TIBCO Analyst Summit: Partner and Channel Strategy

Dean Hidalgo, Director of Industry and Partner Marketing, discussed the partner network and how it ties into their overall strategy. As we heard in the sales strategy sessions, partnering is extremely important in certain regions and will be increasingly so as TIBCO pushes into new geographies that they can’t cover with their own people directly. The usual big system integration companies are here: HP, EDS, Infosys, Wipro, Accenture, Deloitte and CGEY to name a few.

He also discussed their vertical marketing activities, providing tools that allow the sales teams to present vertical value propositions (VVP) — matching the functionality of TIBCO’s products to the vertical business requirements — without having vertical products. Salesware, not software. TIBCO doesn’t back down from the idea that they sell infrastructure, not vertical packaged applications, although these VVPs include "frameworks" (really unsupported templates) of pre-configured rules, policies, KPIs, dashboards and processes that they throw in for a customer to use as a starting point. These VVPs are based on successful real-world implementations, like their predictive customer interaction management that is based on what was actually implemented at one of their large retail banking customers, advanced order fulfillment for telco, dynamic claims management for insurance, predictive STP for securities, point-of-sale monitoring for retail, supply chain optimization for manufacturing and retail, and disruption management for airlines and logistics.

There was a lot of discussion in the room about the value of the VVPs: some analysts felt that this didn’t go far enough, and that TIBCO needs to put out some vertical applications in order to compete, but several of us (including me) feel that this type of vertical marketing is extremely valuable by allowing an infrastructure company to sell to business people without moving out of their sweet spot. If a customer doesn’t look closely at this, however, they might think that these are supported products rather than unsupported templates. This is likely to be exacerbated by their marketing videos that refer to (for example) "TIBCO’s airline disruption management system" — if seen in isolation, or presented by a salesperson who didn’t make that distinction clear, it would be pretty easy to make that mistake.

Abhishek, AVP and head of BPM-EAI practice at Infosys, briefed us on Infosys, their primary verticals and their horizontal technology specializations. They have a significant TIBCO practice, which has allowed them to build reusable frameworks and tools that accelerate their TIBCO-based projects with clients. I’m all for reusability, but I’ve seen some pretty disastrous frameworks built on other products by other systems integrators, and I’m wary about the maintainability and weight of any third-party framework: if you’re looking at something like this, be sure to check out issues like whether it’s productized or considered custom code, the process for upgrading the underlying platform, e.g., TIBCO, and the ability to use the underlying platform features directly for design and administration. In addition to frameworks and systems integration, Infosys is also an engineering partner of TIBCO, developing and supporting various application and technology adapters.

We were supposed to finish at 4:30, but the only thing that ended at 4:30 sharp was our internet connectivity. To be fair, TIBCO provided hard-wired connectivity and power to each table in the analyst briefing room throughout the day, and they did get the internet access turned back on about 10 minutes later so that I could publish this last post before heading to the solutions showcase. The stories that I heard about the hotel’s extortionate cost for wifi doesn’t bode well for intraday posting the rest of the week, in spite of the BPM product marketing manager’s promise to have someone follow me around with a wireless router. 🙂

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