My take on IBM’s new SPSS Analytic Catalyst

IBM has just released a new SPSS brand product. I have numerous friends in the SPSS community, and I have been a frequent beta tester, but I didn't know in advance about this release. It does resemble something that I saw demonstrated at last year's IOD. What to make of this product? It is web based, and looks pretty slick: Analytic Catalyst. There is also a video on YouTube. I like the visuals, and I agree that it looks easy to use. I'm anxious to try it, and might recommend it in certain client situations.

Never forgetting that the lion's share of a Data Mining project's labor is spent on Data Prep, and since I've never been on a project that didn't need Data Prep, I think that a tool like this is most useful after a successful Data Mining project is complete. For instance, I worked like crazy on a recent churn project, but after the project the marketing manager had to explore high churn segments to come up with intervention strategies. This could be used for that purpose. Or perhaps 'repurposed' for that since the video seems to indicate that it would be used in the early stages of a project.

My reaction, not a concern exactly, is the premise. It seems to assume that the problem is business users tapping directly into Big Data to explore it, searching for 'insight'. I don't think most organizations need more insight. I think they need more deployed solutions – solutions that have been validated that are inserted into the day to day running of the business. My two cents.