The time is now: on the importance of gaining timely insights from your data


An Interview with TIBCO’s Robin McArthur

tibco_logo-2x“Talented people don’t need to have a vision of the future ten years, out or even ten days out. They need a highly probable prediction just far enough ahead to see an opening or opportunity a split second before the competition. That’s true for athletes, artists, business people, or anyone in any field.”

This is an excerpt from Vivek Ranadivé’s “The Two-Second Advantage,” a bestseller, co-authored with renowned author Kevin Maney, that has changed our understanding of what makes a company successful. Ranadivé is the founder and former CEO of TIBCO, a leading international software company in the field of real-time computing.

TIBCO’s Robin McArthur will offer a keynote speech at ORTEC’s annual customer day (“Plandag”). We had the pleasure of interviewing Robin to get his take on the 2-second advantage and what it means for companies today.

TIBCO's Robin McArthur

TIBCO’s Robin McArthur

Robin, can you tell us more about TIBCO and your role within the company?

TIBCO is a software company the specializes in infrastructure and business intelligence software. As an expert in this field, we take different data sources and types of data in real-time and give people the ability to act on trends and outputs within that data to improve their business. Simply put, we provide companies with the ability to capture the right information at the right time and act on it pre-emptively for a competitive advantage.

The 2-second advantage

As you know, our founder came up with the concept of the “2-second advantage.” All of the data in all of the world 6 months too late is not as powerful as having the right data, in the right place, in the right context, 2 seconds before your competitors. Throughout my career in the analytics and retail space, I have seen that that the ability to act quickly is paramount to any company’s success.

Today, my focus within TIBCO is business development for large strategic retail, leisure, financial and oil and gas accounts in the UK and the Netherlands.

What is your take on the big data revolution?

Well, a lot of people talk about big data these days. The “internet of things” is causing a huge data explosion, companies need to be able to manage that data in a better way to be able to draw insights. The problem is that traditional BI tools (for instance, Excel or Business Objects) are not agile enough to handle the volume or type of data the business community now has.

TIBCO helps companies address this challenge with products that can analyze both data at rest and data in motion. Spotfire, for instance, helps people slice and dice data sets to find information patterns more quickly. Using this data, we can then predict what may happen in the future. Combining these models with streaming data, companies can monitor and make predictions in real time, changing the way that they do business, increasing efficiency and acting on opportunities before their competitors.

What happens if you miss out on the big data revolution?

Companies that are not embracing strategic innovation with analytics and big data will fall behind and lose their competitive advantage. Business leaders need to stay at the vanguard of the industry. You can be more efficient and more successful if you get a competitive edge over your peers.

Adopting analytics can seem like a daunting task. How can companies get started?

It doesn’t have to be daunting. You can take relatively small steps on your analytics journey. First, you need to understand your data. Spotfire, for instance, will help you quickly understand trends and links within your data. You will uncover hidden insights and will be able to look at historic data (or “data at rest”) to understand where the value is. After this, you can perform “what-if analyses” to predict different scenarios, based on past performance.

Then using other TIBCO technology, companies can operationalize these decisions in real time (“data in motion”), leading to a transformation in performance and business value.


TIBCO Software Inc. is a global leader in infrastructure and business intelligence software. Whether it’s optimizing inventory, cross-selling products, or averting crisis before it happens, TIBCO uniquely delivers the Two-Second Advantage® – the ability to capture the right information at the right time and act on it preemptively for a competitive advantage. With a broad mix of innovative products and services, TIBCO is the strategic technology partner trusted by businesses around the world

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