Rapidly growing use of advanced analytics by spreadsheet-savvy business analysts, both desktop and cloud, is a ‘stealth trend’ that many industry observers have missed.
INCLINE VILLAGE, NEVADA (PRWEB) January 26, 2016
Frontline Systems, developer of the Solver in desktop Microsoft Excel, has released XLMiner.com, a SaaS (software as a service) platform for data mining, text mining, forecasting, and predictive analytics using only a browser. XLMiner for the Web offers business analysts point-and-click tools to create predictive analytics models themselves, without being expert data scientists or programmers.
Simultaneously, Frontline Systems is announcing that over 100,000 users have adopted its advanced analytics add-ins for Excel Online and Google Sheets, according to data from Microsoft and Google. The add-ins include Solver for linear and nonlinear optimization; Risk Solver for Monte Carlo simulation and risk analysis; XLMiner Analysis ToolPak for linear and logistic regression; and XLMiner Data Visualization for Excel Online.
“Rapidly growing use of advanced analytics by spreadsheet-savvy business analysts, both desktop and cloud, is a ‘stealth trend’ that many industry observers have missed,” said Daniel Fylstra, Frontline’s President and CEO. “Other vendors are talking about ‘democratizing analytics’ through easier to use tools, but Frontline has been delivering on this vision for years.”
Solver and XLMiner Move from Desktop to Cloud
Frontline’s Solver and XLMiner brand names have long histories, related to Microsoft Excel – but today they represent advanced prescriptive and predictive analytics tools, offered in desktop and cloud versions for spreadsheet users, application users, and developers.
Frontline’s Solver for desktop Excel, first introduced with Excel 3.0 in 1990, has been included in over 1.2 billion copies of Microsoft Office and Excel; but today, Frontline’s advanced Solvers work in desktop and cloud spreadsheets, desktop and cloud versions of its RASON modeling language, and desktop and cloud Solver SDK tools for developers. XLMiner, originally an Excel add-in created by Cytel Software and marketed by Statistics.com, was acquired by Frontline in 2011, rewritten from the ground up to use Web UI technologies and state-of-the-art analytics algorithms, and is now available for use on the Web with spreadsheets, or independently without them.
Point-and-Click Access to Apache Spark Big Data
The new XLMiner SaaS application offers point-and-click access to data in uploaded spreadsheets, CSV or text files, Azure SQL databases, and Apache Spark Big Data clusters – including Frontline’s own Spark cluster running 24x7 on Amazon Web Services, which has been in use by Frontline’s academic customers since June 2015. An earlier case study shows how XLMiner users can build predictive models from Big Data that match the accuracy of a similar HortonWorks case study using a public FAA airline dataset, but without any of the complexity of Hadoop, Pig, Python and other developer tools.
Most Widely Used Analytics Tools in MBA Education
For years, XLMiner has been the most popular way to introduce predictive analytics, and Frontline’s Solvers have been the most popular way to introduce prescriptive analytics in MBA and undergraduate business courses. Both are featured in a number of leading business analytics textbooks, by authors such as Cliff Ragsdale at Virginia Tech, Stephen Powell and Kenneth Baker at Dartmouth, Jeffrey Camm, Michael Fry and James Evans at the University of Cincinnati, James Cochran at the University of Alabama, Jeffrey Ohlmann at the University of Iowa, and many others. In the last seven years, more than 500,000 students have learned analytics using Frontline’s software tools. XLMiner for the Web significantly expands access to data mining, text mining, forecasting, and predictive analytics tools, for students (and commercial users) with MacBooks, iPad tablets, and similar devices.
Analytics Power from Frontline’s RASON Server
While XLMiner emphasizes ease of use, especially for first-time users of predictive analytics, on its higher-level subscription plans it can handle large datasets and very challenging problems – for example finding “best subsets” of many variables via exhaustive search in multiple linear regression. It performs operations such as clustering, principal components analysis, text analysis and latent semantic indexing, and training of ensembles of neural networks or classification and regression trees on Frontline’s RASON Server – a cloud analytics platform on Microsoft Azure that also handles challenging optimization and simulation models for Frontline’s customers. Other developers can use the RASON Server in their own applications, through its public REST API – free developer accounts are available at https://rason.com.
Frontline Systems Inc. (http://www.solver.com) is the leader in analytics for spreadsheets and the web, helping managers gain insights and make better decisions for an uncertain future. Its products integrate forecasting and data mining for “predictive analytics,” Monte Carlo simulation and risk analysis, and conventional and stochastic optimization for “prescriptive analytics.” Founded in 1987, Frontline is based in Incline Village, Nevada (775-831-0300).
Excel® is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. iPad® is a registered trademark of Apple Computer Inc. Analytic Solver®, Premium Solver®, Risk Solver®, Solver SDK®, XLMiner® and RASON® are registered trademarks of Frontline Systems, Inc.