Tom Laffey, EVP of Products and Technology, gave us an update at the analyst session yesterday on their new product releases (embargoed until today), but started with an interesting timeline of the their acquisitions. Unlike some companies, who make acquisitions just to remove a competitor from the market, TIBCO appears to have made some thoughtful buys over the years in order to build out a portfolio of infrastructure products. More than just being a Wall Street messaging company with Rendezvous, they have a full stack of mission-critical event processing, messaging, process management, analytics and more that puts them squarely in competition with the big players. Their competition differs for the different product segments: IBM is their biggest competitor, but others including Oracle, some small players and even open source in some cases. They offer fully-responsive 7×24 support through a series of worldwide support centers, handling more than 40,000 support requests per year.
Unfortunately, this leaves them with more than 200 products: a massive portfolio that makes it difficult for them to explain, and even more difficult for customers to understand. A core part of the portfolio is the “connect” part that we heard about earlier: moving point-to-point integrations onto a service bus, using products such as Rendezvous, EMS, BusinessWorks, all manner of adapters, ActiveMatrix, BusinessConenct, CIM, ActiveSpaces and tibbr. On the “automate” part of the platform is all of their BPM offerings: iProcess, the newly-announced ActiveMatrix BPM, Business Studio and PeopleForms. Laffey claimed up front that iProcess is not being replaced by ActiveMatrix BPM (methinks he doth protest too much), which means that there is likely some functionality overlap. The third part, “optimize”, includes Spotfire Suite, S+, BusinessEvents and Netrics.
He discussed their cloud strategy, which includes “internal clouds” (which, to many of us, are not really clouds) as well as external clouds such as AWS; the new Silver line of products – CAP, Grid, Integrator, Fabric, Federator and BPM – are deployable in the cloud.
The major product suites are, then:
- ActiveMatrix (develoment, governance and integration)
- ActiveMatrix BPM (BPM)
- Spotfire (user-driven analytics and visualization)
- BusinessEvents (CEP)
- ActiveSpaces (in-memory technologies, datagrid, matching, transactions)
- Silver (cloud and grid computing)
He dug back into the comparison between iProcess and ActiveMatrix BPM by considering the small number of highly-complex core business processes (such as claims processing) that are the focus for iProcess, versus the large number of tactical or situational small applications with simple workflows that are served by PeopleForms and ActiveMatrix BPM. He gave a quick demo that shows this sort of simple application development being completely forms-driven: create forms using a browser-based graphical form designer, then email it to a group of people to gather responses to the questions on the form. Although he referred to this as “simple BPM” and “BPM for the masses”, it’s not clear that there was any process management at all: just an email notification and gathering responses via a web form. Obviously, I need to see a lot more about this.