is very secritive about it) and in certain cases Google Nexus 7 (2013 edition). Until Nexus 10 ( next generation) will be released, I guess that two leading choices will be ASUS Transformer Pad TF701T


and Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition (below is a relative comparison of the size of these 2 excellent tablets):


Projectors, Monitors and may be Cameras.

Next piece of hardware in my mind is a projector with support for full HD resolution and large screens. I think there are many good choices here, but my preference will be BENQ W1080ST for $920 (please advise if you have a better projector in mind in the same price range):


So far you cannot find too many Touchscreen Monitors for reasonable price, so may be these two 27″ touchscreen monitors (DELL P2714T for $620 or Acer T272HL bmidz for $560) are good choices for now:


I also think that a good digital camera can help to Data Visualization Lab and considering something like this (can be bought for $300): Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ72 with 60X optical zoom and ability to do a Motion Picture Recording as HD Video in 1,920 x 1,080 pixels – for myself:


Mobile and Stationary Workstations and Servers.

If you need to choose CPU, I suggest to start with Intel’s Processor Feature Filter here: http://ark.intel.com/search/advanced . In terms of mobile workstations you can get quad-core notebook (like Dell 4700 for $2400 or Dell Precison 4800 or HP ZBook 15 for $3500) with 32 GB RAM and decent configuration with multiple ports, see sample here:


If you are OK with 16GB of RAM for your workstation, you may prefer Dell M3800 with excellent touchscreen monitor (3200×1800 resolution) and only 2 kg of weight. For a stationary workstation (or rather server) good choices are Dell Precision T7600 or T7610 or HP Z820 workstation. Either of these workstations (it will cost you!) can support up to 256GB RAM, up to 16 or even 24 cores in case of HP Z820), multiple high-capacity hard disks and SSD, excellent Video Controllers and multiple monitors (4 or even 6!) Here is an example of backplane for HP Z820 workstation:


I wish to visitors of this blog a Happy Holidays and good luck with their DV Lab Shopping!

Data Vikings from Sweden, DV Motherland

In past Vikings discovered America, conquested or colonized parts of England, Russia, Ireland, Scotland, even Southern Italy and Iceland… But in 21st century (as far as this blog is concerned) Sweden became a Motherland of Data Visualization:

4SwedishDVVendorsLogosLet’s start with most famous Data Viking and most known Storyteller in Data Visualization field – prof. Hans Rosling from Karolinska Institutet and chairman of the Gapminder Foundation (in Stockholm). Gapminder’s team invented the popular and useful 6-dimensional Motion Chart and developed Trendalizer which was bought by Google in 2007, see it here: https://developers.google.com/chart/interactive/docs/gallery/motionchart . The recent example of Prof. Rosling Storytelling you can see  here:

In Stockholm you can find another Data Visualization Innovator – Panopticon is a leader in Complex Even Processing and real-time Visual Analytics. Among other innovation here is the example of Panopticon’s invention (by its senior developer Hannes Reijner) of Horizon Chart, see sample here:


and short video about it here:

In 2012 Panopticon posted 112% Year-Over-Year revenue growth (comparable with Tableau). In 2013 (the all stock deal closed by the end of September, 2013.) Datawatch bought Panopticon for $31.4M and I assume it will try to move some R&D from Sweden to Chelmsford, MA.

In  Göteborg/Gothenburg you can find R&D office of another DV Leader – Spotfire with 60+ Data Vikings. In 2007 TIBCO bought Spotfire for $195M but even now in 2013 unable to move R&D into USA. So now Spotfire actually has 3+ main offices: TIBCO Corporate Headquarters in California, Spotfire Headquarters in Somerville, MA (estimate is 15% of Spotfire workforce) and main R&D office in Sweden. In addition, lately TIBCO choose the strategy to buy rather then build new features, for example, just in 2013 they added to Spotfire portfolio the following new companies and as result they have even more distributed R&D team now:

  • Extended Results (PushBI) in Redmond, WA
  • MAPORAMA in Paris, France
  • StreamBase Systems, Inc. in Waltham, MA

As a result, despite the fact that Spotfire 6 is the most mature Data Visualization platform on market, people in TIBCO Corporate Headquarters running into risk of do not have enough knowledge of their own major Intellectual Properties.

In southern Sweden – Lund, we can find Swedish Headquarters of the major DV Leader – Qliktech, who occupied almost half of Data Visualization market in terms of sales. At least 140 Data Vikings located in Lund and may be another 200 elsewhere in Sweden. Qliktech’s Data Vikings are major innovators with features like the fastest in-memory Data Engine, most natural Visual Drill-down, Associative Query Language to name a few. This also presents a major problem for Qliktech, because they have Headquarter in Radnor, PA (where only 150+ employees work (estimate), which is less then 10% of Qliktech’s workforce!), Main marketing, sales and support office in Newton, MA (estimate: less then 5% of workforce) and most R&D in Lund (estimate: at least 10% of workforce).

This means that almost 500 technically advanced Data Visualization experts (engineers, developers, architects etc., which is at least 23% of total Qliktech+Spotfire workforce) are still in Sweden. The simple observation of Tableau’s TCC13 conference in September 2013 shows that Tableau’s top managers and officers know their product deeper and more intimately then their counterparts in Qliktech and Spotfire. That is very easy to explain: because 650+ Tableau’s employees (almost 65% of their workforce and most developers, managers and officers) work in the same Main HQ office in Seattle, WA and they obviously talking to each other in-person and often!

My humble advice to Qliktech, Spotfire and Datawatch is simple – gradually relocate as much Data Vikings from Sweden to appropriate headquarters in USA or find and hire local american equivalents of those Swedish geniuses…

As a background for this advice, please consider this information (updated on 11/17/13): statistics of job openings clearly showing that all 3 DV Leaders keep doing (by inertia) what they did in past with only difference that it worked recently for Tableau and does not work for Qliktech and Spotfire. Here are specific examples:

  • Tableau has 176 job openings (much more then Qlikview (only 80) and Spotfire(only 18) combined)!

  • 97 (55%) of Tableau openings are in Seattle, more then half of Tableau’s openings are engineering and technical positions!

  • Qliktech has 17 (21%) positions opened in Lund, only 10 (12%) in Radnor and 4 (5%) in Newton, MA. Only 11 (14%, 9 times less then at Tableau in absolute numbers) Qliktech’s openings are engineering and technical.

  • Spotfire has only 18 openings (1 in Göteborg, 5 in CA, 4 in MA) and only 4 Spotfire’s positions (out of 18, 22% that is) are engineering or technical.

This statistics clearly showing that neither Qliktech no TIBCO see the wrong pattern and huge problem here and that can be a reason for disruption in the future and the gradual  relocation of Data Vikings is only way to prevent the danger… And of course, if you can afford, find and hire equal talents in USA Headquarters then by all means keep geniuses in Sweden without relocation which is a half-similar to what Tableau does (HALF is because Tableau historically does not need to maintain the significant R&D office outside of USA)!

Data Visualization Landscape changed: October 2013

Something dramatic happened during October 2013 with Data Visualization (DV) Market and I feel it everywhere. Share Prices for QLIK went down 40% from $35 to $25, for DATA went down 20% from $72 to below $60, for MSTR went up 27% from $100 to $127 and for DWCH went up  25% from $27.7 to $34.5. This blog got 30% more visitors then usual and it reached 26000 visitors per month of October 2013!

dwchPlus3DVPricesOctober2013So in this blog post I revisited who are actually the DV leaders and active players in Data Visualization field, what events and factors important here and I also will form the DVIndex containing 4-6 DV Leaders and will use it for future estimate of Marketshare and Mindshare in DV market.

In terms of candidates for DV Index I need measurable players, so I will prefer public companies, but will mention private corporations if they are relevant. I did some modeling and it turned out that the best indicator for DV Leader if its YoY (Year-over-Year Revenue growth) is larger than 10% – it will separate obsolete and traditional BI vendors and me-too attempts from real DV Leaders.

Let’s start with traditional BI behemoths: SAP, IBM, Oracle and SAS: according to IDC, their BI revenue total $5810M, but none of those vendors had YoY (2012-over-2011) more then 6.7% ! These 4 BI Vendors literally desperate to get in to Data Visualization market (for example SAP Lumira, IBM is getting desperate too with Project Neo (will be in beta in early 2014), Rapidly Adaptive Visualization Engine (RAVE), SmartCloud Analytics-Predictive Insights, BLU Acceleration, InfoSphere Data Explorer or SAS Visual Analytics) but so far they were not competitive with 3 known DV Leaders (those 3 are part of DVIndex for sure) Qlikview, Tableau and Spotfire

5th traditional BI Vendor – Microsoft had BI revenue in 2012 as $1044M, YoY 16% and added lately a lot of relevant features to its Data Visualization toolbox: Power Pivot 2013, Power View, Power Query, Power Map, SSAS 2012 (and soon SQL Server 2014) etc. Unfortunately Microsoft does not have Data Visualization Product but pushing everything toward Office 365, SharePoint and Excel 2013, which cannot compete in DV market…

6th Traditional BI vendor – Microstrategy made during October 2013 a desperate attempt to get into DV market by releasing 2 free Data Visualization products: Microstrategy Desktop and Microstrategy Express, which are forcing me to qualify Microstrategy for a status of DV Candidate, which I will include (at least temporary) into DVIndex.  Microstrategy BI revenue for TTM (Trailing 12 months) was $574, YoY is below 5% so while I can include it into DVIndex, I cannot say (yet?) that Microstrategy is DV Leader.

Datawatch Corporation is public (DWCH), recently bought advanced Data Visualization vendor – Panopticon for $31M. Panopticon TTM Revenue approximately $7M and YoY was phenomenal 112%  in 2012! Combining it with $27.5M TTM Revenue of Datawatch (45% YoY!) giving us approximately 55% YoY for combined company and qualifying DWCH as a new member of DVIndex!

Other potential candidates for DVIndex can be Panorama (and their Necto 3.0 Product), Visokio (they have very competitive DV Product, called Omniscope 2.8), Advizor Solution with their mature Advizor Visual Discovery 6.0 Platform), but unfortunately all 3 companies choose to be private and I have now way to measure their performance and so they will stay as DV Candidates only.

In order to monitor the progress of open source BI vendors toward DV Market, I also decided to include into DVIndex one potential DV Candidate (not a leader for sure) – Actuate with their BIRT product. Actuate TTM revenue about $138M and YoY about 3%. Here is the tabular MarketShare result with 6 members of DVIndex:


Please keep in mind that I have no way to get exact numbers for Spotfire, but I feel comfortable to estimate Spotfire approximately as 20% of TIBCO numbers. Indirect confirmation of my estimate came from … TIBCO’s CEO and I quote: “In fact, Tibco’s Spotfire visualization product alone boasts higher sales than all of Tableau.” As a result I estimate Spotfire’s YoY is 16% which is higher then 11% TIBCO has. Numbers in table above are fluid and reflect the market situation by the end of October 2013. Also see my attempt to visualize the Market Share of 6 companies above in simple Bubble Chart (click on it to Enlarge; where * X-axis: Vendor’s Revenue for last TTM: 12 trailing Months, * Y-axis: Number of Full-Time Employees, working for given Vendor, * Sized by Market Capitalization, in $B (Billions of Dollars), and * Colored by Year-Over-Year revenue Growth):


For that date I also have an estimate of Mindshare of all 6 members of DVIndex by using the mentioning of those 6 companies by LinkedIn members, LinkedIn groups, posted on LinkedIn job openings and companies with Linkedin profile:


Again, please see below my attempt to represent Mindshare of those 6 companies above with simple Bubble Chart ((click on it to Enlarge; here 6 DV vendors, positioned relatively to their MINDSHARE on LinkedIn and where * X-axis: Number of LinkedIn members, mentioned Vendor in LinkedIn profile, * Y-axis: Number of LinkedIn Job Postings, with request of Vendor-related skills, * Sized by number of companies mentioned them on LinkedIn and * Colored by Year-Over-Year revenue Growth):


Among other potential DV candidates I can mention some recent me-too attempts like Yellowfin, NeitrinoBI, Domo, BIME, RoamBI, Zoomdata and multiple similar companies (mostly private startups) and hardly commercial but very interesting toolkits like D3. None of them have impact on DV Market yet.

Now, let’s review some of October events (may add more October events later):

1. For the fourth quarter, Qliktech predicts earnings of 28 cents to 31 cents a share on revenue between $156 million and $161 million. The forecast came in significantly lower than analysts’ expectations of 45 cents a share on $165.78 million in revenue. For the full year, the company projects revenue between $465 million and $470 million, and earnings between 23 and 26 cents a share. Analysts had expectations of 38 cents a share on $478.45 million. As far as I concern it is not a big deal, but traders/speculants on Wall Street drove QLIK prices down almost 40%

2. Tableau Software Files Registration Statement for Proposed Secondary Offering. Also Tableau’s Revenue in the three months ended in September rose to $61 million, 10 millions more then expected – Revenue jumped 90%! Tableau CEO Christian Chabot said the results were boosted by one customer that increased its contract with the company. “Our third quarter results were bolstered by a large multimillion-dollar deal with a leading technology company,” he said. “Use of our products in this account started within one business unit and over the last two years have expanded to over 15 groups across the company. “Recently, this customer set our to establish an enterprise standard for self-service business intelligence, which led to the multimillion-dollar transaction. This deal demonstrates the power and value of Tableau to the enterprise.” However DATA prices went down anyway in anticipation of a significant portion of these Shares Premium prices should quickly evaporate as the STOCK Options lock-up will expire in November 2013.

3. TIBCO TUCON 2013 conference somehow did not help TIBCO stock but in my mind brought attention to Datawatch and to the meteoric rise of DWCH stock (on Chart below compare it with QLIK and TIBX prices, which basically did not change during period of March-October of 2013) which is more then tripled in a matter of just 8 months (Datawatch bought and integrated Panopticon during exactly that period):

DWCHvsQLIKvsTIBXMar_Oct20134. Datawatch now has potentially better software stack then 3 DV Leaders, because of Datawatch Desktop is integrated with Panopticon Desktop Designer and Datawatch Server is integrated with Panopticon Data Visualization Server; it means that in addition to “traditional” BI + ETL + Big Data 3V features (Volume, Velocity, Variety) Datawatch has 4th V feature, which is relevant to DV Market: the advanced Data Visualization. Most visualization tools are unable to cope with the “Three V’s of Big Data” – volume, velocity and variety. However, Datawatch’s technology handles:

  • Data sources of any size (it has to be tested and compared with Qlikview, Spotfire and Tableau)

  • Data that is changing in real time (Spotfire has similar, but Qlikview and Tableau do not have it yet)

  • Data stored in multiple types of systems and formats

We have to wait and see how it will play out but competition from Datawatch will make Data Visualization market more interesting in 2014… I feel now I need to review Datawatch products in my next blog post…