5 Feb 2011

TIBCO’s New Tibbr Gives Big Business an Effective Way To Communicate Internally

TIBCO’s New Tibbr Gives Big Business an Effective Way To Communicate Internally

TIBCO gets into the Corporate Blogging game with its new TIBBR technology. But can the middleware giant now make middleware that also connects people?

Chances are that if you’re reading this, then you are part of the hundreds of millions of people who use social media on a daily basis. Facebook alone has 200 active daily users, and Twitter is not far behind. Other social networks, such as YouTube, MySpace, and LinkedIn, also connect people into daily conversations. In many ways, social media has come to represent the new community of the 21st century that has replaced traditional communities worldwide.

The application of social media in the workplace, however, has lagged behind.

Although Gartner has moved Corporate Blogging up on their hype cycle, blogging in an of itself does not represent the cutting edge of social media anymore. While blogs and portals (like this one) allow for commenting and discussion underneath articles, it is microblogging, in the style of Twitter and Facebook, as well as the ability to custom-tailor information streams, that is really lacking from the application of social media into the corporate world.

And this is exactly what TIBCO’s Tibbr is seeking to accomplish.


Tibbr – the New “Middleware” For Corporate Communication & Participation

Prior to Tibbr, corporate communication has been clumsy at best. In the past, employees were simply added to e-mail distribution lists and had little ability to opt into the lists or information streams they needed access to. Tibbr, on the other hand, come Enterprise ready. While other corporate social media technologies do not allow people to follow subjects and systems, Tibbr allows employees to custom tailor their communities and information within their own organization.

Much like Facebook, Tibbr offers participants a wall that constantly posts information, messages, queries, and other dynamic messages throughout the day. And people can choose how frequently they receive updates for every subject, list, or community that they are a part of, this minimizing the bulk of unnecessary information received on a daily basis.

In addition, users can choose whether to run Tibber on-premise or off-premise, depending on how comfortable they are with having data in the cloud. And because Tibbr is integrated with the corporate directory, all contact details of users and departments and groups can automatically be uploaded and updated with ease.

The Problems With Corporate “Social” Media

A key message at TIBCO’s TIBBR launch in London on February 1st was that it’s not just essential to have the right information at the right time. Now it is also essential to understand the context of information. Corporate Social Networking can be thought of as another way to introduce that essential water cooler conversation that helps people to capture this contextual information and help people do their jobs better.

An increasing number of people now work from home or continually spend time travelling between customers or branches. Just as social networking is allow these people to preserve their own personal relations, so too can social networking provide another way to collaborate on the business level. This is what Tibbr is seeking to accomplish.

A hurdle, however, is that, up until Tibbr, the word ‘Social’ has not sat well with the executive level. Most high-level execs get turned off when they hear it, much in the same way business leaders maligned blogging for years.

Perhaps social media should be renamed to ‘corporate media,’ and have more players in the IT market begin to provide corporate media platform that legitimize its usage and demonstrate measurable results? Of course, measuring results is the trick: one of the limitations of implementing corporate social media is that its effectiveness is hard to ascertain apart from anecdotally. After all, relationships cannot be quantified.

That being said, the ledger sheets at the end of fiscal years will ultimately tell the tale if new social media concepts like TIBBR are worth their weight in gold.

A Top Down Approach to Marketing Tibbr

To date, social networking technologies for business have mainly been marketed using a bottom up method, imagining that targeting the end users would ultimately inspire large enterprises to adopt the technology company wide. This, however, has not been the case, due to the aforementioned executive bias toward social media as a viable corporate communication and participation solution.

TIBCO, however, is taking a top down approach to marketing Tibbr. Sensing that it will take enterprise wide adoption for Tibbr to catch hold in the marketplace, the idea is to sell the concept to the executives first and have it implemented at the corporate level. The downside to this, of course, would be the fact that such an undertaking could be costly, giving the scope of putting a platform like Tibbr in place for a large corporation.

Ultimately, however, Tibbr represents the best chance for social media to take hold in the workplace. After all, people want to do a good job in their work, and if social media enables them to do their job even only 10% better, they will probably want to use it. And because the volume of email and information that business professionals receive each day is ever increasing – and seem as though it will increase considerably over time – social media like Tibbr may be our only hope for organizing this information glut.

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