I had the privilege of attending the Tibco launch event of their new collaboration platform, Tibbr and while I'm not keen on the name, the product itself is quite good.  I know what you’re thinking, and it’s probably the same thing I was thinking when I started listening to the session, “oh great, another collaboration tool?” But you are wrong.

Not Just Another Collaboration Tool

I think we have all lost track of the number of collaboration tools on the market today that all tout themselves as being different, Tibbr actually is different. I’ve seen a lot of collaboration tools and vendors but I can sincerely say that I was more than impressed with Tibbr.

The look and feel of Tibbr is sleek and sexy to say the least, the interface should be familiar to anyone accustomed to Facebook and Twitter.  As Aldo Manzini, the EVP of MGM Resorts International stated, "the platform basically has virality built into it." What that means is that the design and usability make it simple and effective so when first time employees log in they "get it." 

Users have the ability to follow and subscribe to users, topics or data which means that you can make sure you're getting the most relevant information delivered to your stream regardless of whether that information is on a particular person or invoice.

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It's About Content and Context

Even the skeptical Dennis Howlett (who spoke on a panel) seemed to be impressed with Tibbr as he correctly noted that most of the collaboration platforms out there allow you to manage and share content but are missing the other big C which is context, and that's something Tibbr takes care of. Dennis also highlighted two key points about Tibbr which really make it stand out and I agree with him 100%:

  1. The platform is self-evident, meaning that as a user there isn't a lot that you need to learn, if you've used Facebook or Twitter, then you will know how to use Tibbr.
  2. You can get direct access to Tibbr and integrate with things such as Oracle, SAP, Salesforce and others and this provides context around everything that takes place in Tibbr (he called this a massive win).

Integrating the Lifestream

Tibbr also allows you to pull your lifestream into the platform, meaning your Twitter, Facebook and/or Linkedin profile, thus bringing in the functionality of something like Seesmic Desktop or Tweetdeck into the enterprise. The reasoning behind this was that you want your employees to be in front of Tibbr instead of navigating away to another channel or destination site.

If employees spend their time with Tibbr then chances are that engagement and interactions amongst the enterprise will increase, an interesting concept. The look and feel of adding lifestream applications is akin to adding an app to your iPhone or any other modular device -- you simply click on what you want to integrate and then configure it.

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Enterprise Application Integration

This is what I found most interesting however. The ability to bring in and integrate other systems into your enterprise collaboration environment. Let's say for example that you are using SAP for your CRM needs. You can integrate and select which CRM elements you want to pull in from SAP into Tibbr. But it doesn't stop with just CRM data. You can pull things in from ERP systems, RSS subscriptions or other collaboration suites such as SharePoint feeds.

Personally I want to get a better look at how deep the integration goes, but from what I saw Tibbr is definitely on the right track to being a true Enterprise 2.0 solution.

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Tibbr is available as either an on-premise or cloud-based solution and the cost is US$ 12/user/month, however this rate can be negotiated for large accounts (as can most things).

Final Thoughts

The platform itself looks great and is probably the best one I have seen to date. However as we all know, success in the enterprise collaboration space doesn't depend on technology, but on people. I was actually shocked to hear one of the panelists say that they invested in Tibbr and only after they paid for the technology did they start thinking about the strategic elements and adoption around the platform.

Although Tibbr is a great new platform that has a big promise to deliver on, we're just not going to see that happen unless these strategic discussions come first, regardless of how great or "cool" the platform is.