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Analytics Made Easier
Monitor Software enhances its on-demand analytics tool; an industry analyst says the products provide a perfect complement to existing on-premise solutions.
Posted Mar 10, 2006
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Monitor Software, the software division of management consultancy Monitor Group, will announce on Monday, March 13, the availability of version 5.0 of MarketSight, its data analysis product. The product's enhancements and new features are all intended to keep MarketSight as user-friendly as possible, according to Michael DeNitto, vice president of business development. MarketSight's Web-based interface takes advantage of color coding and dashboards to allow end users not as familiar with data analysis to "slice and dice" the data, extract data summaries, and then export that data into other BI solutions, such as SAS or SPSS.

"This tool helps users gain deeper insight into their own data in a shorter timeframe, leading to reduced research costs, more informed decisions, and improved competitive advantage for the business," says Fern Halper, a partner with industry analyst firm Hurwitz and Associates. Halper adds that the user friendliness of MarketSight enables the marketing department to crunch its own numbers, which "frees up the statisticians for the more sophisticated analysis."

Three enhancements constitute the bulk of the improvements made to MarketSight 5.0. The first is the addition of banner reports. These reports provide users with an overview of the analysis in a PDF document, complete with a table of contents and color highlighting to indicate statistically significant results. The second is the introduction of Append Data Wizard, which makes merging new data sets into existing ones automatic, preventing users from having to backtrack and integrate the data themselves. Finally, version 5.0 features an expanded set of statistical tests that uses survey data to select and run the test that will provide the most feedback.

DeNitto sees MarketSight not as a front-end solution that sits on top of an SPSS or SAS Institute platform, but adjacent to it, enabling end users to take advantage of both. Even though the majority of MarketSight's customers are enterprise-level financial services and healthcare companies, the ease of use combined with the on-demand delivery model also means Monitor Software continues to see greater demand from the SMB segment. "Approximately 31 percent of MarketSight's customers are SMBs. The unique thing about MarketSight is that it appeals to both the SMB market and large organizations," DeNitto says.

"Certainly companies like SPSS and SAS are trying to make their products more user-friendly," Halper says. "But I think the jury is out in terms of complex analysis whether business users, such as marketers, can use the tools effectively or not. For straightforward, slice and dice analysis, a tool like MarketSight makes sense."

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