Following the product update (which is embargoed until tomorrow), Ram Menon was up to talk about their go-to-market strategy. TIBCO has really been known as a powerhouse in the financial services in the past, but given the meltdown in the financial markets over the past two years, they’ve probably realized that this former cash cow doesn’t always stay on its feet. However, their event-based products can go way beyond that into retail pipeline management (think RFID tags on items for sale), government and many other areas; they just need to figure out how to sell into those markets. They have a number of vertical marketing messages prepped to go, but as a couple of analyst tweets pointed out, it’s a bit of a confusing message when they don’t have the applications to back it up, and the case studies are almost identical to those of IBM’s Smarter Planet, which doesn’t give them a lot of differentiation.
They have a 40-company road show planned, as well as vertical market pushes through their SI partners. In the panel of the regional sales VPs discussing what’s actually happening out there, we saw a chart of the industry verticals where financial services is the biggest single sector, but only around 25% of the total (I think – the slide went by quickly). Discussions on the panel indicated that SOA is their biggest business in the US (basic integration middleware, really, for non-intrusive implementations rather than rip-and-replace), but is still in the early stages in Asia, where messaging is the hot topic. BPM sales in the Americas typically also include SOA infrastructure, indicating that they’re leaning heavily on the value of the stack for BPM sales rather than its standalone capabilities: not sure if that’s intentional positioning, or an artifact of the product, sales force, or both. There is a lot of interest in newer ideas such as in-memory analytics: as one of the panelists put it, the customers “just get it” when you show the value proposition of reducing response time by having information available faster. It will be interesting to see how their vertical marketing efforts line up with the existing market penetration both by industry and product.
All in all, TIBCO’s branding feels a bit behind the times: Enterprise 3.0 is becoming a joke amongst the analysts attending here today (we’re tweeting about staging an intervention), and the “ending r with no preceding vowel” of tibbr is so 2006. The new TIBCOSilver brand covers all of their grid and cloud offerings, but doesn’t really make you think “cloud” when you hear the name. Like Brenda Michelson, however, I like the “Two Second Advantage” message: it’s short, memorable, and actually means something.