So which software is the best analytical software? Sigh- It depends

 

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Here is the software matrix that I am trying to develop for analytical software- It should help as a tentative guide for software purchases- it’s independent so unbiased (hopefully)- and it will try and bring as much range or sensitivity as possible. The list (rather than matrix) is of the format-

Type 0f analysis-

  • Data Visualization (Reporting with Pivot Ability to aggregate, disaggregate)
  • Reporting without Pivot Ability
  • Regression -Logistic Regression for Propensity or Risk Models
  • Regression- Linear for Pricing Models
  • Hypothesis Testing
  • A/B Scenario Testing
  • Decision Trees (CART, CHAID)
  • Time Series Forecasting
  • Association Analysis
  • Factor Analysis
  • Survey (Questionnaires)
  • Clustering
  • Segmentation
  • Data Manipulation

Dataset Size-

  • small dataset (upto X mb)
  • big dataset (upto Y gb)
  • enterprise class production BigData datasets (no limit)

Pricing of Software that can be used-

Ease of using Software

  • GUI vs Non GUI
  • Software that require not much extensive training
  • Software that require extensive training

Installation, Customization, Maintainability (or Support) for Software

  • Installation Dependencies- Size- Hardware (costs and  efficiencies)
  • Customization provided for specific use
  • Support Channels (including approximate Turn Around Time)

Software

  • Software I have used personally
  • SAS (Base, Stat,Enterprise,Connect,ETS) WPS KXEN SPSS (Base,Trends),Revolution R,R,Rapid Miner,Knime,JMP,SQL SERVER,Rattle, R Commander,Deducer
  • Software I know by reputation- SAS Enterprise Miner etc etc

Are there any other parameters for judging software?  let me know at http://twitter.com/decisionstats

Making NeW R

Tal G in his excellent blog piece talks of “Why R Developers  should not be paid” http://www.r-statistics.com/2010/09/open-source-and-money-why-r-developers-shouldnt-be-paid/

His argument of love is not very original though it was first made by these four guys

I am going to argue that “some” R developers should be paid, while the main focus should be volunteers code. These R developers should be paid as per usage of their packages.

Let me expand.

Imagine the following conversation between Ross Ihaka, Norman Nie and Peter Dalgaard.

Norman- Hey Guys, Can you give me some code- I got this new startup.

Ross Ihaka and Peter Dalgaard- Sure dude. Here is 100,000 lines of code, 2000 packages and 2 decades of effort.

Norman- Thanks guys.

Ross Ihaka- Hey, What you gonna do with this code.

Norman- I will better it. Sell it. Finally beat Jim Goodnight and his **** Proc GLM and **** Proc Reg.

Ross- Okay, but what will you give us? Will you give us some code back of what you improve?

Norman – Uh, let me explain this open core …

Peter D- Well how about some royalty?

Norman- Sure, we will throw parties at all conferences, snacks you know at user groups.

Ross – Hmm. That does not sound fair. (walks away in a huff muttering)-He takes our code, sells it and wont share the code

Peter D- Doesnt sound fair. I am back to reading Hamlet, the great Dane, and writing the next edition of my book. I am glad I wrote a book- Ross didnt even write that.

Norman-Uh Oh. (picks his phone)- Hey David Smith, We need to write some blog articles pronto – these open source guys ,man…

———–I think that sums what has been going on in the dynamics of R recently. If Ross Ihaka and R Gentleman had adopted an open core strategy- meaning you can create packages to R but not share the original where would we all be?

At this point if he is reading this, David Smith , long suffering veteran of open source  flameouts is rolling his eyes while Tal G is wondering if he will publish this on R Bloggers and if so when or something.

Lets bring in another R veteran-  Hadley Wickham who wrote a book on R and also created ggplot. Thats the best quality, most often used graphics package.

In terms of economic utilty to end user- the ggplot package may be as useful if not more as the foreach package developed by Revolution Computing/Analytics.

Now http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/foreach/index.html says that foreach is licensed under http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0

However lets come to open core licensing ( read it here http://alampitt.typepad.com/lampitt_or_leave_it/2008/08/open-core-licen.html ) which is where the debate is- Revolution takes code- enhances it (in my opinion) substantially with new formats XDF for better efficieny, web services API, and soon coming next year a GUI (thanks in advance , Dr Nie and guys)

and sells this advanced R code to businesses happy to pay ( they are currently paying much more to DR Goodnight and HIS guys)

Why would any sane customer buy it from Revolution- if he could download exactly the same thing from http://r-project.org

Hence the business need for Revolution Analytics to have an enhanced R- as they are using a product based software model not software as a service model.

If Revolution gives away source code of these new enhanced codes to R core team- how will R core team protect the above mentioned intelectual property- given they have 2 decades experience of giving away free code , and back and forth on just code.

Now Revolution also has a marketing budget- and thats how they sponsor some R Core events, conferences, after conference snacks.

How would people decide if they are being too generous or too stingy in their contribution (compared to the formidable generosity of SAS Institute to its employees, stakeholders and even third party analysts).

Would it not be better- IF Revolution can shift that aspect of relationship to its Research and Development budget than it’s marketing budget- come with some sort of incentive for “SOME” developers – even researchers need grants and assistantships, scholarships, make a transparent royalty formula say 17.5 % of the NEW R sales goes to R PACKAGE Developers pool, which in turn examines usage rate of packages and need/merit before allocation- that would require Revolution to evolve from a startup to a more sophisticated corporate and R Core can use this the same way as John M Chambers software award/scholarship

Dont pay all developers- it would be an insult to many of them – say Prof Harrell creator of HMisc to accept – but can Revolution expand its dev base (and prospect for future employees) by even sponsoring some R Scholarships.

And I am sure that if Revolution opens up some more code to the community- they would the rest of the world and it’s help useful. If it cant trust people like R Gentleman with some source code – well he is a board member.

——————————————————————————————–

Now to sum up some technical discussions on NeW R

1)  An accepted way of benchmarking efficiencies.

2) Code review and incorporation of efficiencies.

3) Multi threading- Multi core usage are trends to be incorporated.

4) GUIs like R Commander E Plugins for other packages, and Rattle for Data Mining to have focussed (or Deducer). This may involve hiring User Interface Designers (like from Apple 😉  who will work for love AND money ( Even the Beatles charge royalty for that song)

5) More support to cloud computing initiatives like Biocep and Elastic R – or Amazon AMI for using cloud computers- note efficiency arguements dont matter if you just use a Chrome Browser and pay 2 cents a hour for an Amazon Instance. Probably R core needs more direct involvement of Google (Cloud OS makers) and Amazon as well as even Salesforce.com (for creating Force.com Apps). Note even more corporates here need to be involved as cloud computing doesnot have any free and open source infrastructure (YET)

_______________________________________________________

Debates will come and go. This is an interesting intellectual debate and someday the liitle guys will win the Revolution-

From Hugh M of Gaping Void-

http://www.gapingvoid.com/Moveable_Type/archives/cat_microsoft_blue_monster_series.html

HOW DOES A SOFTWARE COMPANY MAKE MONEY, IF ALL

SOFTWARE IS FREE?

“If something goes wrong with Microsoft, I can phone Microsoft up and have it fixed. With Open Source, I have to rely on the community.”

And the community, as much as we may love it, is unpredictable. It might care about your problem and want to fix it, then again, it may not. Anyone who has ever witnessed something online go “viral”, good or bad, will know what I’m talking about.

and especially-

http://gapingvoid.com/2007/04/16/how-well-does-open-source-currently-meet-the-needs-of-shareholders-and-ceos/

Source-http://gapingvoidgallery.com/

Kind of sums up why the open core licensing is all about.

Aster Data hires Quentin Gallivan as CEO

AsterData formally marked phase 2 of it’s rapid growth story by getting as new CEO Quentin Gallivan (of Postini before it was sold to Google and also Pivotlink).

Founders (and Stanfordians) Mayan Bawa stays as Chief Customer Officer and Tasso Argyros as CTO. It has a very deja vu feel -like Eric Schmidt coming in CEO of Google in the glory days past.  Indeed the investment team in Google and AsterData is quite similar and so are the backgrounds of the founders.

AsterData of course creates the leading MapReduce (also created by Google) solution for providing BI infrastructure for big data and has been rapidly been expanding into new frontiers for Big Data.

Aster Data Appoints New Chief Executive Officer

Quentin Gallivan Joins Aster Data as CEO to Lead Company to Next Level of Growth

San Carlos, CA – September 9, 2010– Aster Data, a proven leader dedicated to providing the best data management and data processing platform for big data management and analytics, today announced the appointment of Quentin Gallivan as President and CEO. Gallivan brings more than 20 years of senior executive experience to the leading analytics and database company. With Aster Data achieving tremendous growth in the past year, Gallivan will take Aster Data to the next level, further accelerating its market leadership, sales, channel partnerships and international expansion.  Founding CEO Mayank Bawa, who grew the company from its inception based on the founders’ research at Stanford University, and whose passion for helping customers uniquely unlock the value of their data, will take on the role of Chief Customer Officer.  Bawa, in his new role, will lead the Company’s organization devoted to ensuring the success, longevity and innovation of its fast-growing customer base. Together, Gallivan and Bawa, along with co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Tasso Argyros, will deliver on the the Company’s mission to help customers discover more value from their data, achieve deep insights through rich analytics and do more with their massive data volumes than has ever been possible.

Gallivan joins Aster Data with over 20 years of leadership experience in the high-tech industry and has held a variety of CEO and senior executive positions with leading technology companies. Before joining Aster Data, Gallivan served as CEO at PivotLink, the leading provider of business intelligence (BI) solutions delivered via Software as a Service (SaaS), where he rapidly grew the company to over 15,000 business users, from mid-sized companies to Fortune 1000 companies, across key industries including financial services, retail, CPG manufacturing and high technology. Prior to Pivotlink, Gallivan served as CEO of Postini where he scaled the company to 35,000 customers and over 10 million users until its eventual acquisition by Google in 2007.  Gallivan also served as executive vice president of worldwide sales and services at VeriSign where he was instrumental in growing the business from $20 million to $1.2 billion and was responsible for the design and execution of the global distribution strategy for the company’s security and services business. Gallivan also held a number of key executive and leadership positions at Netscape Communications and GE Information Services.

“We are delighted to have someone of Quentin’s caliber, who is a veteran of both emerging and established technology companies, lead Aster Data through our next stage of growth,” said Mayank Bawa, Chief Customer Officer and co-founder, Aster Data. “His significant experience around growing organizations and driving operational excellence will be invaluable as he takes Aster Data forward. I’m excited to shift my focus to customers and their success; to bring our innovations to our customers worldwide to help them unlock deep value from their growing data volumes.”

“I am very excited to be joining Aster Data and taking on the challenge of augmenting its already impressive level of growth and success.  Aster Data is very well respected and established in the marketplace, has an enviable solution for big data management that uniquely addresses both big data storage and data processing, an impressive client list and a very talented team,” said Quentin Gallivan, President and CEO, Aster Data. “My task will be to leverage these assets, help shape a new market and provide operational guidance and strategic direction to drive even greater value for shareholders, customers and employees alike.”