Kicking off TUCON: Vivek Ranadivé

Although I kicked off TUCON in an Irish pub down the road two nights ago with some jet-lagged TIBCO folks, it really started last night with the opening reception in the solutions showcase. The reception was packed, and it turns out that there’s over 1100 people here, which is pretty amazing for a user conference.

There’s the usual flurry of press releases from TIBCO and their partners, such as announcing version 2.0 of Business Studio with full BPMN 1.0 support, although I’ll wait until after my joint presentation with Tim Stephenson, the engineering manager for Business Studio, later today to see all the details of the new version. This morning, they also announced that they’re acquiring Spotfire, an analytics firm.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a user conference of this size — probably the last one is FileNet’s about two years ago, prior to the assimilation — and I’d forgotten about the light and music show in the opening sessions. These companies spend a lot of money to create choreographed video and music shows, always with fog effects, that don’t add a lot of value, although this one did have a cute sequence of two jugglers intended to make a point about collaboration. It was mercifully short.

After a brief intro, we moved into the first general session with TIBCO CEO’s Vivek Ranadivé, who will be throwing out the first ball at the Giants game that we’re all attending tomorrow night. He started with the paradox of how the cost of implementing IT keeps going up when the cost of CPU, storage, memory and network are all declining: it’s all about too much customization. This is an interesting echo of the discussions yesterday at the New Software Industry conference about how product companies now make more than half of their revenue from services: that’s one excellent explanation for why IT costs keep going up.

Ranadivé showed a vision of what will be happening in the next ten years: SOA, BPM, predictive business and AJAX, although that’s not really that much of a prediction as opposed to projecting well-entrenched trends. For the large corporations represented in the audience, however, it probably looks like futuristic magic.

He was then joined briefly by Christopher Ahlberg, the CEO of Spotfire, to talk about what they do and why it’s a great fit (naturally) to be acquired by TICBO.

Disclosure: TIBCO is a client, and they paid my travel expenses to be at this conference.

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