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Tibco’s recent acquisition of Jaspersoft helps the company fill out its portfolio of business intelligence (BI) and reporting software in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Tibco already offered a range of products in BI and analytics including Tibco Spotfire, an established product for visual data discovery. Jaspersoft and its open source Java reporting tool JasperReports have been around since 2001, and the company says it has 16 million product downloads worldwide, 140,000 production deployments and 2,000 commercial customers in 100 countries. Jaspersoft received attention recently for its partnership with Amazon Marketplace and the ability to embed its system into applications using a credit card and a few simple configuration steps. This example of embedding the technology is an area that Tibco knows well from its history of integrating its technology into enterprise architecture across the planet.

vr_Info_Optimization_08_most_important_analyst_capabilities_updatedThe acquisition is significant given today’s advancements in the Business Intelligence market and the need for tools to serve a variety of users. In some ways their technologies serve the same users – analysts and business users trying to make decisions with data but how they approach it and support a broad set of roles and responsibilities is different.  Tibco Spotfire, Tibco’s approach to business analytics, serves for analytics and visualization with specializing in visual discovery and data exploration while Jaspersoft addresses the query and analyze, reporting, dashboards and other aspects of BI. According to our benchmark research on information optimization, the capabilities business users most often need are to drill into information within applications (37%), search for data (36%) and collaborate (27%). For analysts, the most necessary capabilities are extracting data (39%), designing and integrating metrics (37%) and developing policies and rules for access (34%). With Jaspersoft, Tibco can address both groups and also can embed intelligence and reporting capabilities into operationally oriented environments across range of business applications.

vr_oi_challenges_using_bi_for_operational_intelligenceThe acquisition makes sense in that more capabilities are needed to address the expanding scope of business intelligence and analytics. In practice, it will be interesting to see how the open source community and culture of Jaspersoft meshes with the culture of Tibco’s Spotfire division. For now, Jaspersoft will continue as a separate division so business likely will continue as usual until management decides specific areas of integration. With respect to development efforts, it will be critical to blend the discovery capabilities of Tibco Spotfire with Jaspersoft’s reporting which will be a formidable challenge.  Another key to success will be how Tibco integrates both with the capabilities from Extended Results, a mobile business intelligence provider Tibco bought in 2013. Mobility is an area where Ventana Research found Jaspersoft significantly lacking, so the Extended Results capabilities should prove useful. Finally, Tibco’s event-enabled infrastructure will likely play a key role as the company continues to invest in operational intelligence for event-focused information gathering and delivery. Our operational intelligence research has found a lack of integration from business intelligence like that of Jaspersoft with event streams like from Tibco to be a major challenge in over half (51%) of organizations. This is a potential opportunity for Tibco as it looks at future integration of the technologies.

The Jaspersoft acquisition is not surprising given recent changes in the BI market. The category, which just a few years ago was vr_Info_Optimization_01_whos_responsible_for_information_availabilityconsidered mature and well-defined, is expanding to include areas such as analytic discovery tools, advanced analytics and big data. The union of Tibco Spotfire, which primarily targets line-of-business professionals from analysts to knowledge worksers, and Jaspersoft, a more IT-centered company, reflects the need for the industry to bridge a divide that exists in many organizations where IT is publishing dashboards and reports to business.  The challenge of using information across business and IT was found in our latest research, revealed in our information optimization benchmark research, shows that information management these days is most often (in 42% of organizations) a joint responsibility of IT and the lines of business , although IT is involved in some capacity in four-fifths of them. It remains to be seen whether the joint company can take on major competitors that have far more cash resources and take a similar approach.

Preliminary indicators show a good fit between these two organizations. Customers from each will be introduced to important new tools and capabilities from the other. One of the first likely moves for Tibco will be to introduce the 2,000 commercial customers and global presence of Jaspersoft to the broader portfolio. We advise those customers to evaluate what Tibco offers, especially those from Tibco Spotfire which continues to be a leader in the visual data discovery market. Before investing, however, customers and prospects should demand clarity on the company’s plans for technical integration of analytics and how these will fit with organizations long-term business intelligence and analytics roadmaps. Tibco customers migrating to the cloud should investigate the work Jaspersoft is doing with companies like Amazon and consider whether the embedded approach to interactive reporting can fit with their analytics, cloud and application strategies.

The opportunity for Tibco to advance business analytics is significant through this acquisition but it has historically not been as progressive in its marketing and sales of analytics compared to others in the market. The demand for visual discovery and big data analytics has grown dramatically with over three quarters of organizations according to our research has shown as overall important. Big data analytics and visualization is an area that Spotfire had innovated before Tibco acquisition but has not seen its fair share of growth with the buying trends. The opportunity for Tibco to provide analytics and BI that can further leverage the entire Tibco portfolio of integration, event processing, cloud and social collaboration software products is upon them, let’s see how they do. It now needs to supercharge its analytics efforts significantly with leveraging its new products from Jaspersoft.


Tony Cosentino

VP and Research Director

Over the years Tibco has provided infrastructure for enterprise data integration and has built a substantial installed base. Now the company positions itself as supplying next-generation analytics for big data through service-oriented architecture (SOA). SOA has been around for a while; Ventana Research has been tracking it since 2006 and conducted benchmark research on SOA. But it remains a vaguely understood technology. Our research shows that SOA is not clearly defined in the market and that interpretations vary across the software industry. The basic function of an SOA is to provide common components and a common implementation that enable programmers to plug in and share applications through open application programming interfaces (APIs). In recent years, SOA has morphed into more of a general approach than a fixed set of standards. SOA architectures (though not always called SOA) are at the heart of modern platforms such as, Facebook and Amazon Web Services. In SOA Tibco competes with IBM and Oracle, among others.

The company’s promotion of SOA is unique; none of its competitors lead with it. Originally, SOA standards were based on the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), but in the past few years standards based onREpresentational State Transfer (REST) have been gaining more adoption. From an architectural and development perspective, however, SOA is still quite viable, and for this reason Tibco’s messaging strategy may succeed. Our research shows that as business use of mobile devices grows, so will adoption of distributed architectures such as SOA and cloud computing.

From this SOA orientation, Tibco introduced Tibco Silver for cloud computing in 2009. While Silver was originally compared by some to Amazon’s EC2, it is more of a development environment that needs a public cloud infrastructure to run its applications. In fact, Tibco Silver now uses Amazon Web Services as its infrastructure provider to offer services such as its Spotfire product (which I will discuss later). Beyond Spotfire, Tibco Silver offers private cloud as well as public cloud services including grid computing resources and platform as a service (PaaS). Tibco differentiates its cloud products competitively in two ways. The first is dynamic provisioning, in which the system automatically provisions the necessary resources to meet the demand for a growing customer base. The second differentiator is to embed in it the company’s complex event processing (CEP) software, BusinessEvents.

The BusinessEvents software is a key part of the company’s strategy. CEP, covered in our benchmark research on operational intelligence, is about processing and analyzing multiple data streams in real time. To illustrate, think of what a car’s computing system does at the moment of a collision. Reacting to a number of signals, the computer is able to process input and command the airbag to deploy within a fraction of a second. This is CEP in a specific, contained environment. Tibco is one of the leaders in this CEP category and competes against companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. The company also sells CEP to a range of industries. One of the prominent sectors is travel where it helps airlines and railroads make real-time adjustments to factors such as schedules and personnel in response to changing weather conditions.

The fastest-growing product in the Tibco portfolio is Tibco Spotfire, its visual discovery and analytics tool. Tibco positions Spotfire between what the company sees as standard BI reporting tools, such as IBM Cognos, Oracle OBIEE and SAP Business Objects, and the statistical “heavy lifting” tools such as SAS, SPSS and the R packages. Spotfire 4.5, released in May, provides robust visualization capabilities and iterative analysis capabilities through its associative discovery model and in-memory processing engine. Spotfire is one of a growing class of data discovery tools that employ either an interactive visual approach or a search-based approach. Of the two, Tibco Spotfire is in the former category. A demonstration of the software impressed me with its ease of use, intuitive qualities and graphing of embedded predictive analytic functions.

It’s important to note that other companies are not standing still in this area. Almost all of the major players have products in the visualization space including IBM Cognos Insight, MicroStrategy Visual Insights, Oracle’s integration of Endeca into the Exalytics platform and SAS Visual Analytics Explorer. Visualization features and functionality may have been a competitive advantage a year ago, but most companies are catching up and basic visualization aspects now are table stakes in a market where the leading edge is shifting toward collaboration and mobile access.

In short, Tibco’s strategy is to insist that SOA and CEP are essential to enable the near-real-time responses to changes in business conditions and customer demand that will convey competitive advantage in the future. These capabilities are part of the latest release of Spotfire 4.5 where it also supports access to Hadoop data and can access predictive analytics from providers like MathWorks and SAS. The market seems to approve of it, as Tibco’s stock price has gone up 50 percent this year and retail revenue doubled year over year. Some of the strength in retail likely derives from Tibco providing Amazon’s next-best-offer (NBO) analytics, which it can use to pitch predicative analytics to other major retailers.

Tibco is transitioning itself as well as its customers from a 20th century enterprise integration model to a 21st century analytics model. Organizations considering both stand-alone visual discovery tools and tools that integrate CEP into the analytical mix should look to Tibco. It also offers a one-year trial version of its Spotfire software that enables companies to test-drive the product for an extended period.


Tony Cosentino

Vice President and Research Director

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