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SPSS Product Naming Decoded

October 8th, 2009 · 6 Comments

Some months ago SPSS who supply many tools for survey research industry (along with many other products for many other industries), dropped a bombshell of a name change of all their products from SPSS to PASW. This was all related to a trademark dispute

PASW sure got some eye’s rolling, although it was suggested to be an acronym of Predictive Analytics Software, my favourite theory is that it was an available 4 letter domain name which could be made to fit.

Anyway with the PASW change, all the products SPSS sold were renamed. Therefore well known products like SPSS Base became PASW Statistics. Which brings me on to the products that other products for survey research that had previously been under the banner SPSS Dimensions with product names such as mrInterview and so on, Tim Macer said some fairly inspired words on it here

Because the aforementioned trademark dispute was settled another rename has come, and PASW is to become IBM SPSS (

Best Effort At Decoding the product Names

Original Product Name New Product Name Description
SPSS Dimensions PASW IBM SPSS Data Collection Banner for the overall group of products that are related to Data Collection e.g. doing surveys, managing survey data, reporting on surveys.
SPSS Author (known by many as mrAuthor) PASW IBM SPSS Data Collection Author Desktop tool aimed at people with MS Office skills for authoring surveys.
SPSS mrStudio w. Interview Option PASW IBM SPSS Data Collection Author Professional Development environment for creating editing and debugging interview scripts (which are VB Like), shares no visual similarities with regular Author merely performs the same task in a more complicated/powerful way. Scripts are written verses the IOM (Interview Object Model)
SPSS mrInterview PASW IBM SPSS Data Collection Interviewer Web Server application for interviewing people (using scripts from Author (regular or Professional) or built using yet another authoring utility called Build), includes features for managing sample, sending out invitation emails and so on.
SPSS mrInterview CATI PASW IBM SPSS Data Collection Interviewer Phone CATI add-on for regular mrInterview which includes supervisory and interviewer tools.
Known as mrInterview Player PASW IBM SPSS Data Collection Interviewer/Data Collection Remote Administrator CAPI version of mrInterview which is designed for decentralized data collection using portable computers with features for collating data and managing surveys on a server component.
SPSS mrPaper/mrScan PASW IBM SPSS Data Collection Paper/Scan Tool which works with MS Word to produce printable surveys based on scripts written in Author which also contains a Scanning module (was known as mrScan) which assists with data entry.
unrelated product SPSS Data Entry PASW IBM SPSS Data Collection Data Entry Tool which is built on the same components as the other Interviewing products with a user interface and management system which is geared towards Direct Data Entry.
SPSS mrDialer PASW IBM SPSS Data Collection Dialer A hardware auto-dialler solution which forms a component of the CATI system.
SPSS DimensionNet PASW IBM SPSS Data Collection Interviewer Server This is not a product per-se but its a web based system which kind of hangs all the web based tools together.
SPSS Reporter PASW IBM SPSS Data Collection Reports for Surveys Desktop utility for building Cross Tab reports and exporting them to other formats aimed at Analysts who aren’t as technical as an SPSS Base (IBM SPSS Statistics) user.
SPSS Reporter server PASW IBM SPSS Data Collection Reports for Surveys server Client-Server version of the above, which shares the same user interface but has a server component which performs all of the number crunching and file management, these 2 communicate via SOAP web services. Server version lacks the built in ability to export data, but gains the ability to control per-user/group which filters are applied on a given piece of data.
The client is automatically installed/deployed via ClickOnce technology.
SPSS mrTables PASW IBM SPSS Data Collection Web Reports for Surveys Pure browser based version of the above which is less feature rich and is a significantly older product, the only common ground is the core components (Table Object Model (TOM), Data Model and Export Components).
SPSS mrStudio /Tables Option PASW IBM SPSS Data Collection Reports Professional for Surveys Scripting and Debugging environment for automated tables and exports, where you can program against the Table Object Model. Does not share any User Interface with Reports for Surveys strangely not to be confused with a heavyweight version, its a different product.
SPSS mrStudio PASW IBM SPSS Data Collection Professional The scripting and debugging environment on its own with less licensed components, which is primarily designed for creating Data Management scripts (ETL) using script and has not direct User Interface comparison as it stands.
SPSS Dimensions Data Model PASW IBM SPSS Data Collection Data Model Standalone components for using the (highly useful) Data Model components to read and write data, this puts a standard API over around 12 different data formats commonly used in survey research.

My Opinion

If it matters, and I have no idea whether it does although I am an SPSS Customer and I do spend a good deal of my time working with this line of products for my various customers.

This is diluting your brand IBM SPSS, I know you are going for enterprise sales and it makes is easier to sell the concept of IBM SPSS Data Collection as an end to end solution (which it is at one level). However:

The tools still exist and the product names just stink of a category dump which may make it easier for you to internally manage things but are completely divorced from any real concept of branding.

its the same as Heinz deciding to rename Heinz Baked Beans to Heinz  Canned Foods Tomato With Beans and running an ad campaign on it.

This may make it easier for Heinz to explain its product at an enterprise level when its talking to Walmart but it doesn’t mean it makes any good marketing sense.

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6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Donna // Oct 12, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    I so agree! But thanks for doing this – I appreciate the effort..
    Perhaps they could do a research study to figure out their naming!

  • 2 Quick Post : Product Map | smarter Dimensions // Nov 7, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    [...] confused about what product is what ? Well we are not surprised a while back Sam Winstanley wrote a blog article on it. With the release of version 6 and the acquisition of SPSS by IBM the names have changed again [...]

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