Today, I’ve been at TIBCO’s Transform 2012 user conference in London. TIBCO acquired Nimbus last year and, as a long-time Nimbus Control advocate and user I was keen to find out more about the TIBCO world.
TIBCO talk about the ‘2 second advantage’; their view is that having the right information, just in time, is a source of competitive advantage. This contrasts with many organisations that are obsessed with collecting data, analysing it and reporting on it, sometimes weeks or months after the event. TIBCO come from a process automation software background, but today their portfolio includes automation, event processing, analytics, cloud and social. Interestingly, Nimbus Control appears to be positioned in the ‘social’ area of their portfolio. Presumably, that’s because of the strong process collaboration focus.
It’s always interesting to hear statistics about the world of technology and there were a few that caught my attention today:
- there are now more than 7 billion Smartphone users in the world (and therefore ‘being connected’ is no longer a discretionary spend for lots of people, however wealthy or poor they might be)
- iPhones are selling faster than the global birth-rate!
- in most organisations, less than 15% of their IT budget is spent on solving business problems
Craig Willis from Nimbus talked about some of their current product development work. Their focus is on performance, scalability and usability. Performance improvement is aimed at speeding things up for users and to reduce the burden on the IT infrastructure on which Control runs. Usability is always a challenge, but for many IT businesses the simplicity of use of products like Facebook and the iPad sets the benchmark. Why should users have to spend time away from their desks learning how to use business software. Users are increasingly frustrated with the difficulty of learning business applications, compared with the ease of use of their iPhone or iPad apps.
It will be interesting to see how Nimbus Control develops over the coming months.
One of the other interesting presentations I sat in on was about the ’social enterprise’. A whole new generation of employees is joining the workforce and their experience of, plus expectations of, technology will be a real challenge for many businesses. For example, some recent research suggested that only 17% of new graduates use e-mail to communicate; their preferred channels are collaborative, social tools. Another statistic is that people are spending an average of 25% of their web-time on social networks.
Another presentation focused on ‘turning data into insights’, which appealed to me because I’m a great believer in the importance of all employees being more comfortable making use of data. The topic was ’analytics’ and Tibco’s Spotfire product was highlighted as a tool for getting insights from data. One client quote was that ’no decisions get made in this business unless we’ve looked at the data through Spotfire”. It’s a tool that enables self-service discovery; staff can pull out the insights without having to wait for ’specialists’ to crunch the numbers and run bespoke reports. I loved this quote: ’people can surf their data like they were surfing a video game’.
One of the exhibitors getting lots of attention outside the main conference rooms was the Guide Dogs for the Blind charity. They are a client of Nimbus and presented a case study to explain how Nimbus Control had been a key enabler in their Change Programme.