Tibco’s data focus makes it well placed for the downturn

Data is set to play a primary role in business recovery, and the senior leadership of Tibco believe that they have the tools CIOs require

"There is a higher demand for increasing capacity rather than new initiatives, so I understand when a board says that it has to be careful, but this is where the room for efficiency comes in," says Erich Gerber. Tibco’s Senior Vice President for EMEA and APJ, Gerber, and his peers at the data technology provider, believe Tibco is ideally placed to help the C-suite extract more from their enterprises during the economic downturn. 

"The pandemic has created an understanding of change as a constant," CEO Dan Streetman told IDG Connect whilst taking a break from Tibco Now, the Palo Alto headquartered firm's annual jamboree of product launches and customer networking.  The change, as with all vendor events, was that Tibco Now took place online, as did our interviews. "If the business has a good foundation of data, then they were able to shift their business model during the pandemic," he says of how data has increased in importance for business technology leaders during this challenging year. 

Streetman is buoyant about the near future of Tibco, which market analysts believe is well placed to ride out the recession, as CIOs are tasked with increasing the optimisation of data usage within organisations. "We are unique in the ability to do the three main things a business wants: connect the data, unify it, and then predict from that data using visualisation, analytics, data science and machine learning," Streetman says. 

"The data analytics space is so broad, so there is no emergent single player," says Matt Quinn, COO of Tibco, when asked if the confidence was tempered by the arrival of new players such as Denodo and Intenda, who are pioneering the emerging data virtualisation space.

CIOs and CTOs are increasing the amount of time and investment they make on data-centric strategies. The recent Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey identified that data-led CIOs are best placed to deliver successful digital transformation results. "The market is talking big about digital transformation and data science, but few boards have a dashboard that shows how the business is performing," Gerber says. When things in the market are good, people don't look for optimisation. Organisations will have to get better at this. "A crisis leads to a reshuffle of the players, and they will be replaced by those who are faster at adapting," he adds of how data could help organisations get back to financial health. 

That reshuffle will see organisations that do not know their customers, or have high fixed costs slide out of competition, Streetman believes. Data is the most efficient way to make the organisation operate effectively, to be connected to its customer base and as a result, give the business the ability to reinvent itself for the new market conditions that each and every vertical market faces. The CEO says organisations will be using data for both defence and the offensive. 

Given the number of data experts working at Tibco, will they become a hybrid business offering both the technology and the professional services that CIOs and CEOs need to develop a data-centric culture? Streetman thinks not. "Democratising data and access in real-time is the key," he says alluding to the new tools announced as part of Tibco Now. 

New tools, new opportunities

Chief amongst the announcements made at Tibco Now was Any Data Hub, a data management blueprint, which perhaps suggests why Tibco doesn't have any professional services ambitions. With this blueprint, it is arguably democratising professional services in the way its technology does to data. Any Data Hub accepts that the majority of CIOs have a distributed data environment, and require a way to reduce complexity and quickly simplify the data strategy, so that the organisation can begin to realise business benefits from its data, and not await a lengthy data implementation to land. Using the blueprint, Tibco claims organisations can create an architecture with data warehouses that are 'logical', and move to a data-as-a-service model. 

"Any Data Hub came from our labs and is an example of listening to our customers and their struggles with having data in multiple clouds and software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms," Streetman says. "This recognises that organisations need to move compute to the best place, so the hub is a blueprint for a holistic data approach," he adds as organisations will need to reduce compute spend, but in doing so, do not want to incur data transfer costs. 

Tibco also announced its Hyperconverged Analytics and updates to its well-known Spotfire (now in version 11) and Tibco Cloud Data Streams products. Again, the focus is on filtering the data landscape for organisations, reducing disparate analytics tools and siloed data roles into a combined data management and a data science platform. The third announcement, Tibco Responsive Application Mesh provides more ambitious organisations with the building blocks for improving data integration, process automation and event processing. 

Partnerships

When Streetman arrived at Tibco in April 2019 from Salesforce, he focused on developing a strong partnership alliance with systems integrators, such as Infosys and the born again Microsoft. A year on, how does he assess the performance of the partnerships? "Accenture has increased their licensing of Tibco," he shoots back with a smile, evidently happy. "We will be hand-in-hand with the ecosystem, and this is a place where we can really help our customers because we want our customers to grow.

"Clearly we want to be at the centre of our customer's innovations, so being mission-critical at the core of the business and to all the data is our business reason.  We help organisations solve complex data problems," he says neatly bringing the conversation back to the tools announced, and their aim to deal with data complexity. Streetman's focus on partners is well-timed and wise. CIOs increasingly want to pull and avoid push.  Partners such as Accenture, Infosys and Microsoft are well placed as the organisations that business technology leaders pull on for insights and advice, as well as services - particularly if they are already in place and have a good insight into the business. The push of sales-led organisations is going out of fashion. It is probably safe to assume Tibco has looked at the data to suggest its partner strategy is the future.