Latest Software Labs News
Sep 30, 2021
Corbis via Getty Images Software grows in a lab. The word is not used to sound pretentious, affected or kitsch in any way whatsoever (don’t confuse it with terms like innovation foundry, center of excellence or Proof of Concept showcase), software application development engineers like to call their most intense workplace location the lab because that’s where elemental compounds of IT are mixed, fused together and experimented with. Some of the best software labs over the years have seen real science (in this case computer science, obviously) being driven at a level that resembles other experiential cultures. What this means is that some of the technologies built will be applied i.e. closer to workable implementation and so applicable to current real world use cases. It also means that some innovation work will be more purist i.e. conceptual, esoteric, envelope-pushing development; the kind of work driven by the ‘what if’ factor. With so many moving parts to consider in the composable, containerized and essentially connected world of cloud, it’s no surprise to hear enterprise data integration and intelligence platform company Tibco Software Inc. talk about its labs division as a key source of where its roadmap is being driven next. This autumn/fall season sees the company detail three new products which all nestle into its umbrella Tibco Cloud offering. The company has now developed a cloud discovery tool, a cloud composer tool and a software-based labs gallery tool. All three elements are intended to connect new increasingly cloud-native applications and help serve their data management requirements. “Broad composability, combined with data and deep process insights are key to building SaaS-based apps. Companies require robust integration, analytics and data management capabilities to deliver these apps successfully,” said Nelson Petracek, global chief technology officer, Tibco. MORE FOR YOU What is process discovery culture? Petracek talks about the need for what he calls process discovery. This is a term intended to describe the granular deconstruction of how digital technologies are actually used by humans in the workplace. While we might imagine that a purchase order instruction or some kind of ledger entry can only be created inside one application, using one piece of software, with one precise set of clicks and keystrokes, process discovery often shows us that workers can find any number of ways (tools, apps, databases, web services and so on) to get around the tasks they do. Throughout the process of so-called digital transformation with workers using a whole variety of new software functions across the business, it is (arguably) logical to find Tibco focusing its lab work on this kind of function “We’re proud to showcase two solutions born directly out of [our labs division], assisting customers with process discovery, deriving better business insights and creating applications through composable building blocks. In addition, we created a direct route for customers to participate in this innovation process with Tibco Labs Gallery,” added Petracek. The self-service IT dream With a recurring theme focused on providing enterprise data tools to support the new digital work methods we are all using, the company has also updated its Connect portfolio. This cloud-delivered software aims to provide features including integration, API management and [machine level] messaging in that oft-fabled form that IT vendors love to talk about and customers complain never really happens i.e. self-service, without the need for user support and with as much AI-powered automation as possible. Tibco senior VP & GM for Connect and Tibco Cloud is Randy Menon. Claiming to now be able to give ‘anyone’ in an organization the power to drive digitally-native business priorities, Menon calls his firm’s technology a single cohesive platform that supports the adaptability required by digital businesses. With these (and other related) integration, API management and messaging technologies on offer here, Tibco is aiming to give organizations more abilities to perform automated decisioning developed within a completely no-code experience for business users. Given the disruptions the world has experienced inside its supply chains throughout 2021 - plus the possible future acceleration offered by quantum computing when it comes on stream - the ability to make more automated complex business decisions could be welcome news. As these technologies become increasingly widespread, the old adage of garbage-in = garbage-out will inevitably raise its head. Tibco thinks it has addressed this issue with its logically named Tibco Data Quality product, which sits in its Unify master/meta data management and visualization portfolio. The algorithm behind the button We’ve just said data visualization (above) and there is a lot of upper-tier C-suite management control on offer here. The state, status, health and wealth of data is presented to divisional or departmental managers in a visualized abstracted way which can take the form of graphical charts, dashboards or other illustrative methods. At the same time, Tibco insists that it is critically focused on the lower substrate developer and data scientist level. “Tools such as Tibco Spotfire continues to unlock the developer community’s creativity to customise its immersive, smart, real-time analytics engine with the Tibco Spotfire Mods framework [tools to rapidly build scalable tailored analytics apps],” notes the company, in a technical statement… which includes an assertion to, “Offer data functions, AI and data science capabilities, helping data scientists put ‘the algorithm behind the button’ being clicked.” The company will also work with the middle ground i.e. the citizen developers and data scientists who want to use low-code and in some cases no-code tools to work in enterprise information management scenarios. Whether citizen developers and data scientists are welcome by the data purists and engineers is another question. We also have the additional influence of citizen-assisted (a relatively newly coined term) programming and data science, so this whole space is getting quite crowded, hence the proliferation of data-centric software tools. Data is a commodity, data is an entity and data is a business. The data tools marketplace appears to be only set for wider and deeper growth because data needs to be integrated into higher-level information services. TIBCO called itself The Information Bus COmpany for a reason.