Welcome to the new Spotfire blog and website. We’re so excited that Spotfire is now its own business unit within Cloud Software Group. While we’re still the same business intelligence software you love, focusing on advanced visual analytics, comprehensive data science, and real-time streaming, our future has never been brighter.
Ever wondered where Spotfire® got its start? Learn a little more about our humble beginnings and where we plan to go next.
From the classroom to the boardroom
In the early 1990s, Swedish computer scientist Christopher Ahlberg came to the United States to study at the University of Maryland Human Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) under the guidance of Ben Shneiderman. At the university, Ahlberg studied information visualizations, developing dynamic query sliders with multiple coordinated displays—which would later make up the basis of Spotfire. The goal of Spotfire software was to help business users work with large data sets quickly, without having to issue queries to a database manually. Fast, interactive visualizations are at the heart of Spotfire and have been since the beginning.
Ahlberg later went back to Sweden to work on his PhD in Dynamic Queries at Chalmers University. He continued to develop his visual data analysis software, naming it IVEE (Information Visualization and Exploration Environment), which was used in many different research and education projects.
Realizing the potential of the software, in 1996, Ahlberg and Shneiderman founded the company IVEE Development, later called Spotfire, to develop applications for dynamic queries. Headquartered in Göteborg, Sweden, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, the company grew to 200 people. During the early years of the company, Spotfire was mainly used by pharmaceutical companies. As it grew in popularity, and as business intelligence software became more mainstream, industries like manufacturing, energy, and financial services began to adopt the software for use cases like manufacturing control, oil and gas discovery, supply chain management, and financial analysis.
Then, in 2007, TIBCO Software bought Spotfire for a reported $190 million to increase its business intelligence and artificial intelligence offerings. From there, the potential of Spotfire skyrocketed, with Spotfire X launching in 2018. Spotfire X incorporated natural language query (NLQ) powered search, AI-driven recommendations, and model-based processing—truly making Spotfire a cutting-edge analytics tool for the modern enterprise.
Empowering self-service analytics today
Now Spotfire is getting a renewed investment in its capabilities and functionality. In 2022, Vista Equity Partners and Evergreen Coast Capital acquired Citrix Systems and combined it with TIBCO Software, forming Cloud Software Group. Earlier this year, Cloud Software Group split out Spotfire from TIBCO into its own business unit.
With a new headquarters in Göteborg, Sweden, Spotfire is returning to its roots while focusing on the future of business intelligence and analytics. Since 1991, the amount of data and the importance of self-service analytics has grown by leaps and bounds, but the goal of Spotfire has remained the same: to give users the ability to ask and answer questions about their data at the speed of thought.
The future of Spotfire is here
Want to learn more about the next direction for Spotfire? You can register to hear the latest on our BU from leadership at our recent TAF conference or check out our about us page to see where we’ve come from—and some more fun screenshots from our software in the early 90s!