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Turning Big Data into big Opportunities at TIBCO Transform 2013

2013-06-13 09.50.44 I’ve spent an interesting day at TIBCO’s annual Customer Conference “Transform 2013” where I had an opportunity to catch up with some current and previous clients as well as a few business partners.

The theme of the day was understanding Big Data in order to identify opportunities. Clearly, the emphasis was on the way in which TIBCO’s portfolio of products could enable this.

Inevitably, as it was hosted by an IT company, there was a fair amount of techno-jargon which left a few of the people I spoke with bemused. This was partly because it’s just not technology they were familiar with and partly because the jargon isn’t “jargon” when it has a specific technical meaning.  I did come out of one session wondering how I was going to “monetize my API service bus” and where I might be able to see some “big MIPS”.

Matt Quinn, TIBCO CTO, started his presentation by talking about the two factors that had driven technology evolution over recent years: entertainment and counting. In other words, computer gaming and the need for businesses to count stuff. He explained the “IT Arms Race” of past decades and how ever-increasing levels of complexity had left us with a legacy of “debt” for which we are continuing to pay the interest.

Today’s challenge is for IT solutions to achieve a level of simplicity for users, while hiding the necessary underlying complexity. The fact that end users are increasingly IT-savvy (from their use of Apps at home) and that IT people are more likely to understand the business is a good sign. For me, the theme of using Big Data was pulled together in the slide below which highlights three key step: Understand – Anticipate – Act 2013-06-13 11.02.49

It was interesting to see that there were several “audience with” sessions on the main stage, where TIBCO people did a Q&A with clients. This was always a feature of previous Nimbus marketing events and perhaps the feedback from Transform 2012 encouraged TIBCO to do more of this in 2013. It’s certainly a good way to hear the voice of the customer, even if in the limited time available, it’s just a snapshot.

In one of these discussions with Peter Bals, CTO of Barclays Capital, the discussion turned to the importance of “relationships” between clients and suppliers such as TIBCO.  Peter was asked to explain the difference between a “vendor” and a “relationship”.  He said a relationship was long-term and mutually beneficial and the analogy was a marriage.  In contrast, vendors are usually selected for 1-off projects, but he declined to continue with the analogy!

The other sessions that worked well for me were the Nimbus ones in the afternoon where Mark Cotgrove introduced clients who talked through their case studies. Once again, the recurring message was “standardisation of processes delivers business benefits”. The ease of use of TIBCO Nimbus 9 (it’s no longer Nimbus Control) and the way it is designed to be used by end-users, is the key to its added value. A couple of speakers mentioned how completely useless BPMN and other similarly IT-driven process approaches are for real people in the business.

All in all, an interesting day and my thanks to all at TIBCO for their hospitality.

You can view presentations from the conference here.



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