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Analysis

TIBCO's strategy for Enterprise 3.0
Simon Holloway By: Simon Holloway, Practice Leader - Process Management & RFID, Bloor Research
Published: 15th October 2010
Copyright Bloor Research © 2010
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At the end of September 2010, TIBCO unveiled their strategy to support “Enterprise 3.0” at TIBCO NOW. To understand the strategy, you first need to understand what Enterprise 3.0 is all about.

The term was coined by Sramana Mitra who is an an entrepreneur and has been a strategy consultant in Silicon Valley since 1994. Mitra defines Enterprise 3.0 as an organisation, being a confederation of customers, partners, suppliers, outsourcers, distributors, resellers, and other kinds of entities, rather than one monolithic organisation. “Collaboration” and “sharing” become the key words in making this all work. However, TIBCO have a simpler view of Enterprise 3.0 as the evolution of the traditional transaction-based enterprise into one where real-time event-based information is taking an ever more important role.

Stefan Farestam, TIBCO’s EMEA Director of Product Marketing defined the difference between Enterprise 2.0 and 3.0 as:

  • Information has moved from being static to dynamic in nature
  • Processing has moved from transaction-based to event-based
  • Processing of data has moved from database to Enterprise Service Bus
  • Applications have moved from ERP to BPMS based sitting on top of legacy applications
  • Business intelligence has moved to real time business rules
  • From a 2 dimensional world to a 3 dimensional one.

Farestam went on to explain how TIBCO were going to help organisations achieve what he called “The Two Second Advantage”—using a quote from Vivek Ranadive “A little bit of the right information, just a little before hand—whether it is a couple of seconds, minutes or hours—is more valuable than all of the information in the world weeks or months later.” Farestam and other presenters illustrated this concept by talking about a number of TIBCO customer scenarios showing how business is event-based, whereas IT systems are transaction-based:

  • Citibank, in Hong Kong, where they track all financial events that preceded the withdrawal of cash at the ATM and intelligently guesses that the person withdrawing cash is, for example, at the hospital with his pregnant wife and thus interested in a promotion for baby store.
  • Southwest Airlines, who are able to notify customers when a flight is delayed or cancelled (and rebook automatically) and reroute flights.
  • Bank of America, who have 145 million customers and 10–20 thousand events per second, which adds up to 1 billion events (not processes) per second.

Alan Harrington, Worldwide Director of Business Optimization, added to this theme by saying, “Organisations have massive amounts of data and more events but with little time to understand them. The pace of business is not going to change so this situation will only be exasperated.” Harrington went to suggest that there were 4 critical requirements to providing a solution to this issue:

  • The ability to handle events on a massive scale;
  • Universal development tools that allow an organisation freedom to innovate;
  • The ability to integrate people naturally; and
  • The ability to deploy software where and when you needed it.

Harrington and then Thierry Schang, Vice-President Engineering, then described how TIBCO’s new universal platform would support Enterprise 3.0 and the 2-Second Advantage. Figure 1 shows the high-level architecture diagram that was used.

Architecture diagram

Figure 1:TIBCO ActiveMatrix Universal Application Platform (Source: TIBCO)

This product architecture shows how TIBCO have, over the last few years, been pulling together their various acquisitions and home grown products into a single cohesive whole that is able to work together as one, whilst, at the same time, being open to work with competitor products. However this still doesn’t cover the whole portfolio, such as Spotfire for business intelligence and the new Silver suite, which is part of the part of the Deploy message providing build-scale environment to develop for clouds. It consists of:

  • Silver Fabric: construct self-service clouds
  • Silver Grid: local and external cloud scalable deployments
  • Silver CAP: develop solutions for clouds
  • Silver BPM: run BPM solutions in the cloud
  • Plus applications built on the platform such as Silver Formline, tibbr, and Silver Spotfire.

To support the need for an application development environment which supplies the ability to innovate freely, TIBCO have what is now branded ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks; their model-driven approach to application integration and process orchestration that requires no coding. As part of this environment, there is a free download TIBCO Business Studio Developer.

TIBCO now have some 130 adapters that form their ActiveMatrix Adapters product to support the needs of businesses to integrate naturally. The engine driving integration is ActiveMatrix Enterprise Service Bus. This is a key component in TIBCO’s support for SOA. An underlying grid-based architecture makes it possible to scale up and out dynamically at runtime. To support the building of composite applications, TIBCO have ActiveMatrix Service Grid, which is built on open standards, thus being complete application neutral with support for both Java and .NET.

Governance, from TIBCO’s viewpoint, includes Management. I am not sure that I fully agree with this. There is often confusion between monitoring and management; I see the former as the passive ability to see what is happening while management is about active control. TIBCO have an impressive portfolio of products, including ActiveMatrix Service Performance Manager, which provides active management of SLAs, and Hawk. The other 2 components on offer to support Governance is TIBCO ActiveMatrix Lifecycle Governance Framework, which provides an SOA registry and repository foundation, and ActiveMatrix Policy Manager, which defines policies across services hosted on heterogeneous SOA environments, mediated by the ActiveMatrix Service Bus and through TIBCO ActiveMatrix Service Bus for authentication and authorisation, encryption, logging, auditing, and service versioning.

That leaves Process in their diagram. TIBCO, through ActiveMatrix, are providing solutions for in-house and cloud as well as for complex event processing. What wasn’t clear to me was if or how ActiveMatrix BPM and Silver BPM are connected to TIBCO’s CEP product BusinessEvents.

Figure 2: TIBCO ActiveMatrix BPM Architecture (Source: TIBCO)

Justin Blunt, Senior Product Manager for BPM, presented TIBCO’s solutions as 3rd Generation BPM. Interesting; have we already reached that number?! If we forget which generation, TIBCO, since the Staffware acquisition, have always been able to place them at the top of the pile in BPM, and many analyst reviews have it placed in the top area. TIBCO understand how critical to business processes are in terms of supporting customers, delivering goods and services and managing operations. They also recognise that business processes involve not just applications/systems but also people, both inside and outside organisation boundaries. Our business processes don’t exist on their own. The critical mission, as TIBCO sees it, is to manage business processes as a managed service within an organisation. To aid the speed of development, TIBCO have developed the concept of “workflow patterns”. These provide built-in, model-driven support for control, resource, and data patterns (an initiative based on the work of a joint effort of Eindhoven University of Technology and Queensland University of Technology), eliminating the need for complex code or rules.

This was the first time that I have started to understand how the TIBCO portfolio fits together. Yes there are some still some holes, but that is more due to time-constraints of trying to cram into a set time, information on the complete portfolio. Bloor applaud TIBCO for developing a strategy that both pulls together all their product portfolio into a seamless whole whilst at the same time being able to offer the ability to switch parts of the portfolio out because of the big use of open standards. Well done TIBCO. More please.

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