TIBCO Acquisitions With Tom Laffey: OpenSpirit, Loyalty Lab and Nimbus

Tom Laffey, EVP of products and technology, moderated a session highlighting three of TIBCO’s recent acquisitions: OpenSpirit, Loyalty Lab and Nimbus.

Clay Harter, CTO of OpenSpirit (which was acquired by TIBCO a year ago), discussed their focus on delivering data and integration applications to the oil and gas industry. Their runtime framework provided a canonical data model over a heterogeneous set of data stores, and their desktop applications integrated with spatial data products such as ESRI’s ArcGIS and Schlumberger’s remote sensing. Due to their knowledge of the specialized data sources, they have a huge penetration into 330+ oil companies and relationships into industry-specific ISVs. In October, they will release a BusinessWorks plugin for OpenSpirit to make oil and gas technical data available through the TIBCO ESB. They are also prototyping a Spotfire extension for OpenSpirit for visualizing and analyzing this data, which is pretty cool – I worked as a field engineer in oil and gas in the early 80’s, and the sensing and visualization of data was a whole different ball game then, mostly black magic. OpenSpirit’s focus is on reducing exploration costs and increasing safely through better analysis of the petrotechnical data, particularly through interdisciplinary collaboration. From TIBCO’s standpoint, they were building their energy vertical, and the acquisition of OpenSpirit brings them expertise and credibility in that domain.

Keith Rose, formerly president of Loyalty Lab and now leading the sales efforts in that area since their acquisition by TIBCO, presented on their event-driven view of managing customer loyalty, particularly loyalty programs such as those used by airlines and retailers. They have a suite of products that support marketers in terms of visualizing and analyzing loyalty-related data, and building loyalty programs that can leverage that information. Their focus on events – the core of real-time and one-to-one loyalty marketing programs – was likely the big reason for the TIBCO acquisition, since TIBCO’s event and messaging infrastructure seems like a natural fit to feed into Loyalty Lab’s analysis and programs. Spotfire for visualization and analysis of data also makes a lot of sense here, if they can work out how to integrate that with their existing offerings. With 99% of their customers on a hosted cloud solution, they may also want to consider how a move to TIBCO’s cloud platform can benefit them and integrate with other initiatives that their customers may have.

Less than a month ago, Nimbus was acquired by TIBCO, and Mark Cotgrove, a founder and EVP, gave us a briefing on their product and why it made sense for TIBCO to acquire them. Nimbus provides tools for process discovery and analysis, including the 80% (or so) of an organization’s activities that are manual and are likely to remain manual. Currently, the automated activities are handled with enterprise applications and automated BPM (such as AMX/BPM), but the manual ones are managed with a mix of office productivity software (Word, PowerPoint, Visio) and business process analysis tools. Furthermore, end-to-end processes range back and forth between manual and automated activities as they progress through their lifecycle, such that often a single process instance ends up being managed by a variety of different tools. Nimbus provides what are essentially storyboards or guided walkthroughs for business processes: like procedures manuals, but more interactive. These “intelligent operations manuals” can include steps that will instruct the user to interact with a system of some sort – for example, an ERP system, or a BPMS such as AMX/BPM – but documents all of the steps including paper handling and other manual activities. Just as a BPMS can be an orchestration of multiple integrated systems, Nimbus Control can be an orchestration of human activities, including manual steps and interaction with systems. There are a few potential integration points between Nimbus and a few different TIBCO products: metrics in the context of a process using Spotfire; exporting discovered processes from Nimbus to BusinessStudio; instantiating an AMX/BPM process from Nimbus; worker accessing a Nimbus operations manual for instructions at the step in an AMX/BPM process; collaborative process discovery using tibbr; and tibbr collaboration as part of a manual process execution. Some or all of these may not happen exactly like this, but there is some interesting potential here. There’s also potential within an organization for finding opportunities for AMX/BPM implementation through process discovery using Nimbus.

An interesting view of three different acquisitions, based on three very different rationales: industry vertical; horizontal application platform; and expansion of core product functionality. TIBCO is definitely moving from their pure technology focus to one that includes verticals and business applications.

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