Business Intelligence Towards the Event–Enabled Company – A Business Intelligence Trend

Author / Editor: Charles Butcher / Dominik Stephan

Unless you are an information technology professional you may not have heard of Tibco Software. As middleware – the computer “glue” that holds disparate IT systems together – most of Tibco’s products operate behind the scenes. And with 3,000 employees and a turnover below $1 billion, the California-based firm is small compared to competitors such as IBM and Oracle. Yet among clients including Intel, Merck, and Procter & Gamble, Tibco has a reputation for helping companies analyze and respond quickly to the flood of data which characterizes modern business.

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Senior Vice President, Worldwide Marketing (TIBCO Software Inc.)Mr. Verma is known for his vision into – and insightful strategy with – new and emerging technology markets. Responsible for TIBCO’s Product Strategy, Product Management, Product Marketing, Field Marketing, Corporate Communications, Branding, and Customer Programs worldwide, Mr. Verma has made major contributions to TIBCO’s continued acceleration in the enterprise software market.
Senior Vice President, Worldwide Marketing (TIBCO Software Inc.)Mr. Verma is known for his vision into – and insightful strategy with – new and emerging technology markets. Responsible for TIBCO’s Product Strategy, Product Management, Product Marketing, Field Marketing, Corporate Communications, Branding, and Customer Programs worldwide, Mr. Verma has made major contributions to TIBCO’s continued acceleration in the enterprise software market.
(Picture: Tibco)

Tibco’s slogan “The power of now” reflects its view that business information works best if it can be instantly harnessed across an organization. The “Tib” in Tibco stands for “the information bus”, a term coined by Indian founder and CEO Vivek Ranadivé to describe a lightning-fast software pipe analogous to the hardware bus which carries data between computer components. From its 1980s roots in real-time information systems for Wall Street traders, Tibco has promoted data handling in computer memory as a replacement for slower disk-based databases.

The Event–Enabled Company – What's Under the Hood?

A key concept in Tibco’s world view is the “event-enabled enterprise”, explains Raj Verma, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Marketing. An organization is event-enabled if it can react instantly to changes, including those outside the scope of traditional IT transactions. Events include changes to internal IT systems, interactions between employees and customers, and website page views.

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Knowledge Management Is Good – Interactive Reaction is Better

“For instance, one of the big banks had no ability to monitor the fact that someone was clicking on the mortgage calculator on their website. That meant nothing to them,” Verma says. “If I did that with an event-enabled bank, they would know that Raj has been calculating mortgages three times in the last 24 hours – he must be serious.” This knowledge allows the bank to respond instantly by offering an online chat with a mortgage specialist, or by sending a mortgage offer to an existing customer.

“It’s the ability to see all the events that happen, correlate them with other events and then infer whether they are worth actioning, either to take advantage of an opportunity or avoid a problem,” Verma says. “And the window of opportunity can be very short. As the amount of data in the world goes up, the useful life of that data is shrinking, and so is the time available to respond.”

But not only the lifetime is important – read what to expect when handling big data on page 2!

Business Intelligence Concepts for Handling Big Data

The challenge of handling “big data” quickly and cleverly is not limited to business-to-consumer (B2C) applications, explains Matt Quinn, Tibco’s Chief Technology Officer.

For instance, since August 2011 US electricity supplier Con Edison of New York has been working with Tibco and Siemens on a smart grid demonstration project. Tibco’s enterprise messaging technology will provide a scalable framework for real-time information about power demand and network availability. “The ability to use real-time data to manage system assets, detect early warning signs and act immediately to resolve potential problems before they occur is necessary to maintain predictable power and help keep businesses running,” said Murat Sonmez, Tibco’s executive vice president, Global Field Operations. The project is scheduled to finish in May 2013.

What Does Service Oriented Architecture Mean?

Within enterprise IT the buzzwords are service oriented architecture (SOA) and enterprise application integration (EAI), and EAI in particular is difficult to do well. The use of SAP can sometimes impose a “one size fits all” IT structure, Matt Quinn points out, so the intelligent use of middleware is important in regaining competitive advantage.

Business Intelligence: One For All – All for One!

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck has an IT infrastructure comprising over 100 applications, many of them custom-built. Tibco software provides an integration platform that allows Merck to automate business processes across multiple applications. The Tibco platform publishes data from SAP and allows multiple systems to subscribe to this data in real time, so when business needs change it is relatively easy to add or remove applications.

Learn, how Merck makes best use of its production assets with the help of business intelligence on the next page!

How Software Solutions Provide Optimum Asset Management

“The TIBCO solution will enable Merck to gain the maximum value out of existing enterprise-wide assets while also allowing us to respond more quickly to existing and new business opportunities,” said Clark Golestani, Chief Architect and Executive Director with Merck and Co. The project has cut in-house software development costs by 35 percent, Merck estimates.

What is Important to Make Best Use of Business Intelligence?

Data analysis and visualization are important in making good use of business intelligence. In 2007 Tibco acquired Spotfire, a Swedish-American company which pioneered the use of dashboards to analyze and display disparate and often fast-moving data. Procter & Gamble uses Spotfire as the engine for its Business Spheres – conference rooms each equipped with around 50 m2 of curved screens that allow executives to query up to 200 TB of data in real time. According to Filippo Passerini, P&G’s Chief Information Officer, the system allows the company to make better, faster decisions than were previously possible.

* The author works as a freelance collaborator for PROCESS in the UK.

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