A total of 30 acquisitions since the turn of the millennium. Among the firm’s bulkier (or at least high profile) shopping items over the last couple of decades were the purchase of open source business intelligence company Jaspersoft in 2014 - and its 2017 purchase of Cisco’s data visualisation business (a division that had been known as Composite Software).
With 2020 being understandably quiet on the tech corporate acquisitions front and with the year almost done, news of Tibco buying Information Builders (known as ibi) was as arguably unexpected as it was arguably logical.
Tibco has been around since 1997 and is most famously known for its software integration capabilities. Information Builders is actually twice Tibco’s age as it dates back to 1975 and is also known for its data integration skills, its business intelligence software and its data quality tools. Why then did Tibco get its gold purse out?
An end-to-end data playbook
The company says that Information Builders will fit into its portfolio to provide an increased element of end-to-end data intelligence. Tibco calls its platform Tibco Connected Intelligence, so what additional ends does it hope to bring into its new end-to-end playbook?
In simple terms, Information Builders is good at managing complex disconnected data and making data analytics resources available to end users. Its WebFOCUS platform offers end users (by which, here, we mean non-technical business users) the ability to ask questions of data through visualisation dashboards.
With more managers able to perform what the industry likes to call ‘self-service’ data analytics, the ends in the end-to-end promise get extended further out. There’s a mobile version too, so this means more users in more places at more data skills levels… so, logically, more ends.
Tibco had some of these functions in various forms across its platform, but in the end-to-end data game, endpoints are a bit like fresh vegetables i.e. it’s hard to have too many of them and there’s a natural sense of when you have enough on your plate at any one time.
“Data-driven insight is more critical than ever. With the acquisition of ibi (Information Builders), we gain access to a broader set of analytics and technology, greatly enhancing our ability to help the world’s leading organisations solve their most complex data problems,” said Dan Streetman, chief executive officer, Tibco.
“The blend of our two companies, with strong and complementary capabilities, will further unlock the potential of real-time data for making faster, smarter decisions.”
Deeper synergy points
Going forwards, Information Builders' data quality, preparation and integration products will support the Tibco Any Data Hub and Responsive Application Mesh strategies.
The data quality and preparation tools to clean, categorise, deduplicate and report on data itself being a further push to extend the scope of just how far down and back down the line Tibco wants to go with its data endpoint focus.
“We founded Information Builders with a vision of a new business intelligence product that would enable non-programmers to build their own reporting applications,” said Gerald D. Cohen, founder and chairman of the board, ibi. “We are proud of what ibi has accomplished in over four decades of innovation, and it is a privilege to join forces with a company that cares about its customers as much as we do.”
Reuters suggests that Vista-backed Tibco is looking at a deal for ibi valued at close to US$1 billion. Computerworld’s Scott Carey has detailed a list of the other large tech acquisitions of 2020 here.
The transaction remains subject to customary conditions and certain regulatory approvals and Tibco expects the transaction to close during its first quarter of fiscal year 2021.