Tibco: Riding the Bus

By Joshua Weinberger Print this article Print

The Palo Alto, Calif., company—famed for its enterprise application integration capabilities—is trying to corner the market in the real-time distribution of business information. Read what real-life customers have to say about what their deploym

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Vivek Y. Ranadivé
Chairman, President, CEO
Founded the company in 1985. His book, "The Power of Now," about how companies can harness real-time technology, was a bestseller.

Bradley Rode
EVP, Products and Technology
Prior to joining Tibco, Mr. Rode was president and CEO of both iPIN, a provider of electronic payment technologies, and of Internet Profiles (I/PRO).

The firm's core real-time product, ActiveEnterprise, comprises a slew of "Active" modules, including Exchange, Portal, and Extensibility.

Riding the bus
Tibco's client list is an impressive array of big-time players, especially in the financial world. The firm's original name—Teknekron Software Systems—belies its blue-blood pedigree (Reuters' stake, while dwindling, is still sizable). Best known for bus messaging—the publishing of critical data embedded deep within the infrastructure of business processes—Tibco has managed to make itself essential to all kinds of ongoing operations. Delta Air Lines, for example, has made the software integral to its "central nervous system." (See our Case Dissection, "Delta's Last Stand.")

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Harrah's was one of Tibco's first gaming customers. Now the hotel-casino, impressed by Tibco's stable of financial clients, "uses Tibco all the way, top to bottom," says CIO Tim Stanley. "We like them because they treat us the way we like to treat our customers—in a very personalized way."

After deciding that "Tibco was the way to integrate everything," Harrah's can now "sign up a new customer and publish [that data] to all of our other systems, so that they're aware of that customer." The benefits of that "paid for the whole Tibco suite," the cost of which, Stanley adds, "is breathtaking—for us, anyway. This is our largest software license purchase on a stand-alone basis." Stanley's two-year, "all-you-can eat" pricing plan is an inducement to turn to Tibco as often as possible: "There's a serious incentive to use it—you can find a way to get it on a project no matter what." Cendant Hotel Group's Nick Forte has regrets, but only about speed. "It was a beast—it was very stressful," he says. "Though we learned a lot and we're better for it, I wish we'd taken baby steps instead of the big steps we took. We should have [asked for] more 'dog-and-pony' shows, more 'proof-of-concepts'—we could have spent a little bit of money there."

Iomega's Kevin Watson also sees the benefit of a slow approach. With Tibco, "there's a strong learning curve that should not be underestimated," he says. "We are not rushing to implement Tibco as fast as possible," he says. "We will leverage the software as we reach 'crossroad' opportunities—if we're upgrading a tool from a point-to-point solution, we may make the shift to Tibco at that time." Other users agree on the importance of a solid plan. Union Pacific, for one, "took much longer than expected to implement the first project," says Mark S. Davis. "The issues weren't Tibco issues or technical issues, but business-process development issues around creating a new B2B exchange."

For Meridian Health Care Management's Stephen Tiffany, "the only thing that gave us pause was that they didn't have a large footprint in the health-care industry. That diminished as we realized we weren't solving a health-care problem—we were solving a technology problem." (Meridian's aim: to speed regulatory compliance.) Knowing that its customers feel confident on that score is something Tibco probably enjoys messaging around.

This article was originally published on 2003-04-09
Assistant Editor
After being on staff at The New Yorker for five years, Josh later traveled the world, hitting all seven continents in a single year. At Yale University, he majored in American Studies, English, and Theatre Studies.

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