A Tale of Two Kinds of Companies

Recently, two complex event processing (CEP) technology vendors changed hands. Progress Software sold its Apama CEP platform to Swiss vendor Software AG, and Tibco acquired StreamBase — the last remaining independent CEP vendor.

Both companies were tackling very complex issues in financial services and enjoyed initial success. The founders of Apama sold their firm to Progress Software for $25.4 million in 2005, the year StreamBase launched its first product. What sealed both vendors’ demise was not bad software, but rather a paradigm shift in the software industry.

When you search for the term “cloud computing” on Streambase.com, Google can find only two instances and they are both located in boilerplates of a business partner that is a part of a customer case study.  Run the same test on Apama.com and Google responds that the search “did not match any documents”. These are bad signs.

We live in times when the purchase-and-install-software model has been replaced by cloud-based services faster than you can say survival of the fittest.  The lesson learned is that when the paradigm in your industry is shifting, making money every quarter no longer guarantees survival.

Coincidentally, 2005 is also the year Integral launched its open platform for FX. Today, we are able to offer our customers unrestricted direct access to the entire market; unrestricted commerce (trade how, where, and with whomever you want); and free admission (no up-front costs, no monthly minimums).

From the outset, we designed our business with the vision in mind that people now describe as cloud computing: no upfront costs, a pay-as-you-go business model, and rapid time to market. Not one FX platform that we helped launch is like the other. They are all unique, customized businesses, all branded under the name of our customers.

Through a combination of innovation, hard work and fortunate timing, Integral has been enjoying dramatic growth in all aspects of our business for the past few years.

What makes cloud computing so successful are the built-in flexibility, the empowerment of the end user, and the striking financial advantages of this business model. All three elements are ideal suited to excel in this area of social commerce where networks and connections are key business drivers.

I hope that reading this post left you feeling relaxed. If you are feeling uneasy or concerned, I would encourage you to talk to us. Because these are decisive times but there is always an upside and a great opportunity for growth. Or, in the words of Charles Dickens:

It was the best of times,

it was the worst of times,

it was the age of wisdom,

it was the age of foolishness,

it was the epoch of belief,

it was the epoch of incredulity,

it was the season of Light,

it was the season of Darkness,

it was the spring of hope,

it was the winter of despair,

we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

(Quoted from the opening paragraph of Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of two Cities”)