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Tibco To Launch Enterprise Social Networking

Tibbr will use a social networking framework to deliver topic-based communications and documents to employees with a stake in those subjects.

Tibco Software doesn't believe social networking is only for LinkedIn professionals or Facebook fans. It's using its messaging infrastructure as a basis for bringing social networking to the enterprise.

Tibco's Tibbr will allow employees in a company to follow communications and documents generated around a topic in which they have a stake. It doesn't strictly follow social networking's paradigm to link the employees to people they know or people with similar interests. Instead of person-to-person relationships, "Tibbr subscribes you to a subject. Information doesn't just come from people. It comes from a huge number of existing systems," said Rourke McNamara, director of product marketing.

Social networking is expected to play a larger role in enterprise communications systems as it grows in importance among consumers. Every organization has a set of individuals who naturally network and connect with others, spreading information on how the company works and the current challenges it faces. "In a world of viral communications and relentless change... it is more imperative than ever before to furnish employees and teams with the tools to connect, create new connections, and stay connected," wrote Arthur Jue and co-authors in the recent book Social Media at Work. The company of the future will heavily employ social networking, they predict.

Tibbr monitors applications and when one produces a report of interest to a set of employees, it sends them a short message saying the report exists and sometimes including a link to it. It can tell when reports are being produced by SAP applications, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Siebel Systems, and other sources. Tibco connectors can attach Tibbr to 40 major enterprise applications.

"It supplies bursts of information. It looks a lot like Twitter. Micro-messaging is at its heart," said McNamara. Twitter messages or tweets are 140 characters or less. Tibbr has no such limit, but its user interface "is designed for short messages," to be retrieved by phone or handheld device as well as on a computer, he said.

Tibbr is also integrated with Microsoft's Active Director and LDAP identity management directories so that users' roles or privilege levels act as a control on what information they receive or don't receive.

Tibbr implementers do not have to be existing customers of Tibco's Rendevous. But McNamara noted that it will function more as a plug and play system when implemented in an environment already served by Tibco's middleware messaging.

Tibco Rendevous and other middleware messaging products supply many of the links between applications and throughout the enterprise software infrastructure.

Tibco will test drive Tibbr on its own employees starting Dec. 14 and make it generally available sometime in early 2010. No pricing has been set.

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