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'We need to have solutions that are mission critical': TIBCO CEO on how data will combat coronavirus

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TIBCO’s Data Science team has been tracking the coronavirus with software that allows the program to model, visualize and predict emerging infections. TIBCO CEO Dan Streetman joins Yahoo Finance’s On The Move panel to weigh in.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: And we've talked to many different companies that are repurposing their businesses in different ways to help fight coronavirus. We're joined by another way now. Dan Streetman is the CEO of TIBCO. It's a software company. And Dan, you guys are using data visualization in order to try and track this thing. Describe to me what exactly you guys are doing and how it's working.

DAN STREETMAN: Sure. Thanks very much for having us on, Julie. Really happy to be here and thanks for all the reporting you're doing. So look, for over 20 years we've focused on helping solve complex data challenges. We work with some of the most important organizations in the world, which means we need to have solutions that are mission critical. And we help our organizations we work with constantly connect the data, the people, and the processes both inside and outside their walls.

So we've been working with our customers who are managing this crisis, be they health care providers, communication providers, transportation providers, to help them make sure they understand the state of their enterprise, and they're pulling their data, together and they're actually able to use the data that's coming from other places.

So we've also actually used that data, and we've now published both detailed analysis and public dashboards that are powered by us actually at TIBCO.com to help organizations that aren't current customers be able to access that for free. We're true believers in the power of data for good, and it's long been our ethos here at TIBCO. So we believe this is one small aspect where we can help drive awareness of things like non-pharmaceutical interventions.

And the progress that we've seen, for example, in Washington State, in the greater San Francisco area, are all good indicators of what needs to happen elsewhere. I think some of the things we're seeing in the market today is the first signs that the data we've shared-- and the communities have been able to see-- are helping take the right steps, while we also work with pharmaceutical companies who are working on actual pharmaceutical interventions and using TIBCO there as well.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Dan, are you guys involved-- I was reading about how-- I think it's Google-- but they're looking at searches for people who can't smell because we now know that that's one of the early indicators of infection with COVID-19. Is that the kind of data and then the mapping that you are providing? Not necessarily that, but--

DAN STREETMAN: Yeah.

ADAM SHAPIRO: --for clients?

DAN STREETMAN: You're exactly right. So, you know, there are a lot of dashboards and tools that are telling people what has happened. And what we didn't need to provide publicly was another one of those. What we add at TIBCO is the value that our solutions are predictive and not just historical. And we've actually embedded artificial intelligence into that approach. And we're making it very geospatial-focused so that exact geodata models that are important enable us to run models or how things are going to unfold at a local level.

So we're gonna be able to make sure that we can understand the spatial patterns. We're predicting the effects of interventions or early indicators, like the sense of smell, and also critically helping identify resource gaps. As I said, seeing the progress of localized interventions has helped us map where the next hot spots would be.

For example, one of our data scientist is from Michigan. He was looking at data, you know, a few weeks ago and saw this spike that was about to happen in Michigan from our early indicators of data and actually was on the phone with his mother who was on her way to a bridge game. And he said, mom, I'm not sure that's a good idea. His mom is fine. She is not infected. And our goal is to make sure that data's available more broadly to all our communities. Those are all the ways that we believe using TIBCO ability to solve complex data problems can help make that possible for communities elsewhere, much like that data you saw from Google earlier.

DAN HOWLEY: So Dan-- this is Dan Howley-- can you just break it down for us? How do you visualize data like this? Do you see where people are having infections? How does this work?

DAN STREETMAN: Yeah, so absolutely. So, you know, a great example, we have all of our dashboards publicly live at TIBCO.com/covid19. So it's a great chance for people to see how the progression of infections, how the curve begins to bend in places like I said, like Washington, and the San Francisco Bay Area where they put in early interventions. We can also see areas where it spiked where interventions didn't take effect.

Another, I guess, on the downside of the example, when we first started publishing the dashboards, you know, Louisiana had reported its first few COVID-19 cases. And there was a church there refusing to heed Governor John Bel Edwards' order banning large gatherings. Clearly, we see the impact when word is not out. So our challenge is always making sure we make the visualizations easily accessible so the largest possible audience can visualize and understand the data and take the right actions.

And one of the key things we're able to do is show that over time, and then using the AI, which is embedded in our TIBCO Solutions, show the path if we don't make changes or show the path if we actually take advantage of non-pharmaceutical interventions like social distancing.

JULIE HYMAN: Dan, do you have a good feel for who is using these tools right now? I know you have a military background. I wonder if there is anyone in government or in military who is using some of these visualizations in order to make their plans.

DAN STREETMAN: Yeah, absolutely. So the broadest spectrum of our customers, you know, so 25% of the top 21 Fortune 2000 customers are using TIBCO Solutions. We're making them available as well to places like academic institutions. So for one example, as part of our TIBCO Academic Alliance, we're actually working with Washington University in St. Louis as they start to look at what are the individual indicators around a person's medical history that understand their response to virus exposure.

So from the military and governmental organizations all the way to researchers, we're making the data available very broadly, and it goes all the way down into logistics providers and those who are moving valiantly to make sure that our shelves are stocked with the appropriate resources. Whether you're Norfolk Southern or you're FedEx covering the last mile, our hearts go out to you. We're very grateful for all you're doing. And we wanted to make sure that our solutions are available to them and there and also make that same data available publicly so people can see the effects of interventions and next step, to be able to understand where resources need to be.

JULIE HYMAN: Dan, final question, just a quick one here. I'm curious how much of your resources have been diverted to this effort. And what's happening in your core business, your enterprise solutions business, right? Are you seeing a downtick in spending on the part of your clients? Have you had to lay anybody off, for example, what's happening?

DAN STREETMAN: So thank you. This has certainly been a, you know, a very dynamic four weeks. And our two highest priorities have remained the health of our team members and the success and ongoing operations of our customers. So I'm really proud of everyone at TIBCO, the resilience they've shown and exhibited. I'm also very grateful to our customers.

As enterprise software, we're mission critical to most of our customers. And we are working very closely with them. We've made sure now that nearly 100% of our team is working distributed. We're also using our own technology to ensure we're keeping our customer systems fully operational. Again, we saw this indications early on in southern Europe, Washington, California. We actually moved to work-from-home guidance to our individuals in those hot spots, as well as, for example, anyone who commuted via mass transit and told them to work from home.

We expanded those actions in every locality, including our operations in India. So we have not seen an impact negatively to our business. And we've actually seen, obviously, many of our customer's infrastructure demands come under higher need. Communications providers absolutely need to understand data and understand where their hot spots are gonna be. Medical service providers and pharmaceutical companies are all our customers, and we're focused on making sure we support them, but also is our third important priority, supporting our communities.

I'm really proud. We've had TIBCO team members home-make masks and delivered them to communities. We've also purchased masks and delivered them to Direct Relief. Andy Serwer was on earlier and talking about now is the time for companies to step up. I'm very proud of the way that TIBCO team members have stepped up to support our customers and our communities. And I'm very confident that with the right data we will weather this, and we will come out stronger as a company and obviously stronger as a community, as a nation, and a world.

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah. All of us are hoping for the same. Dan Streetman is CEO of TIBCO. He's joining us from California. Stay well and thank you very much for your time today, appreciate it.

DAN STREETMAN: Thank you very much, Julie, appreciate it.

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