Let's say you've polled your customers and now have a spreadsheet full of data from which you need to glean insights. There are complicated tools that can do this, such as IBM's SPSS software, but to use it you'd need a) a data analyst or statistician and b) deep enough pockets to afford it.

For regular folks trying to make sense of survey data there are better and cheaper options. DataCracker is a slick new cloud platform that analyzes the contents of a data file--maybe one you generated with a tool such as SurveyMonkey, Survey Gizmo, or QuestionPro--and transforms it into beautiful charts, graphs, and word clouds.

What It Does

From the demo I received, DataCracker appears to be dead simple. The UI is purposefully quite similar to what PowerPoint feels like, but in addition to a large area in the center of the page for creating reports, DataCracker adds a list of the aggregate answers to questions in a pane on the left of the page. You can click on one or more of these along with various options at the top of your screen to generate reports that visually depict the data in a myriad of ways.

It also lets you do predictive modeling to determine which questions relate to each other, something that's helpful in figuring out things like which customers are unhappy or most likely to defect.

Need to impress someone with your fancy charts, graphs, and word clouds? DataCracker lets you save them as PowerPoint files, PDF files, or as a Web page.

Regarding word clouds, they're how DataCracker deals with open-ended questions such as, "Using 10 words or less how do you feel about Microsoft?" Just like the charts and graphs you make in DataCracker, word clouds are highly customizable. You might want to remove rather meaningless words and merge words to combine similar sentiments such as "like" and "good."

DataCracker offers tiers ranging in price from free to $780 a year, although the free version only lets you analyze up to 100 responses per survey and you can't export to PowerPoint, PDF, or the Web.

The company, which also offers market research analysis software called Q that's geared more for professional researchers, has been around for a decade but just launched DataCracker last month into what its CMO described to me as a new market only penetrated so far by upstarts including San Francisco-based Statwing and Palo Alto, California-based DataHero.