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Spotfire mines biotech space

[MAY 14, 2002] - Spotfire Inc. recently announced that biotech company Microbia Inc. has chosen Spotfire DecisionSite for Lead Discovery software. This follows word that prescription medicine developer Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. is deploying DecisionSite for industrial chemical and biopharmaceutical product research and development.

These moves cap other design wins that seem to uniquely position Somerville, Mass.-based Spotfire as a potential data analytics powerhouse.

The company is hardly a "start-up," having been formed in 1996 by Christopher Ahlberg, now CEO. He formed Spotfire after pursuing academic research in information visualization, data querying and human/computer interaction.

The company now estimates that more than 16,000 users work with Spotfire products. Clearly, its success to date has been primarily in the biotechnology industry, which is gaining greater attention from mainstream software vendors. "We rely on in-memory data caches that get set up as rows and columns," said David Butler, vice president of product strategy and marketing at Spotfire.

"We don't store any of the data; we set it up in the client and take advantage of the PC for interactivity." The firm is glad for its success in the cutting-edge biotech space, but sees further applications in broader fields, added Butler, who served at Netscape, Next Software Inc. and Cadre Technologies Inc. before coming to Spotfire. Butler sees Spotfire favorably positioned vs. OLAP, data mining and related vendors that largely come out of the database world. "We are a provider of analytic applications based on business processes," he said. This could place Spotfire in the forefront of a large trend that sees analytics becoming a more integral part of overall business strategy.

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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