Comparison of Minitab and STATISTICA
In some books and training courses about Six Sigma references are made to some more traditional (statistical) software packages (like Minitab) that can be used for Six Sigma. We doubt whether these packages can be used in the long run. The worldwide market for single-user (not-networked) solutions is shrinking because as data analysis/mining and Quality Control (QC) applications become more recognized as necessary components of the corporate "nervous systems," corporations want to standardize to make data analysis software available to as many members (from marketing, product development, manufacturing, quality control, logistics, accounting departments, etc.) of their organizations as possible (and to lower the cost "per user").
While the overall spending for that type of software is increasing, companies decrease their budgets for software purchased by individual users within their organizations. Needless to say, the shrinking market for single-user applications is not due to a slowing general demand for data analysis/mining and QC applications. Paradoxically, it is caused by an increased importance of those applications in the contemporary business and manufacturing world. Specifically, the growing reliance of corporations on data analysis/mining and QC applications has changed their role in their organizations and their general status: from "specialized software for relatively 'exotic' applications" to a mainstream component of the corporate "nervous system" that generates productivity gains and thus impacts the bottom line.
- Do you need a simple and affordable tool that covers most needs of lean six sigma? Get QI Macros and additional tools like Engage modeler. Why not Minitab? QI macros is more dedicated, easy and cheap and comes with over 90+ fill in the blank templates such as the Ishikawa diagram, QFD, DOE, FMEA, EMEA, Gage R&R and AIAG PPAP templates as available in QI Macros.
- Do you need more advanced tools for advanced (statistical) analysis knowledge discovery, group and pattern recognition, data mining for use in an environment where system integration and groupware (and "collaborative business intelligence") capabilities of that software are relevant? Get STATISTICA. STATISTICA provides all necessary statistical tools! Unlike the standard statistical packages, which are designed for users with at least some elementary data analysis experience, the products of StatSoft can be used by a very wide audience of computer users, and virtually anyone who needs to "review numerical reports" as part of their job. Why not Minitab: read further below.
Some clear, qualitative advantages of STATISTICA over Minitab
Unlike the standard statistical packages, which are designed for users with at least some elementary data analysis experience, the new analytical systems can be used by a very wide audience of computer users, and virtually anyone who needs to "review numerical reports" as part of their job using all in- and external data from their company.
Where Minitab is mainly an "academic" stand alone package, STATISTICA is specifically designed to address the data collection and analysis needs at each stage of the Six Sigma project. Hence, it serves as the basic analytic foundation for Six Sigma programs and implementations at companies of any size.
The comprehensiveness of analytical Six Sigma tools available: STATISTICA offers more of the relevant tools than any other commercially available application), which include also such designated Six Sigma tools as the "Six Sigma Calculator," "Six Sigma - style integrated reports with multiple graphics displays", Microsoft integration, and more...
- Specifically related to Six Sigma tools, STATISTICA includes a special Six Sigma Toolbar, which presents Six Sigma methodologies, packaged under the headings of DMAIC, for convenient access when using these methods. Additionally, the Six Sigma Toolbar in STATISTICA 7.0 includes a Six Sigma calculator. These product developments, as well as recently developed Six Sigma course offerings, clearly illustrates StatSoft's commitment to the Six Sigma "movement." It is interesting to note, "Six Sigma" does not even appear in the Minitab On-line help(!). The enterprise version of StatSoft products also offers on-line/real-time connection of output to data, and real-time connections from databases to STATISTICA files,: especially relevant in the "C" part of DMAIC, is controlling the processes, which involves real-time monitoring of the production processes.
- The graphical capabilities in STATISTICA are simply in a whole different category than those of Minitab, in almost every respect: selection, flexibility, presentation quality appearance, integration with analyses, breadth of features/functionality, interactive nature of graphs, compatibility with other applications, object model support, etc., etc. There is no comparison.
- The breadth of statistical analyses is also in a completely different category, in several respects: the complete selection of general analysis tools and methods goes far beyond what Minitab offers; within almost all such analysis tools, the specific options offered and flexibility associated with each analysis type again go far beyond what Minitab offers; the selection of output offered by STATISTICA; the integration of graphs to help users to investigate and understand the statistical conclusions; support for the object model, to allow users to record even complex, sophisticated series of analyses; again, there is no comparison.
- Reporting tools and presentation of output: STATISTICA comes with a Reporter tool, which is an OLE container—tables and graphs can be automatically (or manually) directed to the STATISTICA Reporter and Microsoft Word etc., to develop presentation quality reports, completely within STATISTICA. STATISTICA tables and graphs are OLE Objects, so that even after the output has been placed into a report, this output may still be edited, as if it had just been created, from inside of the Reporter. Tables and graphs can not even be collected into a single editor inside of Minitab, let alone presented in a professional way or later modified.
Now, for just a taste of some of the substantial, specific advantages offered by STATISTICA over Minitab:
- Process Capability Analysis: STATISTICA offers Capability Analysis based upon any of 9 different distributions, as well as a "Fit All Distributions" option, to provide a goodness-of-fit test for each of these distributions against the data set, to help the user to understand which distribution might be most appropriate (not to mention Histograms, Quantile Plots, and Probability Plots for graphically evaluating these same fits).
- Graphs: Overall selection of graph types for exploring relationships between variables of interest
- Graphs: Presentation quality appearance, for summarizing statistical conclusions in a professional way
- Graphs: Interactive nature of fitting relationships between variables and/or fitting various distribution curves to Histograms of data, to identify the best fit
- Graphs: Integration of graphical output with all statistical analyses within STATISTICA, for summarizing results and investigating validity of assumptions and concerns associated with analyses
- Graphs: Interactive Brushing for learning about individual data points in plots, and their influence in determining regression models (2D and 3D, and in Categorized Plots)
- Graphs: User control over all aspects of graphs; double-click/right-click to modify any part of a graph
- Histograms: Easy to generate histogram, with any of several different fit types, and to toggle between these fit types, to quickly identify best fit graphically; only two such fits in Minitab, and only in the context of Process Capability Analysis
- Scatter plots: Easy to generate scatter plot with best fit of any of several types, and to toggle between these types, to identify best fit graphically; only a few simple fits in Minitab
- Categorized Graphs: Can generate separate scatter plots, histograms, surface plots, etc., for different levels of grouping variables; each with separate fits
- Regression Analysis: Much more complete set of Residual Analyses (statistics and graphs), for all types of regression (linear, nonlinear; continuous or categorical predictors; etc.); for example, Cook's Distance can be used to summarize the influence of a given observation on the determination of the Regression Coefficients; a plot of Residuals vs. Deleted Residuals can also help to spot individual observations with "too much" influence on the models—yet again, no comparison with respect to the breadth of analysis tools offered.
This list could include tens and maybe hundreds of similar, specific points. If there are specific areas of interest, in which we can provide you with additional, more specific information, we will be glad to do so. These products are, quite simply, in different leagues. Also, for that matter, StatSoft "Enterprise Products" are available for STATISTICA users that need to go to the next level of knowledge-sharing, data base integration, automated reporting, real-time updated charts and analyses, etc.
The next generation of analytical software (such as STATISTICA) should offer a multiple-approach-combination of data analysis/mining applications integrated with connectivity technology. The software must be extremely user-friendly and at the same powerful enough allowing users who are not statisticians to harness the power of advanced analytic techniques. The "academic" stand-alone packages used by many "technicians" (for example Minitab in the Six Sigma world) cannot cope with the demands as we are facing now (listed alphabetic but incomplete):
- A high performance database
- Advanced analytic components to clean/verify data and to integrate automated data mining, artificial intelligence, and real-time process monitoring Advanced security model and authentication of users Alarm notification Automatic report distribution
- Backup and archiving options Built on robust, well tested, highly scalable, cutting-edge technology to leverage your investment (including highly optimized in-place database processing (IDP) technology, and true multithreading, distributed/parallel processing and support for pooling CPU resources of multiple servers to deliver supercomputer-like performance)
- Built-in security system Complete data warehousing application tailored to your business Complete document management options to optimize management of documents of any types and satisfy regulatory requirements (e.g., FDA CFR 21 Part 11, ISO 9000) Completely Web-enabled system architecture to provide ultimate enterprise functionality for all company locations around the world (e.g., access via Web browsers from any location) Comprehensive Auditing Trails, Approvals Comprehensive OLAP functionality for online data exploration and reporting Document Comparison Tools Easy-to use administration tools
- Electronic Signatures Extremely transparent and easy to use Facilities to integrate data from a wide variety of sources Flexible, customizable (optionally Browser/Web-enabled) user interface Groupware functionality for sharing queries, special applications, etc.
- Integration with existing data warehouses
- Integration with external applications (Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, browsers)
- Interactive, intuitive querying and filtering tools
- One-click access to analyses and reports
- Open Architecture and Compatibility with Industry Standards
- Open-ended alarm notification including cause/action prompts
- Optimized Searches Options to automatically run and post on Knowledge Portals (or broadcast) highly customized reports, including interactive (i.e., drillable, sliceable, and user-customizable) reports and results of advanced analytics Options to update/synchronize data from multiple sources via automatic schedulers or on demand Platform independent architecture for seamless integration with your existing infrastructure Pricing should be acceptable for small and medium sized companies too (the expanding market). Programmable, customizable, and expandable to adapt to specific mission profiles (open architecture, exposed to extensions using the most industry standard languages, such as VB, C++, Java, PMML, HTML, Component Object Model (COM), Open Document Management API (ODMA), Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV).)
- Real-time analytical tools
- Satisfy ISO 9000 (9001, 14001) Documentation Requirements Satisfy the FDA CFR 21 Part 11 Requirements Security Simplistic operator interface for data entry and charting
- The software should be off-the-shelf to avoid expensive customization and consultancy. Uniform, integrated interface for all techniques. No mix-up from several third-party software applications (with different command syntax, etc.). Unlimited options for expansion and customization
- Virtually unlimited scalability (from desktop or network Client-Server versions, to the ultimate size, Web-based worldwide systems) Web-enabled user interface and reporting tools
- Wizard-driven system administration tools
- Write back options to add statistical models, parameters (for example using Stored Procedures) and data to databases (scoring).
The enterprise version of STATISTICA is specifically designed to facilitate collaborative work using a comprehensive (and fully customisable to the local needs and conditions) software environment. Based on state-of-the-art connectivity technologies, it is designed for local and global enterprise quality control and improvement Six Sigma applications. It offers real-time monitoring and alarm notification for the production floor, a comprehensive set of analytical tools for engineers, and sophisticated reporting features for management. It also offers:
- Web-enabled user interface and specific Six Sigma reporting tools and options with interactive querying tools
- User-specific interfaces for operators, engineers, managers, analysts, etc. that not only comply but directly follow the Six Sigma requirements
- User-specific interfaces for all professional levels involved in the Six Sigma effort; from simple interfaces and shortcuts for support personnel, and more advanced tools for green belts, to the most sophisticated data analysis and data mining and graphing environment for master black belts
- STATISTICA not only provides the most advanced environment for Six Sigma data analysis and data mining, but, because of available shortcuts and customisability, it creates the ideal training environment for professionals at all levels participating in the Six Sigma effort
- Groupware functionality for sharing queries, special applications, etc. that is invaluable in the implementation of Six Sigma projects across an organization
- Open-ended alarm notification including cause/action prompts
- Fully automated graphical monitoring of processes and quality improvements using the most advanced graphics technologies available to date
- STATISTICA is scalable, customisable, integrate-able with your existing data repositories including MRP, LIMS, Process Information repositories, and ERP systems, and much, much more.
In short, companies that deploy STATISTICA enterprise systems will find a complete arsenal of tools specifically "pre-configured" for implementations of Six Sigma strategies at any level of the organization and a unique set of customisation facilities will allow them to quickly convert STATISTICA into a tool that will look and work as if it were originally developed "only" to meet the needs of their specific organization.