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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Roxanne Uy, Hong Kong
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Digital transformation takes center stage at TIBCO NOW 2016

What are the most common challenges in going digital?

Now more than ever, companies are feeling the pressure of improving their digital offerings as most consumers want their experiences to be as purely digital as possible. Consumers now expect to get loans, pay bills, or even get financial advice via their mobile phones without ever having to go to a bank branch. Similarly, customers interact with airline companies digitally when finding a flight or booking a ticket even before they get on a plane.

The opportunities and challenges brought about by this change in customer preference and behavior are driving each company’s need for digital transformation.

This is what TIBCO Software Inc., a global leader in integration and analytics, wanted to address in the annual TIBCO NOW conference held at the MGM Resort & Casino in Las Vegas from May 17 to 19, 2016.

“Our annual TIBCO NOW conference assembles digital technology experts, as well as the most innovative customers and partners to discuss, share, and collaborate on the opportunities and challenges facing digital businesses today and in the future. This year’s theme, Destination: Digital, embodies TIBCO’s mission to enable attendees to gain a deeper understanding of their customers, ecosystem, and processes to propel their journey towards being a digital enterprise,” said Thomas Been, TIBCO’s chief marketing officer.

TIBCO NOW 2016 is the company’s first conference as a private company after having been a public company for 15 years.

“We are launching the most number of new products and services this year. Moreover, while some conferences may have a strong marketing orientation, TIBCO NOW 2016 has a hard core content orientation. It really is more about products and what we're doing as a technology company,” said Murray Rode, TIBCO’s chief executive officer.

“Our biggest challenge was how to organize it all so it's digestible for people. Fundamentally, this conference was supposed to be a sign of TIBCO's rebirth to some degree.”

The highlights of the conference include keynotes from TIBCO executives as well as special guest speakers such as NASA chief engineer Adam Steltzner and futurist Ray Kurzweil. There were more than 100 breakout sessions arranged in three tracks where industry experts talked about API management, cloud-native architecture, leveraging fast data, the internet of things, and other pertinent trends and issues in IT.

The event was attended by nearly 2,000 IT executives and was supported by 25 sponsors.

Real-time is the new norm
In his keynote speech at the opening day of the conference, Rode said most of the problems and strategies that digital businesses are facing have, at their core, integration and dealing with data analytics as two key needs.

He noted that most of the digital transformations we see today have three common challenges: 1) there is a need for a seamless form of interconnection among the parts that make up the solution; 2) there is a need to move and understand a lot of information in real-time; 3) there is an increasing element of analyzing and predicting what to do next.

“The digital experience of the customer is so dynamic that you have to automate your response in order to really be responsive. A lot of companies used to not care about this whole notion of real-time but today it’s conventional wisdom for everyone: real-time is the new norm,” he added.

From the core to the edge
Another interesting facet of the digital business is that it’s not just about enabling companies to operate more efficiently, but it’s also about giving the customer a richer experience. To enable this, TIBCO is also shifting its focus from the core to the edge.

“It used to be we were selling a lot of technology to improve the core, the systems of record, the data centres. What we’re seeing today is a shift more to the edge. It’s these outer systems, these service points to the customers, that require a slightly different application of the kind of technologies we provide.”

“This is why we have simplified the way we position what we do as falling into two big categories: interconnecting everything (people and processes, systems and data, APIs) and augmenting intelligence (dashboarding, embedded reporting, data visualization, streaming analytics).

Focused innovation
Matt Quinn, TIBCO’s chief technology officer and EVP for products & technology, also spoke about the company’s products and services. “We are continuing to invest a significant amount in focused innovation. From an engineering perspective, it is important to think not just about what we are building, but also how we build them.”

Quinn revealed three core principles that were developed early last year about the way TIBCO builds its products: cloud first, ease of use, and industrialization. “Everybody defines cloud differently. What we wanted to do with our products is think about cloud and cloud architecture first and foremost - whether they are on premise or in the cloud. What we also needed to recognize is that there are multiple different flavors of cloud and cloud journeys,” said Quinn.

Ease of use is all about shortening the time to results. It involves improving user experience, industry solutions and frameworks, and building a community.

Finally, industrialization is about enriching the TIBCO ecosystem, and it is made up of three aspects: improved cross-product integration (85% of customers use more than one TIBCO product, so all products need to be highly integrated to bring more value to customers), improved DevOps support (TIBCO started to work closer with the broader industry to make sure the products fit within other modern architectures.), and internet of things.

“Our goal is to be everywhere. We are expanding the platform where you need us and we're doing it in the easiest possible way,” said Quinn.

New products
Two of the many products launched at the conference were Project Flogo and TIBCO Graph Database. Project Flogo is an ultra-lightweight integration software solution that introduces open source licensing to enable developers in building the broadest open IoT community. Project Flogo functions as one the first design bots for IoT edge application development,with a tile-based, zero-code environment for building and deploying integration and data processing directly onto connected devices.

Meanwhile, the TIBCO Graph Database is a translytical database that transforms a complex web of dynamic data into meaningful, comprehensible, and traversable relationships to help deliver real-time insight and action. It stores all data as intelligent schema that makes it easy to discover and model any relationships as graphs with nodes and edges.

Combined, these technologies increase interconnectivity,augment the intelligence of the Internet of Things (IoT), and expand the edge of Digital Business for organizations.

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