Tibco's Trying to Turn it Around

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Vivek Ranadivé, Chairman and CEO of Palo Alto, Calif.-based data management and analytics software company Tibco Software ( TIBX) recently told TheStreet in an interview that he's confident the firm is on track to becoming a $2 billion a year company.

With that said, he also attributed the company's latest quarter's ho hum results as part of an adjustment period related to the big overhaul of its Americas sales group that Ranadivé assured will help eliminate the big flaw that was holding it back from its full potential: sales execution.

"I never make excuses and I don't blame the environment for any company setbacks," said Ranadivé. What he's determined to see going forward is the company taking a laser-sharp focus on maximizing Tibco's ability to put on full display the superiority of its real-time platforms, over those of rivals such as Oracle ( ORCL) and IBM ( IBM). The company recently added more cloud services to its suite, providing something extra for customers. In May, Tibco launched its Tibco Cloud Bus integration platform as a service that's expected to help customers drastically lower business expenses.

"What we need to do is we need to keep showing our value-add and fine-tuning our processes," he asserted.

In this excerpt of TheStreet's interview with Tibco's CEO, Ranadivé discusses the company's edge in the way of cloud, big data analytics, Europe and its much anticipated deal pipeline.

Andrea Tse: Is the worst behind you in the Americas?

Vivek Ranadivé: We were finding that the bigger competitors like Oracle and IBM had won some deals against us even though we had technically won. While what Tibco had was better for customers, what they had was good enough. So now we're adjusting for that. We're focusing on our flow of execution. We're demonstrating to customers that good enough is not enough. We need to keep showing our value-add and fine-tuning our processes.

Ranadivé: We feel that in the Americas the worst is behind us. We have strong leadership. We have focus on the processes. Now we're in the position to do really well in the Americas. What we did is we put in new leadership and then we changed some of the players in some key sectors. And then also we looked at the entire sales process from A to Z. We have retrofitted that whole process and we feel very, very confident that this is something that will pay dividends.

Tse: Wall Street had for a while been growing concerned about Tibco's reliance on big deals. Do you think you've adequately addressed those concerns?

Ranadivé: You know it's ironic because for a long time, people would tell me that you guys can do big deals but can you make a quarter with no big deals? So we've been trying to prove that our business is not dependent on big deals and this quarter we did fine without any big deals. Now having said that I can tell you that, looking over the next half of the year and the next year, there is a pipeline of big deals.

Ranadivé: We've never had as big a deal pipeline as we have right now because companies are now shifting their focus.They survived the nuclear disaster that the last few years was and now they're saying 'okay, how do we grow our revenues, how do we optimize our supply chain, how do we move the needle?' Customers are willing to spend big money for big needle-moving opportunities. I think a gold rush is coming for Tibco.

Tse:Spotfire had another good quarter for the company. It's really become a key staple business for Tibco. But with that success, Spotfire has been garnering plenty of comparisons with your Spotfire competitor Tableau ( DATA).

Ranadivé: Tableau ( DATA) is very much a low-end product. So there are five factors that make Spotfire quite superior to something like Tableau. First of all, Spotfire can be used at scale. So it's not a low-end product. It's actually an enterprise product. So that's one big difference. The second difference is it's a lot easier to use. Not only can you use it on an enterprise level with large datasets, it's also very easy to use. The third difference is because you have the rest of the Tibco stack, it's a lot easier to put information into Spotfire. The fourth difference is we also own S-PLUS, the statistical modeling language and that's part of Spotfire which Tableau simply does not have. The fifth difference is we also have a real-time event engine that connects with Spotfire so that you can find patterns and then incorporate them into rules. So I think Spotfire is far superior to Tableau. I think for companies like Tableau, they'll have some success, but it's hard for them to be a standalone company.

Tse: Do you now feel as confident about your position next to larger rivals such as Oracle and IBM? How do you feel about where you now stand next to them?

Ranadivé: Oracle and IBM don't have real-time platforms. They can't do big data analytics. They don't have real time event engines. They don't really have an enterprise social network and they have so many things that they do that they are diffused in their efforts and they don't have focus in terms of this type of infrastructure: they're selling hardware, they're selling databases, they're selling so many different products. And they also don't have a neutrality. We talk to everybody. We talk to SAP ( SAP), we talk to Oracle, we talk to IBM and we talk to Microsoft ( MSFT). Our platform is truly neutral .

Ranadivé: I would point to the rapid growth that we're having in our business optimization, big data field. That's growing at over 30% a year. And I would say that we're now an over $1 billion company, and unlike companies like say salesforce.com ( CRM), as we grow, we actually make money. We have more upside than everyone else because less than 1% of our 4,000 customers have actually bought our whole product stack. So, we have the opportunity to sell tens of millions of dollars in software to 4,000 customers.

Tse: You've had a huge overhaul at your Americas team. What are your plans in Europe?

Ranadivé: We put a lot of focus in the Americas this quarter. We need to do a similar adjustment in parts of Europe where we need some new leadership, where we need to fine tune the processes. But our experience has been that if you show the value that we're able to provide, people are willing and able to spend. So we're not that concerned about the macro environment there because we have proved that we can do well even in very, very challenging macro environments. When Greece was going down the tubes and the Greek banks were failing, we got a deal from a Greek bank. When things were happening in Spain, we were getting business from Spanish companies and Spanish banks. And so our focus is just showing the value, and we're able then to keep executing, and so we will need to make some adjustments in terms of our own leadership and our own processes in Europe as we move forward.

Tse: You mentioned during your most recent earnings call that you're expanding in cloud, and it's a huge area of opportunity for you. Tell me about your recent launch of Tibco Cloud Bus.

Ranadivé: Today's CIO and CMO are moving their IT workloads to a mixed model including private and public cloud, on-premise installation etc... With the release of Tibco Cloud Bus, we continue to work closely with our customers to deliver the right cloud services at the right time. Customers see cloud not only as a destination but as a journey, and we are building and providing services that help them on the journey. TIBCO Cloud Bus as an example can run on-premise and in the cloud and provides a clean, clear approach for customers to start on-premise and then move to the cloud.

Tse: Spotfire was actually in early entrant into the cloud.

Ranadivé: Spotfire moved early into the cloud with Silver Spotfire. Silver Spotfire provided a cloud based solution for small teams and divisions to collaborate around data analysis. In general, we see cloud based delivery as important to Spotfire and to all Tibco products. Our goal is to have a spectrum of Visual Analytics services available in the cloud from small individual developers to large enterprises looking to solve their own Big Data problem or opportunity. This also goes hand in hand with mobility which is another area of investment for Tibco and Spotfire.

Ranadivé: As IT workloads continue to move to this mixed model, on-premise, cloud etc. , we see increased demand for our platform. The varied nature of cloud services today, SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, is increasing complexity for the CIO. As we have said before -- complexity is our friend as it always leads to a higher demand for our platform to manage and deliver the right information to the right place at the right time.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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