The health pandemic showed how much data science can help businesses and the glaring gaps that currently stop them from doing so.
It is not a new problem. Before the pandemic, C-level executives grumbled over data science teams' value in delivering actionable insights to businesses. Simultaneously, data scientists complained about data pipelines, DataOps difficulties, and integration with open source. The pandemic only made these shortfalls obvious.
TIBCO Software is looking to change this. And it announced a slew of new announcements that optimize data analytics to different business personas and bringing data science a step closer to playing an online game — literally.
Partners Level Up
One key message that rang throughout TIBCO NOW, the company's annual event now gone virtual, is the partners' role.
"You'll see a story where we'll talk more and more about better together, about how our partners are becoming an immensely important part of TIBCO, especially in APJ. And also, how we're working with our partners, not just with our customers, to drive innovation," said Robert Merlicek, chief technology officer for APJ at TIBCO Software.
The partner program is now getting a significant upgrade. The reason: TIBCO Software sees partners as a competitive differentiator. "One of the things we've realized is that partners are more important as part of the ecosystem; they bring, not only capabilities but IP and domain knowledge, etc. So, you'll see these initiatives that have been set up," said Merlicek.
For example, Nick Lim, general manager for APJ at TIBCO Software, noted that his company is pushing its TIBCO Labs Partner Program. Previously, the Labs program involved key clients around the development of unique solutions for the business. Now, partners can join this program to develop unique value propositions. For CDOs and data science teams, it means that they can leverage key domain-specific or technology-specific solutions (e.g., blockchain in trade finance).
Merlicek describes this effort as bringing partners along "that journey with us around innovation."
Platforming on Spotfire
TIBCO is also becoming a platform. And they found it with the new release of TIBCO Spotfire 11. By transforming its most valuable product into a platform, the company hopes to drive its so-called Hyperconverged Analytics experience.
The reasons are practical. CDOs and data science teams know that their companies are drowning in data. Piecing together a complete picture across the different pockets of data stores in an organization is a common complaint.
Different data stores also create data gravity problems, where colossal data sets require data analytics tools to be deployed closer to them to overcome lag. This becomes an additional issue as companies start to move to edge computing and IoT analytics to finetune their business agility and dive into machine learning.
Even with this data, companies still struggle to unlock insights within their data sets. The pandemic is making this urgent as companies see innovation as their only means of survival. Good data management also allows them to deploy machine learning to do more with less and be proactive.
"And Spotfire version 11 has brought new capability to the vast majority of people to make it easier to get insights to leverage machine learning," said Merlicek.
At TIBCO NOW, the analytics giant announced its Hyperconverged Analytics vision, which it sees as shortening the time to insights. Spotfire 11 is positioned as the platform to shorten the time to custom analytics creation. Together, they create an environment that melds data management and data science with real-time data "to drive business insights, decisions, and actions," the company said in a press release.
The platform ecosystem
Spotfire is not alone. Three pivotal announcements aim to enhance the platform's use, mainly TIBCO Cloud Data Streams, TIBCO Any Data Hub, and TIBCO Spotfire Mods.
TIBCO Software claimed that its Cloud Data Streams "is one of the first cloud-based, real-time streaming BI platforms, delivering click-simple access to real-time data for visualizations in Spotfire." For CDOs and data science teams, they can easily detect emerging trends and patterns in real-time while being proactive to future conditions — a key ask during pandemic times as companies navigate a rapidly changing landscape.
TIBCO Any Data Hub offers a data management blueprint for distributed data environments. The goals are accuracy and consistency, which can improve trust and better align data science output for business needs. By integrating with TIBCO Cloud Integration, TIBCO Cloud Mashery, TIBCO Cloud Metadata Management, and TIBCO EBX, it provides an all-in-one approach for data definitions. For CDOs and data science teams, it means "one data catalog, one point of access, one security model, and one governance system," said the press release.
Spotfire Mods, which takes a page from MODs made famous by games like Civilization, builds on TIBCO Software persona-based approach to analytics. The offering allows the development of purpose-built analytic apps that cater to different business users or industries.
This is an important step forward as apps can include both cloud-native or legacy components, allowing different personas to gain insights irrespective of the platform while accelerating reuse.
"I think this is the evolution of the analytical demand that we're seeing for a lot of customers. So, the notion is, I don't want to be reinventing the wheel; I don't want to be building custom base analytics capabilities on top of my platform and rebuilding those all the time and [creating] different versions. So, it's very much like the version of the app store," said Merlicek.
Another key challenge lies in open source integration. CDO and data scientists continue to grapple with integration with new features or tools while keeping platform complexity minimum.
"We have seen the vast rise in [Apache] Kafka, a lot of big data repositories around Hadoop, and we saw various open source technologies across a lot of different segments. Now, if you put your customer hat on, I've got information spread across everywhere. Now, it's important that you get access to those silos of data. And so what you'll see from a TIBCO perspective is that there's a vast number of open-end connectivity options in our analytics," said Merlicek.
During TIBCO NOW, the company announced TIBCO Data Virtualization 8.3 that supports a significantly expanded set of data adapters. Data science teams can connect to over 300 data sources, including support for streaming sources such as Apache Kafka, OSIsoft, and OPC Unified Architecture. It is also available on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace and AWS Marketplace and has a Dockerfile option.
TIBCO Software moves come as the global industry looks for ways to embed analytics at all decision-making levels. They want analytics capabilities at all levels, from the front-office to decision-makers. Adding streaming IoT data to the mix can help companies become more responsive, but it also adds more complexities for data science teams.
Taking a platform approach, upgrading its partner ecosystem's breadth and depth, and embracing connectors and open source software makes sense. It allows data science teams to go beyond science and start doing more with the data. The days of bragging about bigger data science teams or having fancy visual analytics of reports are long gone.
The pandemic has also shifted how C-level engage with data. Dashboards and KPI monitoring fell short when global supply chains saw demands plummet, customer demands shift, and digitalization moved to an organization's front and center. As data-driven C-levels want more out of their data, TIBCO software is looking to plug the analytics gap between data and decision sciences.
Will customers bite into TIBCO Software's new play? It is too early, but the data analytics giant says game on.
Image credit: iStockphoto/gorodenkoff