TIBCO was in town (as in London) the other week, talking about 'big data.' I'll say right off the bat it's an expression I find almost as loathsome as 'social media' and 'cloud.' It's a sad fact but the technology business is very much like the fashion industry. In that regard I echo what Larry Ellison, CEO Oracle said in 2009: "Last year it was fuschsia, this year it's puce." Nevertheless, we're stuck with these awful expressions and have to make the best of them. In that vein, I sat down with Matt Quinn, CTO TIBCO to get their take on the topic.
Chris Taylor ran a detailed write up of our conversation. The key point:
He described a world not where we see reports weeks later about where fraud [as example] took place, but instead see data moving as events while fraud is occurring or even is most likely to occur. There are even indicators to the start of a fraud pattern that allow businesses to get a jump on what’s about to happen.
Ultimately, in Quinn’s words, “Challenge number one is very operational, but the second challenge is that Big Data tends to be very domain-specific.”
In other words, you can't take a cookie cutter approach to understanding data and assume that good results will come with the proscriptive application of XYZ tools. There has to be a business specific approach that focuses on outcomes while employing methods that target the industry/business problem.
I like this pragmatic way of viewing the 'big data' problem. It has served TIBCO very well over the years, starting with their middleware (TIB - The Information Bus) which kick started the NASDAQ and which over time has been an integral part of the real time trading platforms that run many of the financial markets.
Elsewhere, TIBCO references both Harrahs and Ceasars Palace as examples in the gaming business. The gaming operators know from past and present behavior patterns when a customer is about to leave and can take action to encourage them to continue spending. Scary? Not really. The customer always has the option to continue to play or leave.
What's different today is that TIBCO has a broad range of tools, methods and specialists with which to address 'big data' both as Quinn says: in motion and at rest. More to the point, as customers increasingly realize the value of being 'in the moment' of business transactions and service, the ability to harvest and respond to activity patterns takes on greater importance. It will be interesting to see how the company positions its customers and the nuances those customers bring to the table.
The good news is that TIBCO is very good at showcasing customers so we can expect to see more as the year progresses.