Global CIO: Calling Oracle & IBM Outdated, Tibco Launches Enterprise 3.0 - InformationWeek

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Government // Enterprise Architecture
Commentary
5/11/2010
10:42 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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Global CIO: Calling Oracle & IBM Outdated, Tibco Launches Enterprise 3.0

Tibco CEO Vivek Ranadive' describes how event-driven businesses anticipate demand and stop problems before they happen. (Part 1 of a 2-part series.)

In an industry bloated with buzzwords lacking meaning and tech fads seeking value, the arrival of a new term like "Enterprise 3.0" will surely be met with a lot of skepticism, criticism, and doubt.

But that's okay with Tibco CEO Vivek Ranadive, who's touting Enterprise 3.0 as a new event-driven approach to enterprise-level technology that eliminates the need for endless hunting for vital information and instead creates systems that delivers "the right information to the right place at the right time--and in the right context."

Ranadive's core strategy is simple: companies today are becoming overwhelmed by exponentially increasing volumes of data requiring exponentially faster analysis—and that's only part of their problem. Even if they can handle those first two significant problems, he says, they're still stuck in the role of historians: telling people a lot about things that have already happened.

In an interview at Tibco's global customer conference this week in Las Vegas, Ranadive' (ruh-nuh-DEE-vay) exposed that constrained model quite starkly with a series of simple questions:

"What's the point of knowing you've lost the customer after you've lost the customer?," he asked. "What's the point of knowing that your network is gonna go down after the network goes down? What's the point of knowing there's gonna be a power outage after the power's already gone?"

That trap of being forced to react rather than taking the initiative to anticipate and lead is a simple function of technology that is no longer up to the challenges of an online-centric global economy and highly mobile lifestyles in which people are deluged with information but starved for the context that allows them to find the right information out of that staggering volume.

And the difference between the old models and systems that point into the past versus the new Enterprise 3.0 vision that anticipates the future is the difference between the transaction-centric approach of today and the event-centric approach that Ranadive' says will rule tomorrow.

"I've dedicated my life to a very simple concept, which is if you get the right information to the right place at the right time and put it in the right context, then you can make the world a better place," he said. "The problem is that while the volume of information keeps going up and up and up exponentially, the shelf life of that information—the useful life of that information—keeps coming down and down and down. And the amount of time you have to react to it is also coming down and down and down.

"So in order to have that superfine market segmentation, not just by person but by situation, means that you're gonna have to deal with massive amounts of information—exponentially more information. So in the case of the telco example: they look at every single customer uniquely, and look at what they call a fingerprint—and then look at every single fingerprint on the network, and there are billions of these fingerprints, and do that all in real time—while it's happening. And do it proactively, so that you're not asking for something; instead, it's coming to you" (my emphasis).

That final point—the information is coming to you, rather than you having to go and try to sort through mountains of data to try to find what you want—is a specific by-product of seeing the world as event-driven rather than transaction-driven. And it will be the difference between what Ranadive calls "20th-century software companies" and modern, Enterprise 3.0 leaders like Tibco, which in March posted quarterly revenue of $155 million.

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"I think of Tibco as the first 21st-century enterprise software company," Ranadive said. "And I think there'll be more. Other 21st-century companies—Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Google are all examples of that—but Tibco's the first enterprise software company that's focused on some of these concepts so that customers can be more opportunistic, just as you are with social networks; customers can take advantage of unexpected opportunities or can prevent unexpected threats, and that's what it's really about."

Here's why Ranadive' believes Tibco deserves such a mantle, and how it is going to do for customers what those previous-century software companies cannot:

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