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TIBCO Takes Social Software to Work

TIBCO borrows a Twitter page to bring better information to enterprise workers

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TIBCO Software will release in 2010 software that lets people search for and then track corporate information by subject matter in a similar way to how they might follow people on Twitter.

This is a clear sign that the enterprise software and social software worlds are munging. Get ready to see a lot more.



The idea behind the tibbr – the name an obvious play on “Twitter” -- helps people find information related to their particular tasks and jobs quickly and easily by searching for information based on its subject matter, and then subscribing to relevant feeds on those topics, the company said. [Disclosure: TIBCO is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Lack of information isn’t the main problem for enterprise systems these days, what's really needed is a useful interface and method for getting to the precise needed information quickly and easily to help business workers do their jobs more efficiently. By taking a page out of the social networking playbook, TIBCO aims to let people access corporate information via a Twitter-like "update." The result: workers can find the information they need faster, so, in theory, they perform with far higher productivity.

In an interview with All Things D’s Ben Worthen, TIBCO CEO Vivek Ranadive said he got the idea for tibbr when reading -- what else? –Twitter. More specifically, he said the inspiration came while he read updates to the micro-blogging service made by NBA basketball player Shaquille O’Neal.

With people spending – or arguably wasting -- so much time on social-networking applications outside of their everyday work tasks, companies have been looking for ways to apply social-networking technologies like real-time collaboration, status updates and Web presence information inside the firewall. TIBCO obviously sees tibbr as one way to do it.

I expect we'll see more ways that the social wall interface makes it's way into the business IT domain. This interface could easily replace the email in-box as the place workers tend to "live" during their jobs. Google Wave clearly also sees this as a good fit.

And, of course, no one "wall" will do. We should also expect an aggregation of walls that will follow us, and also adapt in terms of what takes priority on the personalized wall -- automated via policies -- based on what we are doing. Or where we are doing it. Or both.

As TIBCO describes tibbr, it will let people set “subjects” that represent a user, an application or a process relevant to what tasks or functions someone performs in an organization. Through tibbr, they can subscribe to feeds by category – for example, Finance or Accounts Payable -- for specific information they think will be relevant to their jobs.

Tibbr is based on Silver, TIBCO’s own cloud-computing infrastructure platform. TIBCO unveiled Silver earlier this year as a rapid-application development and delivery system for companies that want to deploy cloud computing but are unsure how to get started.

The company also is pushing tibbr’s foundation on open standards as an advantage for companies that want to integrate it with other applications so it can become a part of someone’s daily workflow.

TIBCO plans to test tibbr out on its own employees beginning on Dec. 14 before rolling it out to customers in early 2010.

BriefingsDirect contributor Liz Montalbano provided editorial assistance and research on this post.

More Stories By Dana Gardner

At Interarbor Solutions, we create the analysis and in-depth podcasts on enterprise software and cloud trends that help fuel the social media revolution. As a veteran IT analyst, Dana Gardner moderates discussions and interviews get to the meat of the hottest technology topics. We define and forecast the business productivity effects of enterprise infrastructure, SOA and cloud advances. Our social media vehicles become conversational platforms, powerfully distributed via the BriefingsDirect Network of online media partners like ZDNet and IT-Director.com. As founder and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, Dana Gardner created BriefingsDirect to give online readers and listeners in-depth and direct access to the brightest thought leaders on IT. Our twice-monthly BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition podcasts examine the latest IT news with a panel of analysts and guests. Our sponsored discussions provide a unique, deep-dive focus on specific industry problems and the latest solutions. This podcast equivalent of an analyst briefing session -- made available as a podcast/transcript/blog to any interested viewer and search engine seeker -- breaks the mold on closed knowledge. These informational podcasts jump-start conversational evangelism, drive traffic to lead generation campaigns, and produce strong SEO returns. Interarbor Solutions provides fresh and creative thinking on IT, SOA, cloud and social media strategies based on the power of thoughtful content, made freely and easily available to proactive seekers of insights and information. As a result, marketers and branding professionals can communicate inexpensively with self-qualifiying readers/listeners in discreet market segments. BriefingsDirect podcasts hosted by Dana Gardner: Full turnkey planning, moderatiing, producing, hosting, and distribution via blogs and IT media partners of essential IT knowledge and understanding.

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