SPSS as an Acronym
SPSS stands for Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. When SPSS was first established in 1968, SPSS as a company and SPSS as a software package were one and the same. Since then, SPSS as a company has branched out into other areas of statistics-related software. Over time, the company came to be known as SPSS, Inc. to differentiate itself from its original product, which was known simply as SPSS, or SPSS software.
SPSS Software
SPSS software was designed to perform statistical analysis on quantitative data. In plain English, SPSS software is used for complex calculations to analyze numerical data. SPSS software is used in nonprofit agencies, educational institutions and even in business to analyze numerical data. It performs functions such as regression, which is a form of predictive calculation used to determine the relative effect of a single factor on a situation.
Additional SPSS, Inc. Software
In addition to the original SPSS, SPSS Inc. offers products in four major groupings: statistics, modeling, data collection and deployment. The statistical group of products includes SPSS. The modeling group is the name SPSS Inc. has assigned to data mining software, formerly called Clementine. The Data Collection group is the assigned name for SPSS, Inc. products designed to analyze surveys and other qualitative, or word-based data. The Deployment group is designed to bridge the gap between analysis and making active use of the data.
Acquisition and Name Changes
In 2009, SPSS, Inc. was acquired by IBM, and underwent the process of renaming several of its software programs. The new umbrella name for the entire portfolio of products offered by SPSS, Inc. is PASW, which stands for Predictive Analytics Software. The name change was designed to emphasize the position of SPSS, Inc. as a prominent player in predictive analysis -- software designed to assist the user in predicting future action or circumstances based on collected data.
Alternatives to SPSS, Inc. Software Products
The software packages offered by SPSS, Inc. include its survey analysis software, which is rivaled by NVivo and Ethnograph, among others. SAS (Statistical Analysis System) is a major competitor to SPSS software for statistical analysis. R is an open source software language and environment used for statistical computing and graphics. Nonetheless, no one company offers as wide an array of predictive software as does SPSS, Inc.0