Oracle Beehive Platform Offering Social Networking, Collaboration Tools

Oracle has updated its suite of collaboration tools for the enterprise via enhancements to Oracle Beehive, allowing workers to interface through team workspaces, conferencing and instant messaging on a unified platform. Collaboration and social-networking tools are becoming vital parts of the enterprise, a fact recognized by Salesforce, Microsoft and other major IT companies.

Oracle introduced new features to its Oracle Beehive enterprise-collaboration platform on May 4, throwing its hat into an increasingly crowded ring of IT companies rolling out new social-networking and collaboration tools for the enterprise.
Oracle Beehive, a standards-based platform that delivers e-mail, calendar and other features, now includes team workspaces and instant messaging, as well as Web and voice conferencing.

Web-based Team Workspaces, which works via a Web browser-styled interface, includes wikis, team calendaring, RSS support, contextual search and advanced file sharing for groups working on projects. Enhanced Web and voice conferencing adds a security layer to conferencing, as well as the ability to record and retrieve conferences. In addition, Oracle has expanded the platform's integration with other desktop productivity tools.

"Beehive takes social software and extends it across the entire spectrum," David Gilmour, senior vice president of collaboration technologies for Oracle, said in an interview. "It can produce a unified user experience; it manages the platform tightly, but keeps the tools looser."

The solution is available either on-premises or through Oracle On Demand.

Companies large and small have been inserting Web 2.0 tools such as wikis and even Twitter into the enterprise, not only to let their teams collaborate, but also to see how people outside of an organization are reacting to new campaigns or product launches.

On top of that, Oracle, Microsoft, Google and other companies have begun prepping their cloud-based services for the enterprise, as more and more companies turn to SAAS (software as a service) to deliver their most needed applications.

Oracle has been prominent in the news as of late, mostly due to its plans to purchase Sun Microsystems for roughly $7.4 billion, creating a massive competitor to IBM, Hewlett-Packard and other IT giants. Oracle's April 20 announcement of the acquisition allows it to expand its end-to-end offerings while further exploiting Java and Solaris, the basis for many of its products.

IBM had reportedly been in talks to purchase Sun, but that deal fell through for reasons still undisclosed.

Oracle already acquired a number of smaller companies in 2009, including mValent, which offers configuration management solutions, and Relsys International, which develops drug safety and risk management applications.