TIBCO Corporate Strategy Session with Murray Rode

I’m in Vegas this week at TUCON, TIBCO’s user conference, and this afternoon I’m at the analyst event. For the corporate strategy session, they put the industry analysts and financial analysts together, meaning that there were way too many dark suits in the room for my taste (and my wardrobe).

Murray Rode, COO, gave us a good overview presentation on the corporate strategy, touching on market factors, their suite of products, and their growth in terms of products, geographies and verticals. Definitely, event-driven processes are a driving force behind businesses these days – matching with the “responsive business” message I saw at the Progress conference last week – and TIBCO sees their product suite as being ideally positioned to serve those needs.

Rode defined the key components of a 21st century platform as:

  • Automation (SOA, messaging, BPM) as core infrastructure
  • Event processing
  • Social collaboration
  • Analytics
  • Cloud

Their vision is to be the 21st century middleware company, continuing to redefine the scope and purpose of middleware, and to provide their customers with the “2-second advantage” based on event processing, real-time analytics and process management. They see the middleware market as taking a bite out of the application development platforms and out of the box suites by providing higher-functioning, more agile capabilities, and plan to continue their pure-play leadership in middleware.

Looking at their performance in verticals, financial services is now only 25% of their business as they diversify into telecom, government, energy, retail and other market segments. This is an interesting point, since many middleware (including many BPM) vendors grew primarily in financial services, and have struggled to break out of that sector in a significant way.

From a product standpoint, their highest growth is happening in CEP, analytics and MDM, while core stable growth continues in BPM and SOA. They are starting to see new growth in cloud, tibbr, low-latency messaging and Nimbus to drive their future innovation.

They see their key competitors as IBM and Oracle, and realize that they’re the small fish in that pond; however, they see themselves as being more innovative and in touch with current trends, and having a better pure-play focus on infrastructure. Their strategy is to keep defining the platform through a culture of continuous innovation, so as not to become a one-hit wonder like many other now-defunct (or acquired) middleware vendors of the past; to maximize sales execution strengths for growth by setting vertical go-to-market strategies across their product suite; to organize for innovation particularly through cross-selling the newer products into mature opportunities; to cultivate their brand; and to manage for growth and continued profitability, in part by branching beyond their direct sales force, which has been a significant strength for them in the past, to invest in partner and SI relationships to broaden their sales further.

Rode spoke briefly about acquisitions (we’re slated for a longer session on this later today), and positioned Nimbus as having applicability to core infrastructure in terms of analytics and events, not just BPM. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. In general, their focus is on smaller acquisitions to complement and enhance their core offering, rather than big ones that would be much harder to align with their current offerings.

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