Social Networks

Q&A With Tibco's COO, Murray Rode

What was the reaction to the newest version of Tibbr at this year’s Tucon?

We had very good reception to Tibbr from both customers and analysts. I know it’s our product, and of course we’re going to be biased about it, but I think Ram (Menon, President of Social Computing at Tibco) and his team has done an incredible job of continuing to evolve Tibbr.

Why are Enterprise Social Networks such a hot topic right now?

I guess a simple way of putting it is a generational shift in how we as people talk to each other through technology. It is becoming increasingly important to attract and retain the next generation of employees.

Do you use Tibbr personally, and how do you think it is best used?

We’re big users inside Tibco, and I think the biggest advantage I see for us as users is the ability to have, not just this collaborative social media, but also to integrate corporate content and systems into that. It’s not just about people collaborating, but doing it around a system information flow or data stream.  

There’s been quite a few new ESNs launched recently (e.g. Slack, Anchor, Honey, plus the likes of Yammer etc.) do you keep track of rival networks and what they offer?

We do, I think any software company keeps track of the competition at some level and the Tibbr team in particular watches what’s going on there. But we don’t drive or orchestrate our innovation process around what the competition does so much as what we see from our customers and the feedback we get about what’s useful, and to a large degree our own experiences.

At this year’s Cloud World Forum, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) CEO Jeff Jaffe called for greater Cloud Standards. When I asked Tibco’s CTO Matt Quinn about it, he said it was a terrible idea that would stifle innovation. What’s your view of Cloud Standards?

Standards is a tricky topic. I’ve been around long enough in the industry to see the birth and death of various kinds of standards, and I think some level of standardization is inevitable. But it’s very early days in how the Cloud space is going to develop and I think it’s a bit premature to say to which area standards will really take hold.

I think Matt’s point is a good one, that if there’s too much of a focus too soon it could very well stifle some innovation in the space. But Cloud is too a big a trend to be undermined by anything like that. There’s just going to be so much change over the next couple of years it’s going to be hard to predict where we shake out with standards.

What’s Tibco’s approach to Emerging Markets?

It’s an interesting challenge for us about where we go in new markets. There are many, many parts of the globe we think we could be doing more in, I think the biggest challenge we have is not spreading ourselves too thin too quickly in terms of the areas we go after.

For us right now, the most important new markets are really Latin America, parts of Eastern Europe, and then many of the South Asian countries, like continuing to expand in Singapore, which isn’t an emerging market but is a huge opportunity for us. But then you look at places like Indonesia, Malaysia and even Vietnam as places that represent a lot of opportunity for us.

You’ve made three acquisitions this year – Maporama, Streambase Systems and Extended Results.  Any more in the pipeline?

In broad terms, we continue to be interested in complementary technologies for analytics. [We’re interested in] things that could continue to accelerate our Cloud strategy along with regional acquisitions that can help us expand. We’ve been reasonably acquisitive for really over a decade, but we’re still very much focused on our own internal innovation processes, which is certainly going to continue to be important.

Mulesoft’s Ross Mason recently  commented on the direction he thinks Tibco is taking:

“Tibco carved out a great niche for themselves, but stopped investing in BusinessWorks and was more interested in analytics with Spotfire… CloudBus isn’t relevant to the enterprise right now.”

Any comment or reply?

[Laughs] I think Ross has to say something like that, given the position he’s in. But rather than reply directly, I would say that BusinessWorks is really not a product we ever stopped investing in, it continues to be a very successful and important part of the overall strategy for us, and we think Cloudbus is very relevant to the enterprise. But I think what is increasingly interesting about what we’re doing with integration is expanding the boundaries of what integration means. Integration is a big opportunity, and one we’re pretty uniquely positioned to be successful in.

What’s next for Tibco in the coming 12/24 months?

At Tucon we talked about three big areas: Big Data, Integration and Cloud. So I think for the next 12-24 months, those three areas of focus are going to be dominant for us.

Big Data offers a very immediate set of opportunities in a rapidly changing marketplace and our focus there is around how we combine real time streams with the analytics capabilities we have.

In the integration space it’s doubling down on our strengths, and continuing to invest and evolve what integration means to the enterprise and the different manifestations of integration.

The Cloud is something that cuts across all our products. You’ll continue to see us evolve the amount of technology that we offer both as a service and as an on-premise offering, as well as what we do in terms of the Cloud infrastructure that enables customers to integrate more easily with the Cloud and create their own private or hybrid Clouds.

And then there’s a fourth big area that underlines all of these – what we’ll continue to do around mobility – which is becoming a bigger and bigger part of everything we do just like it’s becoming a bigger and bigger part of the enterprise. 


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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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