Tibco CEO Dan Streetman On Information Builders Acquisition, Opportunities For Partners

The CEO highlights the synergies between the two vendors’ business analytics products and their data management and integration technologies—and touts Information Builders’ deep vertical industry expertise.

Tibco Software and Information Builders announced a deal Oct. 22 under which Tibco, based in Palo Alto, Calif., will acquire the New York-based developer of business analytics and data management tools for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition is expected to close in early 2021.

Information Builders, founded in 1975, is a pioneer in the business analytics and reporting software industry with its flagship WebFOCUS software, along with its lineup of data preparation, integration, quality and governance tools.

Thanks to a number of acquisitions through the years, Tibco already offers a comprehensive product portfolio that includes its Hyperconverged Analytics software, Any Data Hub data unification tools, and application integration software—all marketed under what it calls its “Connected Intelligence” platform.

In an interview with CRN following the acquisition announcement, Tibco CEO Dan Streetman outlined the strategy behind the acquisition of Information Builders, which he refers to as IBI for Information Builders Inc., described the early plans for integrating the vendors’ product lines, and spoke about what the acquisition means for the two companies’ customers and hundreds of partners.

Tibco already has several business analytics tools from earlier acquisitions like Spotfire and Jaspersoft, and data management software from acquisitions such as Orchestra Networks and SnappyData. Why acquire Information Builders? What does this bring to Tibco that you don’t already have?

From one aspect of it, IBI brings tremendous customer experience—and partner experience—and across different industries as well. They’ve got some great partnerships with companies like Rosnet, who is using IBI to deliver unique solutions to the restaurant industry. The ability to embed analytics and do that in industries where they have additional knowledge is really phenomenal for us.

We’re obviously going to be able to extend this concept we have of hyper-converged analytics to include WebFOCUS and make sure we provide that as well.

There’s also data quality and data integration aspects, which we can bring in to our Any Data Hub strategy. Our whole point here is that data is never going to be in one data lake ever again. It’s not going to be in one place. So, you’re going to rely on your partners, but you’re also going to rely on the right types of tools and solutions that enable you to access that data in the right place. So, the data quality tools, for example, that IBI has developed are also going to be super powerful for us.

It’s the whole aspect of data management as well as advanced analytics. Specifically, with a focus on where we can expand into certain industries and certain expertise that we haven’t necessarily brought to bear. An interesting one is public sector—IBI has some great customers in law enforcement and public sector around law enforcement. Bring that expertise, the products they’ve developed, tie that together, like with what we’re doing with Hyperconverged Analytics, and we think it’s a win-win for us, but particularly for our customers.

Analytics solutions, particularly when you move into that area where real-time data is more and more important, you’ve got to have that domain expertise and industry expertise. Their expertise goes very deep in some industries, which we think is very valuable. We absolutely believe there is a place for some Tibco solutions to bring in and work with their customers. But we also believe things like WebFOCUS really can help build out our Hyperconverged Analytics story.

How does the acquisition expand Tibco’s product offerings in business analytics and data management?

It’s kind of like our customers. We probably have—and again, we’re early in the integration, so I’ll release a lot more of our strategy as this rolls out—but we’ve got, roughly, 20 [percent] to 30 percent overlap in customers. That means there’s 70 percent of customers on both sides where we have an opportunity to go deeper into things like integration or into things like advancing our Any Data Hub. So, first, there’s an option within those customers to make sure that our mission-critical solutions get enhanced.

When we think about it from a product road map perspective, which we’ll share more about, we absolutely believe that data management and data quality are going to support this idea, this strategy around Any Data Hub, where data—no matter where it is—is going to be helpful.

They’ve continued to move up and to the right in Gartner [Magic] Quadrants for both analytics and data management, again, it’s not the be all, end all, but they’ve continued to advance. They’ve also got some great analytics perspective and depth in areas, like we said, that we don’t have, where we think that we can absolutely leverage WebFOCUS to go deliver.

Aside from the Information Builders technology portfolio, what can you say about Tibco’s plans for the company, its operations and its employees?

We’ll share a lot more about that as we complete the integration. As you know, we just announced the acquisition. So our first priority, obviously, just like IBI’s, is customer success. I think the foundational piece is, as we begin talking to [IBI CEO] Frank [Vella] (pictured) and team and really going back to [IBI founder and Chairman Gerald] Cohen’s founding, our values are super well-aligned. Our expertise is well-aligned.

We’re obviously going to find things where we can find synergies in management and approach. But we think that our first priority is clearly understanding exactly how customers and partners are building solutions in the IBI frameworks and then make sure we take the best of that.

It’s early stages to talk about how we’ll operate together. But it’s clearly a point where our team, as well as the IBI team, are enthusiastic about this joining families together and certainly about the opportunity in front of us.

Will Information Builders CEO Frank Vella or founder and Chairman Gerald Cohen have a role in the combined companies?

Everything is to be determined, at this stage, on how we will work. Obviously, I’ve enjoyed working really closely with Frank, who’s the current CEO. And Gerry has been a great supporter of this acquisition, as you saw both of them comment on that in the [acquisition] press release.

And again, what Frank and Gerry have built is an absolute customer-focused organization that has, let’s call it ‘enterprise-grade innovation,’ where they are very much the heart and soul of many of their customers’ analytic strategies. And we also have great customers where we work together, side by side, where they are doing data quality and we’re handling the integration side and the analytics. I think there’s lots of opportunities to work together with the entire team.

We’ll share more about that as we close our acquisition in the first quarter of next year. We’ll let them finish their fiscal year. But we will move very rapidly. Obviously, we are announcing [the acquisition] as early as we can, to share this with our customers—we’ve gotten great feedback from them. We think this is good news for our customers and certainly good news for our partners.

So as soon as we [reached] agreement, we wanted to make sure we announced that the agreement was finalized.

Both Tibco and Information Builders have active partner programs and partner ecosystems. What does this acquisition mean for them?

I think it’s great news for both companies. As [CRN] covered in August [Tibco Hires Former Anaplan, Salesforce Exec As Its New Channel Chief], we have over 400 partners, I think IBI is around nearly 200. A lot of partners are building unique solutions—like I mentioned Rosnet. Another exciting one for me is [IBI partner] Ready Computing. We do a lot of work in pharmaceuticals, for example, and some work in health care. With Ready Computing IBI has built a health-care-specific application that’s called the Healthcare Collaborative. We think that’s an absolute great extension of the work we do with pharmaceutical companies in some of the hospitals we work with. And our partners are going to be right at the core of that.

Both of our companies in the last few years have been on this journey to make sure we are building stronger ecosystems. We’ve invested in enablement, we’ve invested in certification capabilities, we’ve invested in community—making sure that we can deploy solutions alongside our partners with expert services, but not be competing with our partners.

And IBI has been on a similar journey. So I think we’re very-well aligned philosophically, strategically and directionally—making more of our partner networks. Like the big picture, as well as how we think about partners. And, certainly, what we are doing right now, [take] steps to continue to enhance our program.

What potential opportunities does this acquisition and integration of the two companies create for solution provider partners of both Tibco and Information Builders?

Clearly, there’s a huge opportunity for both our partners. Let’s talk IBI’s partners, for example. They’re going to have world-class connect capabilities: integration, API management, integration out to the edge—all the things that Tibco has pioneered and can deliver now, both on-premises and in the cloud.

Our partners are going to have the same capabilities, the ability to build more analytics and more applications to extend, as well as a bigger breadth of customers who understand them.

So I think it’s a win-win for everybody. I would encourage all of our partners—as we are doing—to think in terms of how we are delivering game-changing vertical-type solutions. What we’re all about, much like IBI, is solving the world’s most complex problems. And turning those problems into opportunities. It really means connecting all their data where it is, seamlessly, and intelligently unifying the view of that data, so you have your appropriate data management, your appropriate insights [from] that data, in any place at any time. And then, finally, confidently predict [predictive analytics]. Those second two things, particularly, are key capabilities that the IBI team is going to add to our support for customers, what we can provide for customers.

Final thoughts for customers and partners?

We’re clearly excited about this. We’ve had a lot of conversations with the IBI team. I would say, for just announcing [the acquisition] like we are, we’ve got some really great plans for our joint customers. We’re going to make sure we focus on them.

What this does, it enhances our Connected Intelligence strategy, through and through. We know businesses thrive when we can give them high-quality, trusted data. And then they can use that to fuel faster, smarter decisions. So that is what this is all about.

Our suite of solutions is the Connected Intelligence Platform. The whole makeup of that is, as I say, we need to seamlessly connect, intelligently unify and confidently predict. In the end, that’s what every business needs to do with their data. And they need to do that, increasingly, in real time. The extension of this in the area of analytics is Hyperconverged Analytics where you are going to depend on data coming from a lot of different places, connect in real time, streaming [data]. And then you’re going to want to layer AI and ML [machine learning] into that. We’ve been working hard at this and IBI’s been doing the same thing. This is a great time to bring the solutions together.