by Bob Muenchen
I previously reported on the initial results of Rexer Analytics’ 2015 survey of data science tools here. More results are now available, and the comprehensive report should be released soon. One of the more interesting questions on the survey was, “Please rate your overall satisfaction with [your previously chosen software].” Most of the measures I report in my regularly-updated article, The Popularity of Data Analysis Software are raw measures of usage, so it’s nice to have data that goes beyond usage and into satisfaction. The results are show in the figure below for the more popular software (other software had very small sample sizes and so are not shown).People reported being somewhat satisfied with their chosen tool, which doesn’t come a much of a surprise. If they weren’t at least somewhat satisfied, they would be likely to move on to another tool. What really differentiated the tools was the percent of people who reported being extremely satisfied. The free and open source KNIME program came out #1 with 69% of its users being extremely satisfied. (KNIME is also the 2nd fastest growing data science package among scholarly researchers). IBM SPSS Modeler came in second with 60%, followed closely by R with 57%.
Both of the top two packages use the workflow user interface which has many advantages that I’ve written about here and here. However, RapidMiner and SAS Enterprise Miner also use the workflow interface, and their percent of extremely satisfied customers were less than half at 32% and 29%, respectively. We might wonder if people are more satisfied with KNIME because they’re using the free desktop version, but RapidMiner also has a free version, so cost isn’t a factor on that comparison.
Although both R and SAS have menu-based interfaces, they are predominantly programming languages. R has almost triple the number of extremely satisfied users, which may be the result of its being generally viewed as the more powerful language, albeit somewhat harder to learn. The fact that R is free while SAS is not may also be a factor in that difference.
I’ve been learning KNIME and its interface to R, which looks like a stripped down version of RStudio. You can see a video demonstration by Heiko Hofer here. If you’re planning on attending the UseR! 2016 conference at Stanford University this year, stop by my poster session Helping Non-programmers Use R through the use of KNIME.