Tibco plans for a new life in the fast lane
Data management

Tibco plans for a new life in the fast lane

At 22 years old, the elevator pitch for Tibco has evolved significantly over the years. Once it did what it said on the tin: the name stands for The Information Bus Company and the firm made its name connecting the dots in IT infrastructure, making recalcitrant elements talk to each other and transporting data where it was needed, regardless of platform, operating system, application or underlying architecture. But what next?

For years, Tibco blazed a trail in integration, floating in 1999 and then expanding to become a broader, data-centric concern through organic development and deal-making that included highlight acquisitions of companies with business intelligence, integration and analytics interests including Spotfire in 2007, Jaspersoft in 2014 and Statistica in 2017.

"We've really doubled-down to simplify our message," says CEO Dan Streetman, who joined almost six months ago from Salesforce, when we talked at the company's Tibco Now event in London last week. That message is to "integrate everything, unify data, and augment intelligence" and its "connected intelligence platform" is squarely aimed at companies seeking to become digital enterprises. If Tibco was very much of the zeitgeist in the late 1990s and early 2000s then it looks well positioned for the transformation age, providing the lubricant to keep digital processes oiled and slick.

In some ways that's surprising because, when Tibco was acquired by a private-equity company in 2014, I'm sure I wouldn't have been alone in thinking that a withering of R&D and milking of licensing revenues were in the offing. But owner Vista Equity Partners occupies an unusual niche, typically pursuing growth rather than treating its assets as carrion to be crewed over and picked off. Tibco has had the luxury of not only maintaining investment into engineering but also marketing: the company makes much of its relationship with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas, the dominant F1 racing team.

Like the car, Tibco is seeking to move fast. Of course, it's hard to gauge just how well Tibco is doing with its general ledger now out of the limelight but it's talking a good game and noises off suggest it's a growing concern. But Streetman demurs when I suggest he is attempting to write a second act for the company in the way Steve Jobs almost magically managed to pull off at Apple and Satya Nadella is currently performing at Microsoft.

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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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