Software // Information Management
Commentary
5/3/2007
11:51 AM
Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Commentary
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TIBCO Spots Opportunity in Analytics

We are seeing the market for analytics change again with TIBCO's announcement that it plans to acquire Spotfire, a rapidly growing provider of analytics for operations management. This merger will bring analytics to a leading information bus and business process management provider… TIBCO's CEO, Vivek Ranadivé, espouses the building of a predictive business, something that cannot be accomplished without analytics…

We're seeing the market for analytics change again with TIBCO's announcement that it plans to acquire Spotfire, a rapidly growing provider of analytics for operations management. This merger will bring a significant analytics software business under the ownership of a leading information bus and business process management (BPM) provider.

TIBCO certainly is no stranger to applying analytics. Nonetheless, at first I was surprised by this move; until now, TIBCO has focused on service-oriented architecture (SOA) and integration technology for business events and activities and BPM. But TIBCO's CEO, Vivek Ranadivé, espouses the building of a predictive business, something that cannot be accomplished without analytics, which may suggest the reasoning behind acquiring Spotfire. Of course, ultimately it's about business: TIBCO, which has been investing in its information bus and complementary technologies and has made several acquisitions over the years, is looking for ways to expand what it sells to its customers. The acquisition lets it tap into Spotfire's base in operations and lines of business and to demonstrate to those customers the relevance of monitoring events and activities while applying analytics.Some observers insist that business process management and SOA will swallow analytics and business intelligence, but I disagree. Most adoption of BPM systems has been by two groups of early innovators: business-side types trying to get beyond the politics of organizational responsibility to establish effective processes across divisions, or those on the technology side wanting to streamline the flow of messaging and transactions. Neither of these groups can reach its goal without applying analytics, but they alone aren't enough, since by themselves analytics do not empower decision making.

There's plenty of room for the BI and analytics market for IT and the lines of business to grow; most organizations have barely scratched the surface in providing timely and accurate information to their operational workers. These requirements can be viewed as part of business process management, but BPM does not replace them. Business process management is a viable way to support processes, but few organizations have taken on company politics to make it possible to change their hierarchical organizational structures.

TIBCO's acquisition will broaden and deepen its capabilities. Adding Spotfire also will strengthen its presence in the BPM space through enabling the use of analytics by the lines of business, whether or not they directly focus on process improvement. Spotfire in turn will have access to new resources under TIBCO and the opportunity to expand its footprint in operations by taking advantage of integration points that are not readily available to most BI providers.

Unquestionably, this deal introduces new perspectives on the direction of the IT marketplace. This year is definitely shaping up to be a very busy one for this type of acquisition.

Let me know your thoughts.

Mark Smith is CEO And Senior Vice President of Research at Ventana Research. Write to him at mark.smith@ventanaresearch.com.We are seeing the market for analytics change again with TIBCO's announcement that it plans to acquire Spotfire, a rapidly growing provider of analytics for operations management. This merger will bring analytics to a leading information bus and business process management provider… TIBCO's CEO, Vivek Ranadivé, espouses the building of a predictive business, something that cannot be accomplished without analytics…

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