Perficient has used instant messaging almost since the inception of the company. In many ways, we live and die by it. However, instant messaging allows for quick answers from those you know and not from those you don’t know. It’s a classic issue trying to be solved by social networking tools. Recently, Yammer has come forward as almost the next generation approach to getting answers via an Activity Stream. It’s got a lot of instant message capabilities but you can post to a variety of different groups. You can then search by your groups within your network, follow people you find interesting, and of course search your entire network or just a few groups. It’s a nice combination of Twitter, IM, and facebook into a focused application where just the needed functionality is replicated.
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The key is the Activity Stream. You have your personal stream of information that you can choose to consume. However, you cannot choose to act on it. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get information in your stream and work with it right there vs flipping to one of 17,000 other applications? It would be searchable. It would be accessible. It would be easy or at least easier than what you do today. Many of the vendors are heading down the path of creating an activity stream integrated to back end systems, email, Yammer type information, etc. This is the next generation of networking. IBM is headed that direction with their Social Business Toolkit. Tibco is already there with tibbr. Tibbr is the cool Yammer type tool you’ve never heard of. It’s got some interesting possibilities because it’s made by Tibco, the company that specializes in integrating to a variety of back end systems and getting at that data and those transactions.
Eric Roch pointed me to an article by Constellation Research about Tibbr which is interesting and worth passing on.
So for example Chris Kanaracus at CIO.com reports on CIBER which had been working with Yammer:
…over time the company found Yammer’s feature set lacking, he [Tony Hadzi, EVP and president of Ciber North America]said. Tibco’s background in enterprise messaging and integration was a selling point for Tibbr, he said. “Yammer to me was more of a point solution. Tibco was an enterprisewide product.”
It is a pity Chris’s article is titled: Tibco Aims At Salesforce, Socialtext with Tibbr Platform because that’s not the whole story. It may be partially true in the sense that tibbr has microblogging capability and its features can in turn be compared with Chatter etc. but that misses the more fundamental point.
tibbr is device, application and system agnostic. It is not tied to any particular application. TIBCO’s heritage comes from taking those disparate applications and making them work together. TIBCO doesn’t care what apps you’re using as long as it can expose them into its messaging and integration platform. THAT’s the fundamental difference. Put another way, TIBCO is acting as the honest broker between competing solutions and saying: ‘We don’t care who you are as long as we can expose your data.’
From my perspective, tibbr is opening up the socially mediated debate. By offering what I see as a self evident application from the end user perspective which should aid adoption while allowing any major enterprise app to participate in the enterprise conversation it is further eroding the boundaries between siloed operations. It is doing so in a controlled manner. That appeals with many I spoke with those I spoke with at the launch. Like it or not, business needs to feel as though there is some control and TIBCO can provide that through its policy management capabilities.