Tibco's 'Tibbr' aims to be enterprise Twitter

The microblogging service emphasizes following subjects over people

Middleware vendor Tibco said Monday it is preparing to release Tibbr, a messaging system with strong echoes of the popular Twitter microblogging service.

Whereas Twitter users build up a steady flow of information by "following" other users and receiving their postings, Tibbr emphasizes the ability to follow subjects as well as people. It's more important for an enterprise-oriented messaging tool like Tibbr to give workers information that is relevant to their jobs, versus the comings and going of fellow employees, according to Tibco.

For example, a user might want to keep tabs on purchase orders related to their departments, and subscribe to a "finance-accounts payable" feed. Or they could sign up to receive messages from "machines" that are of particular interest, such as a CRM (customer relationship management) system.

Tibco employees will begin using Tibbr next week, with general availability set for early next 2010.

The announcement closely follows Salesforce.com's recent unveiling of Chatter, a wide-ranging social-networking and collaboration platform meant to work in concert with its on-demand CRM system, and is just the latest instance of an enterprise vendor adopting design principles from the consumer Internet.

But much like Salesforce.com did with Chatter, Tibco's Tibbr announcement stressed terms like "scalability," "security" and "reliability," words that CIOs will want to hear as they consider implementing such systems. Tibbr was built with Silver, a cloud application development and delivery platform Tibco announced earlier this year.

Products like Tibbr are part of an emerging trend, according to one observer.

"These kinds of moves show that a bunch of non-collaboration players see that area as their next potential revenue source and, for now, they're keen to put their flag in the sand to alert customers and potentially cause them to delay any purchase/move in that space," said 451 Group analyst China Martens via e-mail. "I get the sense a lot of organizations are looking for advice about engaging with Twitter et. al, and a variety of vendors could see themselves better placed to offer that kind of consultancy if they also have an app or two in the collaboration/integrating with social networks game."

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