David Gilmour • SVP Collaboration, Oracle Beehive

The BrainYard - Where collaborative minds congregate.

Oliver Marks, Contributor

May 4, 2009

3 Min Read

David Gilmour is senior vice president, Collaboration Technologies at Oracle. During this discussion we cover Oracle's Beehive collaborative product and associated strategy. I highly recommend listening to this 16 minutes on large scale enterprise issues as there are some pertinent points here highly relevant to the entire Enterprise 2.0 space regardless of company size.Beehive is a new product launched at last fall's Oracle Open World which unifies collaboration messaging, mail serving, team workspace and collaboration spaces, social networking and web video conferencing all in one package.The intent is to unify and simplify infrastructure and make acquiring these tools less expensive and fragmented.In big companies unifying user experience across all the different types of user artifacts is a challenge and Beehive seeks to address this.On top down and bottom up models there is a challenging zero sum trade off between top down and grass roots adoption with fundamentally different goals and contexts driving use cases.The Oracle philosophy is to split the world into a tight core of services which is managed tightly; by keeping a grip on this, information management and IT are able to control compliance and risk issues while allowing knowledge workers to operate much more loosely at the edges.This is achieved with a unified environment running one standardized storage architecture, which eliminates the fragmentation caused by attempting to daisy chain multiple applications and their associated storage.Plugging open source tools into this core architecture is one of the dreams of enterprise 2.0, says Gilmour, with the core sustaining the edge.Oracle are all for openness and giving customers freedom to do what they want to do.

"One of the not much talked about subjects that lies behind the enterprise 2.0 discussion is that historically there's always been a very bright line between the process worker where you are typically working with a business application such as a call center, roll up of general ledger, HCM systems, where the worker is engaged in a process that somebody else has designed but inevitably you hit some problems, road blocks, and we have to step out of that process, go over here, collaborate, leverage other users, be in the much more fluid world of user to user publishing, content creation and interaction"

You wind up with a completed transaction which solves the problem, plug that in as the new process and keep doing what the business does.

"That process of disengaging, collaborating and reengaging is very awkward in many situations, and there is a huge amount of frictional loss that happens back and forth across that boundary".

Oracle are leading the charge in supporting the core operational aspects of the business - which are what pay the bills - by giving IT the core platform to manage tightly so other processes can be loose. Enterprises are inherently social but there is a huge difference between process work and knowledge work.Customers appreciate the ability to integrate the complete centralized solution out of the box with built in extensibility possibilities. Three core drivers for Oracle product design: cost containment, breaking the zero sum nature of compliance, and avoiding social software chaos with shadow IT fragmentation.These measures are designed for large scale enterprises who have scaling issues particularly in the current climate of mergers and acquisitions.(Apologies for sound quality, we had telephone interference).

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