New internal micro-blog tibbr funnels relevant info to employees

Part four of Ragan.com’s series on enterprise social networking tools examines a relatively new entrant to the micro-blogging field.

When the team at TIBCO launched its new micro-blogging platform, tibbr, in January, CEO and founder Vivek Ranadivé said it came with a very simple philosophy: “If you get the right information to the right place at the right time, and you put it in the right context, you can make the world a better place.”

Sriram Chakravarthy, tibbr’s director, calls it “contextual relevancy.”

“What I’m interested in is what’s relevant to me within my workplace,” he says. So tibbr aims to provide employees only the information that matters to them, while filtering out excess noise.

The tools

Tibbr uses a micro-blogging platform similar to Facebook or Twitter. Users view a “social wall” with a feed of posts from people they follow. Users can post messages privately, publicly or within groups.

The big difference, says Srini Vinnakota, senior manager of product management and marketing at TIBCO, is that the wall also includes subjects that users follow and applications.

Users have the option of choosing subjects from a list of topics and following those that apply to them. For example, someone in communications would want to follow subjects related to social media or newsletters. Users can follow broad topics or filter them by subtopics.

Tibbr can access information from applications such as customer relationship management tools, and post updates in users’ wall feeds. For example, when a customer creates an account, a message pops up in the feed. Employees may also sign in to applications directly through tibbr.

Users can create tabs along the side of the screen to bookmark the topics, people and applications they use the most. Tibbr can also pull in a user’s personal feeds from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Tibbr’s platform includes in-line document sharing, for external documents and documents in a SharePoint archive. Users can also embed videos and start video conferences. During a video conference, participants can share and view a document at the same time. After the conference is over, it’s archived for people who couldn’t take part.

Companies have the option of using tibbr in a cloud-based environment on the TIBCO’s servers or from behind their own firewall. The platform is available on all major mobile platforms, Chakravarthy says.

What’s different?

If a company chooses tibbr, the platform can be up and running on its network in less than a day, says Chakravarthy. “It’s not a long, drawn-out process,” he says.

Privacy is another big selling point, Chakravarthy says. Users can make sure only the people who need to see sensitive information see it. “Enterprises have their secrets,” he notes.

The biggest feature, however, is that tibbr pulls in information from sources such as application and document repositories to put the right stuff in front of the people who need it. With other applications, “There are tons of places where the information is hiding from you,” Chakravarthy says.

Who’s it for?

Chakravarthy recommends tibbr for companies that want to participate in micro-blogging across the entire enterprise rather than just in a few departments.

Tibbr’s clients have an average of 5,000 to 10,000 users each, he says. They include resort chains, transportation companies, consulting firms and energy providers.

“We try to make it as widely applicable as possible,” Vinnakota says.

What a client says

In a testimonial video, John Lentz, senior director of corporate communications at technology consulting firm Ciber, says tibbr has been great for keeping conversations going.

“This year, for the first time, the company brought together about 30 of its newest sales execs for a face-to-face meeting,” he said. “We didn’t want the collaboration to end when the face-to-face meeting did, so we set up a private group on tibbr.” The execs are still having discussions there, Lentz says.

Jon Scarpelli, Ciber’s vice president of technology, said his company chose tibbr for better access to the resources it its SharePoint document repository. It’s also worked well as a person-to-person collaboration tool. For example, an employee in Denmark asked whether anyone had made a demo for a mobility application.

“Within three days, she got an application from the United States, she got another one from Australia, she got another one from India, she got another one from the Netherlands,” he said.

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