Tibco is making its move in social enterprise software as it rolls out its Tibbr 3.0 effort and positions itself as an answer to social networking sprawl in corporations.
Tibbr launched in January and got a good deal of buzz from enterprise insiders. Why? Tibco taps into all the process data in a company since its middleware and messaging systems serve as the tracks that shuttle information around via service oriented architecture.
The upshot was that Tibbr surfaced conversations between various enterprise systems. "Ripping off Facebook for the enterprise is not a strategy," said Ram Menon, executive vice president of marketing for Tibco. "Whether you like it or not 68 percent of enterprise data still sits in an enterprise system." Tibbr was a way to bring processes and people forward into a social networking view.
With Tibbr 3.0, Tibco is launching a bevy of features that all add up to create a more unified collaborations and communications suite.
It's unclear whether Tibco was ready for Tibbr to take off, but the company has seen good response. On Tibco's earnings conference call on Thursday, CEO Vivek Ranadive said the company is adding sales capacity to handle the demand. "We've seen just absolute explosion is with our social networking platform, Tibbr," he said. "In a couple of months we've seen a three-fold increase in the number of qualified leads. It's taken us somewhat by surprise. We need to have the capacity to execute on all of that."
Tibbr 3.0 is adding unified communications features such as HD video and desktop sharing and improves integration with Oracle Expense and Microsoft SharePoint. Menon said that the unified communications features---something most enterprises already have---are built in to integrate with corporate data streams.
Among other features:
Tibbr 3.0 will feature event data and allow users to close the loop on information from within the application. In a nutshell, a worker can approve a purchase order or any other item from within Tibbr.
tibSmartwidgets will add enterprise data streams and social interaction on top of existing applications. Tibbr's widgets can be embedded in any application.
Document management so users can search and find a document via Tibbr and share them. SharePoint, the primary data repository in the enterprise, will allow for Tibbr's tools. "Tibbr can integrate into any static data repository," said Menon. That integration is key since the average employee accesses nine different enterprise systems.
The final feature of Tibbr 3.0 is tibCommunities, which is a platform to monitor various social networking tools in the enterprise. Tibco's communities will allow a single sign-on and the ability to create distinct areas for external partners and other key corporate players. These communities, which bridge both on-premise and on-demand applications, can also be tailored to key processes and roles in the company.
My first reaction to Tibbr’s community features was to dismiss them as more of the same. Menon, however, explained that tibCommunities is designed to address social sprawl. Think of almost any enterprise application and there's some social networking overlay now. Ditto for every on-demand application. What that means is you may have Salesforce.com's Chatter, a social overlay from NetSuite, collaboration built into SAP or NetSuite and something from SuccessFactors.
As someone that has documented all of these social feature additions, it's clear that sprawl can't be too far away. Tibco may be a little early with its pitch that Tibbr 3.0 can cure social sprawl, but the company is on to a key theme. Sharing and collaboration is becoming much more complicated than it needs to be for companies.
In many respects, Tibbr 3.0 is almost positioned as social networking middleware. Tibco's sweet spot is messaging and middleware so it's a natural role for the company to build on its ability to manage and analyze processes and events.
Ranadive said that collaboration is a key cog in Tibco's plan to be "an effective systems platform for the 21st century enterprise." Meanwhile, Tibco's core business is doing well. The company reported another strong quarter. The company reported fiscal second quarter earnings of $21 million, or 12 cents a share, on revenue of $216.4 million, up 25 percent from a year ago. Non-GAAP earnings were 21 cents a share, three cents ahead of Wall Street estimates.
Needless to say, Ranadive is upbeat about Tibco's prospects and Tibbr is one of the reasons why. "We are the innovator and leader in each of the major areas in which we play, across service-oriented architecture, business process management, master data management, event driven architectures, analytic applications, and social collaboration," he said. "Just as Oracle was a platform for transactions, Tibco is the platform for events. We're still in the very early innings of what I believe is the greatest opportunity in enterprise software."