SINGAPORE--Social platforms used in the enterprise arena should perform the role of a "pinhole" that filters only relevant information specific to the employee to improve business processes and not be another "Facebook rip-off".
That was the view of Ram Menom, executive vice president of worldwide marketing at Tibco, who noted that social media is "not a fad" and here to stay. As such, his company, through its Tibbr social networking platform, hopes to show companies how to use it as a tool to improve workflow and reduce workload, he said at a briefing here to unveil Tibbr 3.0.
The executive explained that Tibco's approach to enterprise social networking is not about "ripping off Facebook".
Blindly copying the popular social networking site, he pointed out, is not a viable strategy for the enterprise as social platforms for businesses should be more than just about users' friends and updates on their personal lives. Instead, enterprise social platforms should be a "pinhole" that delivers employee-specific information according to the person's job scope, Menom said.
Tibbr 3.0, available from Aug. 1, aims to bring "real work" such as filing expense and purchasing reports and help find and assess documents from the organization's deluge of data on to users' "social walls" or the "universal inbox of the 21st century", the Tibco executive said. Here, employers can post and receive information updates and feeds specific to their job scopes without having to leave their wall.
For instance, users can follow not just colleagues and customers, but also relevant subjects and events, which include report notifications, meetings and news feeds, he elaborated. "So, rather than finding an expense report to file or approve, the expense report finds you."
Menon also drew attention to the inclusion of more ad hoc collaboration tools in the latest product. One such tool is tibCast, which allows for Web and video conferencing to be carried out within the Tibbr wall. This means users need not exit the platform to access other applications, such as Outlook, to send calendar invites or collect phone numbers, he said.
Tibbr is not the only business-focused enterprise social networking platform. Salesforce.com, for one, made its Chatter 2 collaboration tool available in September last year and is available at no additional cost to existing subscribers of its CRM (customer relationship management) service.
Asia businesses likely adopters
According to Menon, the first version of Tibbr was launched only this January and the platform is currently used by 20 companies across 25 countries.
One of Tibbr's earliest customers is CargoSmart, a Hong Kong-based software-as-a-service shipping and logistics company.
Steve Sui, CIO of CargoSmart, who was also at the event, said the Tibbr social networking platform is a "good fit" with its real-time collaboration needs as its employees can now leverage each other's expertise in one setting.
Expressing optimism over Tibbr's uptake in Asia, he noted that many businesses in the region understand how social networking can be applied in the workplace. The younger population of the Asian workforce is also more inclined toward enterprise-based social networking, he added.
"They go home to Facebook. But at work, they face legacy systems. It's boring," said Menom.