SMB Research – Taking Stock: Interop, TIBCO, HP, Facebook, Thomson Reuters

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TIBCO‘s  TUCON® 2011 which started this morning in Las Vegas should be fun to watch.  TIBCO likes to call itself the platform for events, with a value proposition is all around mining data with an event-driven approach, to enable a company to  “do the exact right thing at the exact right moment in time”.  In its 3rd quarter results call (transcript courtesy of Seeking Alpha) TIBCO is reporting their 7th consecutive quarter of revenue growth of more than 20%, and earnings per share growth exceeding 30% – and are reporting a 60-70% increase in attendance at this year’s TUCON event.

While TIBCO  has thus far, for the most part, it seems to us, had a bit less of a play in SMB, while finding more than its fair share of large deals in larger enterprises, TIBCO predicts that eventually most companies will decide to have an events engine in their enterprise, just as they now have a database engine and a transaction backbone.  TIBCO’s most significant offering (by revenue) continues to be their Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) solutions designed to facilitate the kind of technology integration often found within larger enterprises.   Their social collaboration, tibbr (their social collaboration solution), however, is coming on strong (albeit from a low base) – showing triple digit growth, quarter-over-quarter (TIBCO expects to have “10 million people on it over the next few years”).  TIBCO and Vivek Ranadivé are of course most famous for the oft-cited “Two-Second Advantage”.   (See Vivek Ranadivé’s book, “The Two-Second Advantage: How We Succeed by Anticipating the Future–Just Enough” on Amazon.)

 

Tough slot.  On top of all of the recent HP news, and the same morning that news broke that the HP Board was likely to sack Leo Apotheker, HP’s Rich Papaioannou with HP’s Solution Partner organization was slated to address the ASCII SUCCESS Summit near Boston this past week.  Rich was refreshingly candid, saying that he was surprised as anyone to hear news that HP was going to get out of the WebOS business, and conceded that HP’s messaging had been creating a lot of FUD.  Using ‘whatever happens’ repeatedly, Rich strove, with uncertain success,  to instill some confidence into the audience of MSP (managed service providers), VARS, and other service providers.  Rich went out of his way to talk about HP’s Personal Systems Group as a $41B entity, and talked about HP’s reinvigorated effort to reach out to their channel partners, and emphasized Todd Bradley’s leadership of the PSG group.  (The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Todd Bradley has in fact coveted for some time the possibility of his being able to lead HP’s Personal Systems Group as a separate company.)  Rich also revealed that HP defines SMB by number of seats, specifically any company with 999 or fewer seats.

 

Facebook.   It seems that as soon as you get used to some new changes with Facebook, they decide to give you yet a few more new things to figure out.  (The maelstrom around F8 appears to be just beginning.)  When did social media get to be so difficult?  SMB Research cannot help but wonder how touch Zuckerberg and Cox and team are with what appears to be an increasingly restive user base.

Facebook, however, may be doing at least one thing right.  If the small business can figure out how to take advantage of Facebook (which is far from a given), the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Facebook will be giving away some $10M of advertising credits ($50 credits to as many as 200,000 small businesses), in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).   While there should be some forthcoming information from a series of roadshows (check with your local Chamber or NFIB office), the credits are reported to be awarded starting in January 2012 .  If you are a business who has been putting off looking at how to leverage Facebook, now might be the time.

 

The GSMI‘s Social Media Strategies Summit, held last week in Boston, then, was well-timed from this standpoint.  Among the more relevant speakers, it seems, was Intel‘s Social Media Strategist, Ekaterina Walter, who gave an insightful and well-delivered  presentation (“Effective Facebook Engagement to Grow your Fan Base”) on how to use and leverage Facebook.   Jeffrey Hazlett earlier started off the day in exuberant fashion, delivering four clear points, even while entertaining and inciting the audience:

  • Set clear conditions of satisfaction:  How are you going to assess you use and results from social media?
  • Cause tension: if you are going to use social media, do it in am impactful way.
  • Be Who You are: Be honest and transparent, if you want to be seen and be trusted.
  • No one is going to Die: Sweat the details, sure, but remember that no one is going to die from your mistakes.

 

Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) Mobile Fast Pitch.  SMB Research was very privileged, also this past week, to have been invited with a select group of other companies to have a breakfast roundtable with Thomson ReutersBob Schukai (Global Head of Mobile Technology) and Mike Askew (Head of Emerging Technology), an event sponsored by MassTLC, and the New England Venture Capital Association (NEVCA).  Messrs. Askew and Schukai brought different roles (obviously) as well as different styles to what turned out to be a fascinating and wide-ranging discussion covering mobile and content strategy, emerging technologies, mobile platforms, security, consumerization of IT, HTML5, and content curation.

Bob Schukai, fresh from a conversation with someone intimately involved with Android, had some interesting perspective to share abut Thomson Reuters’ Android strategy.  Mr. Schukai also feels that there needs to be a new approach to building apps for mobile that is more about building a new user experience from the ground up, and less about downsizing desktop apps to the mobile formfactor.   Another interesting part of the session revolved around content, and whether in fact content is being so commoditized that it has been trumped by user experience now as the real source of value.  Has this happened already?

 

Zakipoint.  Wile waiting for a 1:1 with Mike Askew, I had the chance to intersect with several of the other individuals in attendance.   Among them, Ramesh Kumar in particular piqued my interest when he started talking about predictive analytic techniques for customer acquisition and retention.  Ramesh’s firm, Zakipoint is developing a set of on-line courses (mixture of free and paid content) designed to bridge the knowledge gap in enterprises between data scientists and decision makers on application of predictive analytics.   Are you in the early stages of trying to understand predictive analytics?  Would  you would like to help Zakipoint refine the content and delivery mechanism?  Ramesh would value your participation in this survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/P3WKGDX   (NOTE:  SMB Research has no involvement in putting this survey together, or in conducting the survey;  neither will SMB Research see the results, or have any involvement in the how the results are used by Zakipoint.)

 

Jim Heaton.  SMB Research enjoyed catching up last week also with long-time friend (and still one of the smartest people we know), Jim Heaton.  His extraordinary breadth and depth of knowledge (and not just on the history of AMR Research, of which he was part from the earliest days)  makes every conversation a bit of a brain workout. If you are looking for a serious  consultant who can do some heavy-lifting in the areas of  emerging technologies, particularly real-time automation technology and architecture,  IT strategy, technology architecture, manufacturing process automation, Jim is your man.  There really is only one thing you need to know: Jim Heaton was the original “Oracle Inc.”  before the other Oracle (no relationship or connection) came around.

Bruce Richardson.  It is great to see the relatively unfettered (for the time being, anyway) Bruce Richardson again fertilizing the ethersphere with his wide-ranging insights.  His weekly ramblings published under many different names over the past 15+ years have always been considered a must-read by many in the industry.  Anyone attending the AMR Supply Chain Conference would work their meetings around Bruce’s eagerly-anticipated speaking slot, and he would seldom disappoint – being, alternatively, frank, irreverent, and/or provocative.  To see worlds colliding still, I suggest a regular stop over at “Circumnavigating The Social Economy“   -  where the content is not likely to be a commodity anytime soon.

 

SMB Research will be at the Interop Business Technology Conference in New York next week (Weds through Friday, Oct 5 – 7). We would enjoy seeing you there.  If you are a Mid-Market or SMB end-user, going to be at the conference as well, and would like to have a conversation while we are there, call us now to arrange it. (781) 904-0408, x734 or X720.

More research, more ideas are on-tap. As always, we would enjoy hearing from you, talking to you, and working with you.

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