Please share with the community what you think needs improvement with IBM SPSS Statistics.
What are its weaknesses? What would you like to see changed in a future version?
From an improvement standpoint, I could compare to PyCharm and see how many other things you can automate things. In PyCharm you use Python and have a lot of packages. SPSS is missing out on some of the packages. In upcoming releases, the solution could be more automated. It should have automation of the packages such as being used in R software and Python packages. They use a tremendous amount of packages. If SPSS can follow that suit, I think it would be very beneficial for SPSS.
I'd like to see them use more artificial intelligence. It should be smart enough to do predictions and everything based on what you input. Right now, that mostly depends on the know-how of the user. But if it had some AI, maybe it could guess what you're looking for based on what you're clicking. So it might make a suggestion like, "I think you're looking for this because you've been hovering on this, this and that" For example, say you're clicking on a bunch of data related to enrollment, it might ask if you'd like to see enrollment projections. Or you're looking at diversity and want to break it down by race, religion, gender, and age so you can look for patterns. It should be smart enough.
The solution could improve by providing a visual network for predictions and a self-organizing map for clustering.
The technical support should be improved.
If there is any self-generation data collection plan (DCP), it would be helpful in gathering data. It would also be useful if there is a function to scale it up to, let's say, UiPath and have it consolidate and integrate into a UiPath solution.
I like SPSS too much to want to make changes to the product in a major way. There are some minor things. The one thing I can think of that will be useful in a broader sense is that it may be nice to be able to add color to some of the data in sheets or reports. Sometimes it is easier for you to visualize results if you can use color inside the datasheets. The original concern or intent of products like this is to analyze data, not to manipulate the data. But there are times when you need to manipulate data. This is something that would help more in data entry because there should be ways to fix errors in manual entry, et cetera. Addition of some data manipulation capabilities may be good for some things, but often you would do that outside of SPSS as it is not the purpose of the tool. SPSS Statistics will be more efficient if it starts to use additional automation. The advantage of automation in SPSS automation is obvious and exemplified in regards to the modeler, the non-parametrics, and the linear regression. But if they can add more automation in other areas, I think it will be more powerful. For example, the data science can have additional automation, for serious data science or something like EMA (Ecological Momentary Assessments). This would be a very interesting addition to SPSS Statistics. They can also add some automation with regression itself. Like logistic regression and alternate regression. Some people do not know the difference between binary, logistic, and the multinomial logistic analysis. It is an advantage in the SPSS Modeler. It is automatic. It can detect what type of modeling to choose. If a part of the variable is binary, it will use binary logistics. If it is appropriate it will use multiple logistic regression. It can detect this and do it automatically. So, if SPSS Statistics starts to use some additional automation, it will be a step between the statistics and more serious data science. Those powers would be remarkable. Data science currently is the future in my estimation. More of the world of business and finance and other areas are starting to think about the applications of data science. And data science needs some data engineering, which is possible to realize through automation. This is especially true in some things like data tracing. If they take those steps to add some automation to the SPSS Statistics, it will push more people to understand the importance of analytics and advanced data science. But if it can achieve automation, I believe that SPSS Statistics has to do more within the application and the company to stress the importance of learning statistics before learning SPSS itself. If SPSS can add in its development or integration some short notes about how to use statistics, that would help users. It is not enough to be able to push buttons to get an analysis. This would give you a result that you will not understnd. SPSS could include an advantage of statistical analysis that goes beyond just the analysis itself. For instance, if you pick to do a logistic regression, you would find a short note about what logistical evaluation is and then how to use it within SPSS. It should not be integrated with the menu itself. It should be inside the statistical analysis area. Most of the people using the SPSS Statistic know which modeling they should use. But it is not always the case. It could be more of a learning tool as well as a productive one. A few years ago, SPSS made something that could be useful. It is called the Statistical Coach. It asks you some questions, and based on your answer, the coach guides you as to what to use. It was a good statistical coach. But if they can summarize the most important tests, I believe it is not too hard to make something that would be very useful inside the application and modeler itself. If you have the experience with data science, you will know how to do what you want to do using different tools — even competing products with SPSS. I can understand if somebody has to ask me how to do two-way ANOVA in SPSS, for example, as it is not an obvious thing. I will guide him through that if they needed to do it. SPSS can clarify how to do things in their application especially analysis that is common usage. In a way, the tool itself could provide more training for the people using it.
I understand that we're talking about IBM SPSS Statistics, it's a mathematical tool. Fine. Everybody knows that. It is a statistical tool. Having said that, if they could make it a little bit graphical then people who work on IBM SPSS need not depend on other software, like SAP Lumira or something like that, for the regeneration and graphical image of the entire data. That graphical GUI content should be encapsulated in the SPSS package. That's what I mean. I know that SPSS is a statistical tool but it should also include a little bit of analytical behavior. You can call it augmented analysis or predictive analysis. The bottom line is it should have more graphical and analytical capabilities. There are so many formulas which you can encapsulate in this IBM statistical tool. I don't have all the formulas off the top of my head right now, but for any statistical tool for that matter, regardless of the company, it should encapsulate these to the maximum. All the statistical tools and formulae which are taught. I expect that SPSS encapsulates all those formulas, it has a good amount of descriptors, chi-square distribution, ANOVA, etc... you have all the things, but if anything, any theory or formula is missing, I would suggest to SPSS to include that also and market it accordingly so that they can be a front runner in this market, in this segment.
The solution needs to make it easier to upgrade the software. Right now it's quite difficult. I always have to get a third party involved to upgrade the solution. This is one of the main reasons why I tend not to upgrade it very often and may not be using the most current version of the service. It would be helpful if there was better documentation on how to properly use the solution. A beginner's guide on how to use the various programming functions within the product would be so useful to a lot of people. I found that everything was very confusing at first. Having clear documentation would help alleviate that. The solution needs to focus on better functionality for correspondence analysis.
The data preparation skills need improvement. When I compare the solution with other tools or competitors, this solution needs to simplify data preparation. The solution needs more planning tools and capabilities.
I think the duration and time-series need improvement. Some things need more explanation. For instance, if you are using the automated part in SPSS, you have automatic linear modeling. It gives you the meaning of the result, explaining if it is significant. But most of the package will give you the fixed value, or the p-value, without an explanation as to whether it significant or not. Some beginners might need not just the results, but also an explanation for them. This already exists in two parts of the SPSS. One for the automatic linear modeling, and the second for nonparametric. The automation, the automatic part, gives you not only the results and the output but also what this output means. For me as a professional, I can explain the results even if it's not included in the output. But if they were to include some explanation for the results, such as is it significantly based on the P-value, that would make SPSS great. Additionally, there is something else that really needs improvement - the part related to multivariate analysis. The chi-squared for instance. Some packages can give you the chi-squared directly, but in the multivariate part of SPSS, it's not as clear as it should be. So working with the multivariate could be improved or expanded. This last semester I was teaching multivariate to postgraduate students and it was not as clear as it should be. In conclusion, regarding improvements for the package, I can say that multivariate needs improving. Lastly, some results need to be presented in a more diverse way. For instance, if you are working in biostatistics then sensitivity, specificity, and relative risk need to also be included. Some people don't use SPSS because they need some medical calculations and they think that SPSS cannot calculate it. But if you are working with the older, survival analysis, you can add this part to the medical field. Actually, it is really easy to include it and calculate it for it. As I told you, you can add a medical field part for the study design, such as screening tests, sensitivity, specificity and so on.
The licensing model is not popular and should be changed to SaaS. This solution is not suitable for use with Big Data.
In terms of what can be improved, currently, I don't have any ideas because I think that it's in very good shape. It compares with its peers. I do think that the design of the experience can be improved. Also, I think that it can improve its ability to import or export the results from other software.
The areas of SPSS Statics that have room for improvement — where it can be simplified to make it better — have to do with how you connect the SPSS solution with the data. They could provide enhancements like a query console so we can connect to the database and feed data more easily into SPSS. That could be really beneficial and save time and effort. Just enhancing the tools to collect the data would be significant. One other enhancement I would like to see is the ability to create higher-level presentations. When you are finished processing the data, you come up with the result. If you are a technician or a data analyst it is not so hard to look at the data. But what I think would be a nice addition is to create presentations. The bosses at a higher level do not want to see the raw data and to show the data is not so nice and easy for them to understand. Some ways to do more to create a presentation — something that is easier to look at and understand — would be good. The ability to do this should be improved. They need to improve the ability to connect to the databases, provide a query console and query windows. The engine for processing is there already, but the data feed has to be better. Then provide ways to present the result differently. Maybe graphic presentation options would be good so understanding the results can be more intuitive for the user.
One of the areas that should be similar to Minitabs is the use of blogs. The Minitabs blog helps users understand the tools and gives lots of practical examples. Following the SPSS manual is cumbersome. It's a good, exhaustive manual, but it's not practical to use. With Minitabs, you can go to the blogs and find specific articles written about various components and it's very helpful. Without blogs, we find SPSS more complicated.
Each algorithm could be more adaptable to some industry-specific areas, or, in some cases, adapted for maintenance.
I don't know if this solution is available on the cloud. If it is then we should be using it because it would be even better. The on-premises version is lax in terms of computational capability, so we have to use a more powerful computer. Some new tools will be available soon with self-explanatory statistical results, and they have multi-language generations that create automatic reports with detailed explanations of the statistical reports. I wish that they were more advanced. Some areas that need improvement or should be more advanced are in the reporting. The statistics should be more self-explanatory with detailed automated reports. You should be able to walk through with the statistical schematics because some of the matters are advanced, and if you don't have a full understanding or you don't remember how to get the desired results then there should be a guide or a walkthrough to help and explain how it should be applied. In the next release, they should have some new statistical approaches that can be applied, some new memory detection, and new clustering techniques. Also, some new statistical methods to increase the different model's explainability would be helpful.
There are some scheduling issues that created some complex flows. Creating a simple scheduling mechanism would be an improvement for this tool. Technical support needs some improvement, as they do not respond as quickly as we would like. The price is too expensive so they should consider reducing the cost, make it more competitive.
I believe the product could be improved. I think there is an issue with the charting and visualization, and I don't think it works as well as the competitive product. There is a lot of competition with other software, and I think the visualization and charting should be changed and made easier and more effective. They should also try to include better concepts for big data. I don't know if this can be matched or integrated with the flexibility of Python, because now Python is free. When I try to use another software such as JMP software, JMP makes managing, manipulating and changing the perspectives or the analysis points easier. When you compare or make any statistical search for two variables or more, one by one, X and Y and so on, you refer the variables to the original situation and change it. In JMP, you can just drag and drop and switch columns, rows to columns, and vice versa. It's really easy to use. I think the product license is expensive for some people who would be interested in using it, but there is a cheaper version for searches. I think reducing the cost or making a cheaper version for companies should not be a problem. In terms of additional features, I think some enhancement on the panel or the main menu would be helpful. Another thing I would hope to be able to do would be to facilitate the results for the user in one main window. There is a window for data and another window for output. I think maybe there could be an enhancement to make SPSS easier to manage and easier to move between data.
What do you like most about IBM SPSS Statistics?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with the community!