Tibco Designs Tibbr 4.0 to Be More Than Just Facebook for the Office

This update to the tibbr enterprise social networking platform brings work tasks, projects, customer information and project status information to multiple employees.

Tibco Software says its experience as a provider of business process management applications gives its enterprise social media platform, tibbr, an advantage over other such platforms flooding the market based on the popularity of Facebook in the broad consumer market.

Tibco introduced Sept. 26, at its TUCON user conference in Las Vegas, tibbr 4.0, with additional tools and capabilities designed to offer Facebook-like ease-of-use, along with information to help enterprise employees work effectively and serve customers better.

“I think the first innings of enterprise social was about ripping off Facebook and declaring victory. It’s not that simple,” said Ram Menon, president of social computing at Tibco.

Tibbr, which was introduced in January of 2011, provides a Facebook-like user interface, as do other enterprise social media platforms. But tibbr does the others one better by integrating the functionality of other Tibco software to automate business processes, Menon said.

He gave examples of business processes that generate reports such as purchasing, supply chain management, order processing and such that can be presented as updates to an employee’s tibbr “feed” as they become available. Also, machines within an organization also send out reports, such as the maintenance records of a robot that is used along an assembly line.

“Integration is our business, getting systems to talk to each other,” he said. “So we felt that was the key differentiator in really making enterprise social media work in the enterprise.”

At the Dreamforce 2012 user conference for Salesforce.com last week, General Electric (GE) provided details about how its Salesforce.com Chatter-based social media platform post performance information recorded from GE jet engine test runs to a social media news feed.

The tibbr platform is designed both for enterprise employees and works across multiple device types, but also is designed for IT administrators who want to facilitate enterprise social networking, but control how it’s used and what information is shared.

Another differentiator for tibbr, Menon said, is that it can be offered as either a cloud or on-premise solution, whereas most other enterprise social media offerings are cloud-based.

Tibco is joining the growing ranks of companies, some startups, which are trying to replicate the success of Facebook, Twitter and other consumer social media in the enterprise. They include Jive, Yammer (recently acquired by Microsoft), Salesforce Chatter and others. Also at Dreamforce, Salesforce provided a roadmap of its Buddy Media acquisition in developing social media-based marketing programs as a service.

Sriram Chakravarthy, vice president of products and engineering for social computing at Tibco, demonstrated how tibbr works with an example of an employee’s tibbr page.

Scrolling down the page, it showed a link to an analytics report that’s relevant to a project the employee is working on, an Oracle expense report that the employee could click open and approve and an article relevant to a key customer for whom the employee works.

“You’re pulling every piece of information that’s important to you regardless of where it might be coming from,” Chakravarthy explained.

Other features of version 4.0 include an updated Social Profile feature that has information about the employee but also relevant external links such as to their LinkedIn profile. Also included is a Social Graph that has information about the user and their communications with other co-workers and shared interests, such as information related to a project he and a colleague are working on.

Also new in tibbr 4.0 is a Social Graph API that lets internal or external developers create applications to run on tibbr and an online marketplace at which they can be shared.