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Vivek Ranadivé of Tibco: 'We are entering the third era of IT'

Vivek Ranadivé of Tibco: 'We are entering the third era of IT'

Vivek Ranadivé

Vivek Ranadivé

Of course, at the time of the first dotcom wave in the late 1990s, Ranadivé was among the first to proclaim the importance of having all things becoming "event--driven" and happening "on the fly". Bill Gates wrote Business At The Speed Of Thought, Ranadivé wrote The Power of Now and everybody hymned the importance of real-time systems that would recognise changes and automate reactions based on business rules. A stock price trigger could create a buy in milliseconds with no manual intervention. Smart companies with very low latency would prosper while laggards would be left behind - electrons would -replace brain cells because the human brain could not process quickly enough.

Today, however, there would appear to be some reaction against some of these principles in favour of human experience, thinking things over and aversion to risk. That reaction has only been exacerbated by the shocking events of last year when, despite massive investments in business intelligence and risk management software, firms still failed to see the warning signs of impending disaster.

Ranadivé's reaction is characteristically blunt and technophile.

"They had antiquated systems," he says of companies caught up in the turmoil. "[They should have been] increasing the velocity not just at the trading desk but at the middle and the back office too. GRC [governance risk and compliance] was still operating in batch while something else was operating at the speed of light."

As a firm with deep links to financial services, you might expect Tibco to have been rocked by the crisis, but its fourth quarter was a record, with US$185.5m in revenues and a highest ever US$32.3m in profit, and Ranadivé also sees upside in the growth in popularity of service-oriented architecture, or SOA, as providing a boost to business.

"SOA is the best thing that happened to our industry," he says. "It's providing the on-ramps onto the highway for us to create business processes and apply rules-based systems. It's like when became defined and the database business took off."

Indeed, Ranadivé believes that SOA will in some ways become the new database, just more sophisticated and automated. "The database is a like a phone that doesn't ring and nobody knows what's happened. You have to query it to know," he says.

Ranadivé is less confident about getting a boost from another burgeoning sector, software as a service, suggesting that its effect might be limited to applications such as sales force automation and customer -relationship management.

"With SaaS, one size doesn't fit all," he says. "For core infrastructure, most companies would be unwilling to have that run outside their own boundaries."

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