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From CEO to Chief Irritant: Interview with TIBCO founder

Zafirah Salim | Dec. 11, 2014
Following TIBCO's privatisation, Vivek Ranadive, founder of TIBCO has stepped down from his CEO role but said that he will remain as the Chief Irritant of his company.

Delivering business agility

During one of the breakout sessions, British retailer Marks & Spencer's analytics and innovation manager Pete Williams, and lead architect of information management Keith Goldthorpe, explained how they are using TIBCO's Spotfire analytics software, and a community based approach, to push data-based decision making across the retailer's entire business.

Marks & Spencer (M&S) started using Spotfire 18 months ago, but already it is being used in almost every department - increasing from an initial 10 licences to 170 over time.

"My ambition is to make sure Spotfire is in every department that's using data," said Williams. "I want to put data at the heart of every business decision. I don't want people coming back a week later with actions on what was talked about; I want them to drill down and make a decision there and then."

So far, Spotfire has been deployed mostly for the company's online business, where it is used mainly for problem solving, supply-chain analytics, analysing historic data and forecasting.

Within the IT organisation, Spotfire is used to manage infrastructure and provide data quality improvements and in the supply chain, it is more generally used to forecast levels of demand for food and non-food items at individual stores. As for other departments, it is used to quickly test the results of decision making and to build analytical models.

Analytics enables M&S to improve its inventory control, resulting in faster stock replenishment and more efficient stock distribution. With analytics, M&S was able to understand how to improve stock availability, while controlling waste, especially with perishable goods.

Over in the apparel department, analytics helped in determining style demands across various clothing ranges, and to reevaluate future demand figures - a process which was previously manually undertaken. With Spotfire, M&S was able to cut the process down from eight weeks to two.

Building presence in Asia

When asked about TIBCO's market size in the Asia Pacific region, Ranadivé acknowledged that APAC contributed less than 10 percent to its global business revenue.  

Despite this small figure, Ranadivé said that the Asia region still serves as an important market for the company.

"It is the fastest growing market, and I see it as the market of the future. It is a given that the Asia region is vital to the future of TIBCO," he said, adding that the company already has a sizeable presence in China and India.

"Currently, the United States have been very strong for us which is why we focus more on it, but Asia is representing a huge growth potential for TIBCO," said Ranadivé. "We also want to push for the ease of use and the consumerisation of IT, localising more of our products. We want to make our products easily consumable off the cloud and through mobile devices."


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