"Turning customers into fans": TIBCO's CTO EMEA on big data, cloud computing and the software of the future

We live in an age of information. Those companies that can harness insight from data and translate insight into action, stand to be the winners in the new economy.

In this PEX Network interview, Maurizio Canton, Chief Technology Officer – EMEA of TIBCO software, talks about where he sees the greatest opportunities for big data, why "Fast Data" might be more relevant than "Big Data" and where his company’s technology is headed next.

PEX Network: Everyone seems to be jumping on the big data bandwagon, but there are many companies out there struggling with exactly what they’re going to be doing with big data and how they can use it. Where are you seeing your customers and early adopters of the technology having the greatest success?

Maurizio Canton: We look at big data in a different way. Combining "data at rest" and "data in motion" gives you the ability to position the data in the right context, provide the right information at the right time and enable users to take actions quickly. We call this Fast Data, more than Big Data.

Therefore, it’s not only traditional analytics that we need, but the ability to combine what is happening in real time with what has happened in the past. This gives you the power and insight to understand what your customers really need.

PEX Network: You’ve mentioned enabling users to take actions quickly based on data. There are those out there in the industry who say that the union of process and big data is what it’s really going to take to unlock the potential of big data. What do you think about that?

Maurizio Canton: Business Process Management (BPM) will drive how we interact with and how we define the utilization of the data. BPM will help us change the way companies and customers interact based on the experience of what has happened in the past. All data combined with processes means companies will be able to offer targeted products and services to their customers based on previous behaviour and interactions.

It also means that all of a sudden we can get a 360 degree view of our customers – what they’ve experienced in the past and what they are currently experiencing with us. This is a powerful tool to enable us to be able to recognize behavioural patterns and provide a personalized customer experience.

PEX Network: I can imagine that improving what we know about customers is probably a big area for this. At the moment we don’t necessarily know our customers as well as we should. There’s a lot of data there, but it’s not brought together in any meaningful way.

Maurizio Canton: Exactly, you’re perfectly right. Everyone is now going back to basics and putting the customer at the centre of their operations. If you look at the retail market, for instance, they are going for a more customer-centric approach where they want to provide a consistent experience through all channels to their customers.

For instance, as a customer you might browse a website for a new phone and then go to the store to physically look at it. Maybe you decide that you want to collect your phone in-store one day, but you are travelling somewhere else in the country. Being able to capture all these events and having inventory data in real-time allows companies to be able to deliver that phone to another city to your customer and maybe provide additional services such as a map of where the store is located.

This then becomes an intelligent way to deal with your customers, giving them a better service. You are able to engage with them and give your customer an experience that no one else can. This is what it takes to turn your customers into fans.

PEX Network: Taking a more general view then, what do you see as some of the big trends that are shaping enterprise software at the moment?

Maurizio Canton: Cloud is becoming more important. The hybrid Cloud will be the transition to move towards a Cloud environment. Being able to use the same platform on-premise and in the cloud provides consistency in your business and makes the transition smooth for your customers. With the explosion of the Internet of Everything you will see more and more new applications available in the cloud able to control these devices.

PEX Network: So how are you responding as TIBCO Software to that trend?

Maurizio Canton: Integration, Analytics and Cloud are the three areas where we are continuing to invest in 2014. We are creating Cloud versions of our products and we now have Spotfire, MDM (master data management) and the integration CloudBus already available in the Cloud. In the integration arena, CloudBus is providing a seamless experience between on-premise and cloud applications.

PEX Network: What do you see as your key differentiator over the course of the next couple of years?

Maurizio Canton: Being able to analyze data at rest with data in motion, connect content with context, recognize behavioral patterns and take decisions in real time based on event analytics integrated with BPM is a real differentiator. It will change the relationship that our customers have with their customers. Being able to combine the existing customer social network with its perishable inventory will enable our customers to capture, engage, expand and monetize their customer experience. TIBCO customers will be able to turn their customers into fans giving them a customer experience no else can.