Yesterday I attended a meetup event organized jointly by the OR society and Dell-Statistica discussing the use of predictive analytics to better patient care. The topic is very interesting and the discussions were very lively. But the big news for me was to discover that Dell have purchased Statsoft and are now promoting Statistica. I hope they do not repeat the mistakes IBM did (and is doing) when it took over SPSS. For starters Statistica is better than SPSS on several level. One of them being that, like sas, it has a strong data management capability of its own. Do to real stuff with SPSS you need to link it to some over expensive IBM product. Last time I looked you also got more bang for your buck compared to SPSS – i.e. more functionality. I am refraining from fully comparing it to sas as I believe that in Europe it is irrelevant due to the sas pricing model. Even if sas is better by far than any other solution, most organisations in Europe, and the far east to that matter, will struggle to compile a business case for the expenditure. If you can afford it, sas is still my first choice. However R and Statistica are close behind. I will be watching Dell to see how they position the software and analytics services crossing my fingers they manage to find a way to turn it into a cohesive offering (like sas) fast rather than the hodgepodge of mixed messages one gets from IBM.