Vivek Randive, Tibco CEO is living in “real time”

Vivek “real-time” Ranadive could just be the Peter Drucker of the 21st century. While Mr. Drucker and later Tom Peters’ management principles helped reform the global business landscape, Mr. Ranadive is preaching a new technology mantra – real-time computing – that promises to revolutionize the way global giants conduct commerce.

While management principles are nice in theory, Mr. Ranadive is proposing a new technology – event driven computing. Mr. Ranadive, who happens to be founder and chief executive of Tibco Software, a Palo Alto-based $3 billion in market capitalization and $319 million in 2001 sales company, that he has written a book on the topic, The Power of Now.

The Power of Now explains how companies use real-time information to anticipate and instantly respond to the ever-changing tide of new opportunities and new business strategies. Mr. Ranadiv provides a model in which corporations develop and deliver superior goods and services for their customers through a continual dialog with them. And all of this happens as quickly as possible, thanks to real-time technology for the Internet and the enterprise.

He sees a world which imitates the NASDAQ stock exchange ? like the traders responding to the events like demand for certain shares, or stock’s movement to news related to a particular company, say for example Juniper Networks. He believes that companies should be responding to the changing ¶chaos of business¾ today in such a manner as well. New information about bloated inventories should result in real-time discounts on products or special offers to customers. Mr. Ranadive describes this as zero-lag, ¶cash-to-cash¾ business, where the time delay between cash spent on producing goods, and the cash received from customers is nearly zero.

Oh he can talk about this for hours, and sitting in the trendy new bistro, Tamarind, in the soign Gramercy Park area in New York, the ideas pour from Mr. Ranadive like champagne flowing out of a bottle of Moet, after it has been shaken, stirred and uncorked. Literally talking at ¶mile-a-minute¾ Mr. Ranadive proposes a whole new efficient world empowered by new technologies. Of course like all true chief executives he talks about the magnificent opportunity it offers for his company.
¾We could be a company which supports a $100-billion ecosystem,¾ he boasts, betting that large corporations in industries as diverse as technology, financial services, and healthcare would but Tibco’s ¶middleware¾ software which makes corporation ¶real-time.¾

I first met Mr. Ranadive when researching for my cover story on real time computing, which was eventually published in the July 2001 issue of Red Herring (go to Generation Now gets up to speed) It has been a year since we talked about improving efficiencies in the corporation and every single time we have met, he points out how close we are towards a more real-time corporation.

The key to his “real time” vision is Tibco’s software which the pundits and technology guru’s describe as “new middleware.” This software is like the glue which ties together all old legacy applications like SAP, Siebel or Great Plains, and gives it a web-makeover and adds event-based rules which help a company better utilize all the information that flows in from its sales channel, employees and partners. Thanks for this software Mr. Ranadive has a captive audience of his own ? his company’s software helps manage transactions equaling trillions of dollars and counts more than 400 of the world’s largest banks and financial institutions as its customers. ¶Oh my only competition in this market is IBM,¾ he says.

Born in Mumbai, 43 summers ago, Mr. Ranadive came to the US to pursue a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at MIT, and later went to Harvard Business School to pursue his MBA. But it was not up until he started Tibco, that his vision of a real-time world started becoming a reality.

One thing about Mr. Ranadive is that he is relentless ? he has been preaching this mantra for almost two decades, and now his vision is beginning to find a receptive audience in the technology universe. Many venture capitalists have come to a similar conclusion and have beginning to shovel money into start-ups that are building software and related products that bring the world closer to a “real time enterprise.” Many start-ups have come forward with their own versions of a Real Time enterprise, including KnowNow, which has been funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and counts Rohit Khare, a big shot in the web world.

Not worried about any competition, Mr. Ranadive is now busy talking about a world where the refrigerator order milk when the supply runs low, and the devices decide where to buy electricity in real-time so that you do not have pay huge electricity bills. Sounds far fetched, doesn’t it? Well I was excused from pointing that out for Mr. Ranadive expresses an almost child-like delight at ¶bhel-puri¾ which arrived on our table. And of course since Tamarind is a fashionable place, this was the best bhel-puri both of us had ever seen ? and got busy eating.

Generation Now gets upto speed