TIBCO closes its acquisition of IBI to advance data analytics

TIBCO Software yesterday announced it has formally closed its acquisition of Information Builders Inc. (IBI), a provider of analytics and data integration tools that traces its lineage back to the earliest day of IT. Best known for a suite of WebFocus business intelligence (BI) tools for legacy IBM platforms, IBI also provides a range of connectors that are widely employed to share data between disparate enterprise applications.

TIBCO, meanwhile, is best known for providing Spotfire analytics software alongside a set of data integration tools based on an event-driven architecture. As organizations advance digital business transformation initiatives, many of them are starting to transition to event-driven platforms to synchronize data across applications in near real time, versus updating applications in batch mode once or twice a day.

The acquisition of IBI was announced last fall, but now that the deal has formally closed, the real work of integrating the two companies will begin, said Matt Quinn, chief operating officer for TIBCO. “What you’re allowed to see pre-close is quite limited,” said Quinn. “You can’t run their business.”

Terms of the deal for the privately held IBI were not disclosed. TIBCO was taken private in 2014. However, given the size of both companies, Quinn said integrating the two organizations will take some time and effort. IBI was founded in 1975 and led by Gerald Cohen as its CEO through 2019. Cohen, who still served as company chairman, passed away last month.

The integration of the two companies will enable the combined entity to enable organizations to more easily integrate legacy platforms such as mainframes, which in many cases still process the bulk of data within an enterprise, with other application environments. Rather than rewriting entire applications, many enterprises are moving toward integrating backend processes with modern front-end applications that they expose externally to customers and partners.

It’s still early days in terms of how far down the path enterprise IT organizations are toward achieving that goal, but Quinn said the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly accelerated the sense of urgency most enterprise organizations have concerning digital business transformation initiatives.

In addition, Quinn said interest in applying AI to business processes has forced organizations to re-evaluate how they manage data. Rather than allowing conflicting data to persist in silos, Quinn said organizations are clearly moving toward building massive data lakes that can be accessed by multiple applications. Those big data efforts require different tools and processes to automate the management of data at scale, added Quinn. Quinn noted that shift (collectively referred to as “DataOps”) also requires IT organizations to restructure how they operate and are organized.

While increased reliance on data analytics has led to the creation of what is now arguably an overcrowded field of vendors providing these tools, it’s not clear to what degree the acquisition of IBI might herald a consolidation across the category. TIBCO has made a string of acquisitions over the years, including Spotfire, Jaspersoft, Mashery, Alpine Data Labs, and the Composite Software assets it bought from Cisco. The IBI deal, however, is its largest yet.

In the last year, most executives have naturally managed business processes more closely by relying more in part on analytics applications. At the same time, however, many businesses have been reluctant to buy new applications at a time when revenues might have declined sharply.

It’s unclear to what degree the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine might have on the overall economy going into 2021. However, there’s no doubt analytics will be playing a larger role in driving digital business processes. It may take a while for those processes to mature, but it’s already clear there’s going to be no going back to business as usual in 2022 and beyond.


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