TIBCO CIO talks ‘table stakes’ for the enterprise

Image courtesy of TIBCO Software

Founded in 1997, TIBCO originally stood for ‘The Information Bus COmpany’. Today, TIBCO Software is a technology company that provides software for integrating, managing, and monitoring enterprise applications and information delivery. They now offer a broader range of products including data virtualisation, cloud-based API management, master data management, and analytics.

Last year, TIBCO Software appointed Rani Johnson as Chief Information Officer to further create connections between business, infrastructure, and sustainable innovation. Johnson was previously Senior Vice President and CIO of SolarWinds where she led its IT operations, enterprise business applications, DevOps, project delivery/change management, cybersecurity, and business continuity planning efforts.

Frontier Enterprise discussed with Johnson the future of enterprise data, event-driven architecture, working at TIBCO, and more.

You joined TIBCO late last year after holding several key technology leadership roles in Austin, Texas. What made you move to TIBCO?

I lived in Palo Alto in 1999, which is when I first learned of TIBCO. This was in the midst of all of the IPO craze. It was incredible. And I’ve had a chance to experience using TIBCO products for the last 20 or so years of my career. I’ve admired TIBCO as a company and have been a consumer of the products for such a long time. Given the opportunity to move back to California where I started my career and work with such an extraordinary leadership team, it was an easy decision. I’ve been longing to be part of a company that values the importance of diversity, and is committed to improvements in diversity, equity, and inclusion. I feel a sense of belonging among TIBCO’s socially conscious leadership team.

You once worked as a Computer Scientist at NASA. What specific lessons learned there are you able to apply in your tech career? What was the most interesting part of working at NASA?

My first job was as an intern at NASA Johnson Space Center of a large team that was responsible for programming the electrical power system (solar panel orientation, collection, power allocation, and distribution) for the modules on the International Space Station. This early experience taught me the importance of teamwork, communication, and quality assurance.

The most exciting part of my NASA experience is that I get to continue to observe the advancements of the foundational work I had the opportunity to play a small part in decades ago.

How will emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) affect its evolution?

We hear every day from our customers that their customers and stakeholders demand data at the speed of business. Efficiency, quality, and consistency across disparate data sources is becoming a baseline expectation. Advanced data management that leverages AI and ML will become table stakes (i.e. the minimum offering it takes to be considered a player in the market); and companies that do not leverage these technologies and insights will be at a stark disadvantage.

How do you think event-driven architecture has impacted enterprises, especially as the push for digital transformation has accelerated during the past couple of years?

The businesses that are currently thriving, even during a pandemic, are those that were prepared and were able to react quickly to change. These businesses leveraged data, and event-driven architecture, to better understand their customers and to improve their decision-making; and as a result, are outperforming everyone else.

What do you think are TIBCO’s top business challenges in this age of COVID-19, heightened risk of cyberthreats, and rapid technological development?

Our top challenges are: 

  • Remote work – We need to reimagine our workspaces and provide thoughtful support to our staff that work from home, to democratise and fully embrace the hybrid work environment.
  • Cybersecurity – Security should be the top priority of every team member, not just IT. Continually educating our workforce on the importance, responsibility, and best practices around data stewardship and cyber hygiene will remain a top priority.
  • More data – Data volumes have grown massively over the past few years. We will need to continue to develop and leverage our own technology to make smarter, faster decisions.
  • Constrained supply chain. Humans and hardware will continue to be in short supply over the next year. We will need to remain thoughtful about how we attract and retain talent, and partner with our suppliers to ensure we have the capacity required to support our business needs.
  • Purpose & Meaning. If nothing else, this past year has helped us all put our priorities in order. Our workforce desires to find purpose and meaning in their work. We will continue to improve/promote diversity, equity and inclusion, reduce our carbon footprint, and support/advocate for our team members’ health and well being.