TIBCO to Acquire ibi to Expand Enterprise Reach


The acquisition adds data integration, quality, and governance expertise, while expanding the platforms data virtualization technologies can be applied to.

The pending acquisition of Information Builders Inc. (ibi) by TIBCO Software will bring together two organizations that collectively have nearly 70 years of data management expertise.

Founded in New York City in 1975, ibi has been providing tools to analyze data for more than 45 years, while TIBCO, based in Palo Alto, CA, was founded in 1997.

The acquisition will add a collection of business intelligence (BI) tools and connectors that are still widely employed to access data residing on legacy enterprise systems to the TIBCO portfolio, says TIBCO COO Matt Quinn. The bulk of the data that most organizations are now trying to manage as a strategic asset still resides in those systems, adds Quinn.

The challenge is accessing that data requires tools such as the ones developed by ibi that understand the complex semantics and syntax employed to store and manage data on mainframes and midrange systems that run mission-critical applications in mainly on-premises IT environments, notes Quinn.

The acquisition of ibi adds complementary data integration, data quality, data lineage, and data governance expertise, while simultaneously expanding the base of platforms data virtualization technologies can be applied, adds Quinn.

“It expands our reach into lots of nooks and crannies in the enterprise,” says Quinn.

Many of the tools ibi provides today, such as WebFOCUS, are also aimed at non-technical end-users, which represents another segment of customers that Quinn notes TIBCO does not directly address today.

Longer-term, much of that data will be needed to drive artificial intelligence (AI) applications, adds Quinn. The biggest challenge to building those applications has already been shown to be the cleanliness and the quality of the data uses to train AI models, says Quinn.

Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, were not disclosed. TIBCO was taken private in 2014, while ibi has been privately held from its inception. The number of competitors both companies have has increased substantially in recent years as the number of vendors offering rival platforms for managing data has substantially increased.

It’s not clear to what degree the downturn in the economy brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic might soon drive a wave of consolidation across providers of data management tools. There’s no doubt that data has never been more critical to organizations that have accelerated investments in digital business transformation initiatives. However, the fact remains there are entire vertical industry segments that have sharply reduced spending on IT.

TIBCO, of course, has made a string of acquisitions over the years, including Spotfire, Jaspersoft, Mashery, Alpine Data Labs, and the Composite Software assets it bought from Cisco. There’s no doubt ibi represents the largest such effort on the part of TIBCO to date. The challenge now will be holding on to enterprise IT organizations that have long standardized on ibi tools and middleware at a time when more organizations in the age of the cloud than ever are revisiting their core IT strategies.

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