Not surprisingly the summer months tend to be a little quiet in terms of new vendor announcements. But one company bucking this trend is Software AG who, at the end of August, announced two things: firstly, the acquisition of JackBe, a mash up and real-time analytics vendor; and secondly, a new product—Intelligent Business Operations.
JackBe is a US-based company founded in 2003 with around 70 employees. Its flagship product, Presto, is a mash up and visual analytics platform, designed to help users bring together data from multiple sources such as data warehouses, Excel spreadsheets, news feeds and operational systems and visualise it within real-time dashboards. The company has a number of marquee customers including Wells Fargo, Proctor & Gamble GE and 3M.
Software AG aims to use its new acquisition in a number of ways. Apart from offering Presto as a standalone product, it also intends to use the technology as a foundation for a new offering called Intelligent Business Operations (IBO). IBO mixes together technology assets from its webMethods platform with mash up, analytics and visualisation components from JackBe, assembling them in an offering that helps organisations build an integrated, real-time view of business operations and processes such as orders or inventories using a dashboard visualisation layer. It will also include templates for common industry processes, such as order-to-cash, to accelerate the time it takes for customers to get up and running.
Like others in the real-time computing space, Software AG sees significant value in providing real-time intelligence to its customers about business operational performance, since it can help them detect and act on issues and opportunities with increased speed and agility, potentially ahead of the competition. While Software AG has a lot of middleware and integration experience that can be brought to bear here, the company didn’t necessarily have a mechanism or toolset for analysing, visualising and surfacing important information or metrics to business users and decision makers; JackBe makes this possible. Similarly, by leveraging JackBe’s mash up paradigm, Software AG can potentially appeal to a broader base of developers and users, since many mash up tools provide more lightweight and tactical integration capabilities (as opposed to more formal IT data integration methods) and have an emphasis on making it easier for business users in particular to create views of the data.
Besides IBO, Software AG also announced the Presto and Terracotta add-on—a software bundle that enables developers to utilise Presto and Terracotta’s in-memory platform to mash up a wider variety of data sources including historical, live, transactional and machine-to-machine (M2M) data in support of real-time decision making. The fact that Terracotta was already pre-integrated with the JackBe platform (as part of an existing partnership) will most likely have accelerated the time it’s taken to bring the offering to market and was a big part of the appeal of the acquisition in the first place.
IBO, JackBe and the Terracotta add-on, as well as its recent Apama acquisition, are all part of a wider initiative for Software AG that sees it position itself more strongly in the real-time intelligence market. It’s a market that’s gaining prominence in the era of Big Data since more and more organisations recognise the value of acting on and responding to data events in real time. Whilst algorithmic financial trading, where analytic models are used for making real-time financial transactions, has typically been seen as one of the main applications for real-time intelligence, use cases such as those for real-time fraud detection, inventory management and price optimisation are now becoming more of a realistic proposition with the advancement and maturation of technologies such as in-memory, event stream processing and data visualisation. With JackBe, Software AG has many of the technology pieces in place that can start to make its real-time vision more of a reality.