First, the disclaimers: TIBCO is not a present or past client (well, I cannot disclose whether they were a Gartner client, so I am talking about my bitnez now), nor did I get anything for posting this. Since I was somewhat critical of their early foray into Social X, they decided to reach out to me last week and give me a preview of the new release (3.0 – what happened to 2.0? did I miss that one?) launched today.
What follow are my impressions.
There is something to like about what TIBCO is building in tibbr: An infrastructure to provide a business a new way of working (no relation to Jive’s New Way to Business) leveraging the social channels and the traditional channels in one. There are indeed some built-in integration that come with it (MOSS – Microsoft Sharepoint is the most vivid example), but for the most part they stuck to what they do better: provide “the plumbing” for any application to leverage. The early attempt (since I missed 2.0 I can only comment on version 1.0) was a lot like a “me too” version of Chatter and did not offer lots that was different.
This new version is a tad more interesting.
TIBCO managed to create more than an activity stream, although that is the way it is displayed.
They found a way to integrate Video, Voice, and virtually any application to the stream effortlessly (or almost effortlessly). You want to have a conversation, even a conference call, as part of the collaboration stream? You got it. Want to do a video-conference as part of the same collaboration project? Included in the product. Do you want to make documents stored in your other collaboration platforms (e.g. Sharepoint) part of the collaboration – yet retain all their rights and priorities? Yep, there. Virtually anything you want to do, anything you do as part of your job can now be programmed to be part of the Activity stream. It certainly is more interesting. There are a few connotations here that must be noted:
- This is what Chattter says they can do – but it is done in a broader scale (if Salesforce can effectively deliver on DB.com as promised, they would be close to doing this; IBM has a similar vision, but no product yet).
- There are certain components in here that I have seen elsewhere before. Tony Nemelka, a frequent contributor to this blog, is the CEO for Teleplace – a virtual-world collaboration platform. A lot of the integration work Teleplace has done, for some time now, with Sharepoint makes me think of what tibbr is doing.
- Probably the most notable element here: this is a platform destined to adapt to the way people work. It does not require people to change their method of work, nor does it require a different interface to be learned (in theory; in practice TIBCO wants to make tibbr “the social inbox” – not sure I am behind this idea, but it is certainly interesting. Speaking of similarities, the work Harmon.ie is doing is similar to this concept of the Social Inbox – but delivered via email, not as a platform to allow an organization to place it anywhere they want).
As I said, I was quite harsh (maybe not so much in my blog post as I was in conversations) about the value that tibbr could bring to the table. I did left an open question as to where it was going and whether it would be better as it got there.
Is this there? No, not yet – but this is definitely something on the way there. This is something indeed – almost like I was writing just yesterday, when talking about what Social Business needs to do. A collaborative platform that is open to all, with secure tokens, rights, and privileges, accessible from anywhere for anything by anyone. If this is what businesses end up using tibbr for, then this is really something on the way there.
Have you seen it? Read about it? What do you think? Would love to hear your comments…