The challenge of introducing social media to the workplace is one that a number of companies have taken on, but few have really met. Sure, you can essentially rearrange Facebook and apply it to the workplace, but the basic problem with that is that most employees (translation: I) don’t necessarily want to hang out with their coworkers online, which is what social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are all about. They (I) want to be able to communicate and collaborate on work-related projects for the sake of productivity without committing to being virtual besties. One company, Tibco, may have gotten it right with the launch of its own enterprise social media platform, tibbr, back in January, and today, the company is announcing a new upgrade: tibbr 3.0.
The difference between tibbr and other enterprise social media platforms like Yammer and Salesforce Chatter is the fact that tibbr allows users to follow subjects rather than people. You may not know the dude in Clearing and Forwarding that you need to connect with to find out the status of a shipment, but with tibbr, you can check the relevant topic and find out whether the shipment is on time, delayed, etc.
The new and improved tibbr 3.0 adds a few new capabilities to the original tibbr platform, including HD video conferencing and desktop sharing.
One of the tibbr 3.0 additions includes tibCast, an HD video conferencing feature that allows users to initiate voice calls, video conferencing, or desktop sharing with a single click directly within their tibbr stream of interactions.
Additionally, Tibco has added a new feature that allows users to not only follow a stream of activity, but to act on it. For example, if there was a meeting that you weren’t able to follow, you can now check out the automatic recording of the meeting and, if you have further questions, you can instantly initiate a voice or video call by clicking on the name of one of the attendees, all directly within tibbr.
Document management is another important area of everyday enterprise needs, so the new tibbr 3.0 allows users to search for, access, share, and archive documents all directly within tibbr.
“Enterprises create 33 trillion documents a year,” Tibco EVP Ram Menon told me. “Documents are mundane, but important.”
Another new feature being added to the tibbr offerings is tibbr Communities, a new platform for allowing enterprises to create, manage, and monitor multiple communities while maintaining privacy for different users. Employees can engage in multiple communities from a single login and rest assured that they’re sharing the right information with the right people.
The issue of information sharing is a sensitive one. You don’t want certain facts getting out to the wrong people, which is why Menon emphasizes tibbr’s security over something like cloud computing. A small company can use Google Apps or Salesforce Chatter pretty confidently, but, as Menon notes:
“Everybody talks about the cloud because you can have it up and running and fast, but enterprises have secrets. What if I could create a social networking tool that is on-premise and have it up and running quickly? One CIO recently told me that while he uses the cloud for some things, he’s not putting his most private information in the cloud.”
When Tibco unveiled tibbr in January, the service launched with 40,000 users. Today, tibbr serves 20 customers and, in Ram Menon’s estimation, a “couple hundred thousand” users.