Tibco Software founder talks of recovery at TieCon event

Tibco Software chief executive Vivek Ranadive said the worst of the tech recession is behind us as he addressed the TieCon conference — an annual event in Silicon Valley heavily attended by the South Asian, venture capital and entrepreneur communities.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tibco, a company with a market value of $1.1 billion, makes software that gives real-time insight into the operations of a company and thus it has insight into the enterprise market, which has been pummeled by the recession during the last couple of quarters.

Echoing other optimists such as Intel CEO Paul Otellini and Cisco CEO John Chambers, Ranadive said customers are coming out of their shells and spending money on enterprise information technology again. He said this is true even for battered industries such as airlines and financial companies.

Many companies have cut costs, laid off employees, and are now seeking to invest. The improvement is across all customers and across all geographies, he said. Ranadive said he has visibility through the end of the year now, far more than he had a few months back. He said his own company has about 2,000 employees now, and he is hiring more research and development and sales people.

Ranadive is an inspirational character for the TieCon crowd. He moved from Mumbai, India, to the U.S. in 1985 with enough money to last a couple of months. He founded Teknekron Software Systems to focus on delivering information such as stock quotes in real time to stock traders. In 1994, Teknekron was acquired by Reuters. In 1997, Tibco Software spun out of Reuters and then went public in 1999. The company now has 3,000 customers and reported revenues of $133 million in the first quarter.

Ranadive offered words of encouragement for entrepreneurs in his keynote speech. He said they should find areas where they can build something that does a better job than the status quo. Sounds obvious, he acknowledged. But he said that everything, particularly the “pathetic Internet,” can be improved.

And Ranadive predicted that the time has come for an “enterprise 3.0″ era. If the first era of enterprise technology was driven by mainframes handling hundreds of transactions, the second by PCs and servers handling millions of transactions, the third would be an Internet cloud infrastructure — where computing and software apps run in servers in data centers — handling billions of transactions. Much like Salesforce.com’s web-based applications, he said that software would become a service and apps would run at high speeds from the main memory of the server infrastructure. That means they would be instantaneous.

TieCon started today and continues tomorrow in Santa Clara, Calif. It is expected to draw about 3,200 attendees, down from last year’s 4,000-plus crowd.