TUCON: Tom Laffey and Matt Quinn

Last in the morning’s general session was Tom Laffey, TIBCO’s EVP of products and technologies, and Matt Quinn, VP of product management and strategy. Like Ranadivé’s talk earlier, they’re talking about enterprise virtualization: positioning messaging, for example, as virtualizing the network layer, and BPM as enterprise process virtualization. I’m not completely clear if virtualization is just the current analyst-created buzzword in this context.

Laffey and Quinn tag-teamed quite a bit during the talk, so I won’t attribute specific comments to either. TIBCO products cover a much broader spectrum that I do, so I’ll focus just on the comments about BPM and SOA.

TIBCO’s been doing messaging and ESB for a long time, and some amount of the SOA talk is about incremental feature improvements such as easier use of adapters. Apparently, Quinn made a prediction some months ago that SOA would grow so fast that it would swallow up BPM, so that BPM would just be a subset of SOA. Now, he believes (and most of us from the BPM side agree 🙂 ) that BPM and SOA are separate but extremely synergistic practices/technologies, and both need to developed to a position of strength. To quote Ismael Ghalimi, BPM is SOA’s killer application, and SOA is BPM’s enabling infrastructure, a phrase that I’ve included in my presentation later today; like Ismael, I see BPM as a key consumer of what’s produced via SOA, but they’re not the same thing.

They touched on the new release of Business Studio, with its support for BPMN, XPDL and BPEL as well as UML for some types of data modelling. There’s some new intelligent workforce management features, and some advanced user interface creation functionality using intelligent forms, which I think ties in with their General Interface AJAX toolkit.

Laffey just defined “mashup” as a browser-based event bus, which is an interesting viewpoint, and likely one that resonates better with this audience than the trendier descriptions.

They discussed other functionality, including business rules management, dynamic virtual information spaces (the ability to tap into a real-time event message stream and extract just what you want), and the analytics that will be added with the acquisition of Spotfire. By the way, we now appear to be calling analytics “business insight”, which lets us keep the old BI acronym without the stigma of the business intelligence latency legacy. 🙂

They finished up with a 2-year roadmap of product releases, which I won’t reproduce here because I’d hate to have to embarrass them later, and some discussion of changes to their engineering and product development processes.

2 thoughts on “TUCON: Tom Laffey and Matt Quinn”

  1. Re: “Laffey just defined “mashup” as a browser-based event bus, which is an interesting viewpoint, and likely one that resonates better with this audience than the trendier descriptions.”

    What’s interesting here is that the underlying *industry standard* for mashups is moving to this client-side bus model. It’s one thing to mashup 2 things: google and craig’s list apartment rentals. It’s another to mash up 5 or more. The point-to-point integration “n-squared” problem arises – just as it does on systems-integration issues where bus architectures are core to addressing the issue.

    The OpenAjax Alliance is the group setting this standard and a quick scan of the interoperability working group meeting minutes will show that TIBCO’s proposal and contributions are setting the industry standard for a client-side topic/message/event bus specification as the industry standard for getting ajax components to work together in a page. This opens great possibilities for more mature mashups, composite applications, and a vibrant 3rd party market of interoperable ajax gadgets, apps, and controls that can work together in page (by pub/sub events and messages). See openajax.org. Further leading the industry standard TIBCO is donating the core of the TIBCO PageBus to the OpenAjax Alliance for inclusion in its open source implementation of the spec: the OpenAjax Hub. That works extends original work TIBCO did in collaboration with The Dojo Toolkit for the baseline pub/sub event system. The most recent contribution adds topics and wildcards in topics to the implementation to support a broader set of use cases more easily.

    –Kevin Hakman, TIBCO Software Inc.

  2. Kevin, I completely agree. Having come from the integration side of things, I know the problems that will inevitably arise when you start to mashup 3 or more apps at the desktop. I liked Laffey’s description, if that wasn’t obvious. 🙂

    Thanks for the references to the OpenAjax Alliance. I think that TIBCO is making some good contributions here.

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