The Hype of Collaboration? I Could do Without It for One Day


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Another day, another release by a major vendor, another slew of hype and hyperbole thrown around.

Why, if the hype we bestow on new solutions as they are announced were to ever materialize we’d all be out of jobs and SkyNet would be fully operational by now.

Alas, that is not the case.

Today TIBCO threw their Social hat in the ring with Tibbr (sorry, not sure if I am doing their branding people a favor here — not sure which letter is supposed to be capitalized).

There are interesting features in the product that I like: focus on integration of anything with anything (well, it is a TIBCO product) that allow any system to talk to the platform, and to anything and everyone in it; it is not about following people or liking them or becoming fans – the focus is on systems and data (you can follow topics, systems, departments, even people if you want – the case studies they presented basically made the case that no one wants to follow people when collaborating inside the organization — I am not entirely sure that is true always, everywhere.); it has a very flexible filtering model to make sure that only the right information gets through (as they said in the presentation, don’t want to know that John had lunch, but I do want to know he closed the deal); has a very easy to use interface (think Facebook for business, as much as I hate that analogy); users access the platform to share data and collaborate among themselves.

Think of Salesforce Chatter, but in a very open model – no platform dependency, systems post information automatically, filtering and rules allow information to flow freely where it needs to go, it has a dynamic integration model, and a simple to use interface. It is an interesting platform; still, it does not solve the main problem of collaboration.

A collaborative enterprise it is not about the act of collaborating, it is about the people who collaborate.

Will this platform help the people collaborate better? Maybe, maybe not.

What I do know is that the demo they did basically replicated very closely the way a company would work – not the way people work. Briefly, a person looking for information needed to follow a specific group of people to find the data he needed (which, of course, he did not know – he found out when someone else told him as a comment to a posting he made — are you following this? is this getting too complicated? is this reminding you of how your organization works today – not the way you wish it would work? does it sound that it is not collaboration, rather automating the processes you have in place today?) Of course, it is too early to tell – and this is a platform, not a closed system. Thus my previous statement — no solution, no matter how good it is at introduction, can solve any problems until it actually is deployed, and used by the people.

Can Tibbr become a collaboration platform? Likely, it already is more of a collaboration platform that a lot of other solutions out there. Is it the one? Again, too early too tell.

My recommendation, let’s stop solving all problems of collaboration each time a new product is launched, let’s focus on making flexible, dynamic, easy to use platforms that users can leverage to collaborate, and let’s use those collaborations to build a collaborative enterprise. Let’s see how the users solve their own collaboration problems using a flexible platform.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Esteban Kolsky
ThinkJar, LLC
Esteban Kolsky is the founder of CRM intelligence & strategy where he works with vendors to create go-to market strategies for Customer Service and CRM and with end-users leveraging his results-driven, dynamic Customer Experience Management methodology to earn and retain loyal customers. Previously he was a well-known Gartner analyst and created a strategic consulting practice at eVergance.


  1. Esteban, your point is well taken, at least with me. Just like CRM=automation is some minds, now collaboration=technology in others.

    Tibbr, which I wrote about here is a technology platform that may help companies collaborate better, but not if they don’t have a collaborative culture and processes to begin with.

    But still, for large enterprises that are concerned about descending into social networking point solution hell, I think tibbr has something good to offer. Social will become an IT platform/layer in most large companies, and it deserves an independent solution that can play nicely with other enterprise software.

  2. Bob,

    Thanks for the comment.

    I am in total agreement with you here, especially the part about the need for platforms. I am so looking forward in 10 years or so, when we can just assume that everything is run from one platform or another… maybe a few more months :).

    Appreciate the platform to have this conversation, btw, keep CT rolling!

  3. Esteban, What do you think of

    Is this the beginning of a war for the enterprise “collaboration” platform with tbbr, Yammer, SocialText, etc.?

  4. Bob,

    I wrote this commentary when they first launched

    I believe it is, as you say, the beginning of the me-too, we-are-all-the-same-but-different, there-are-no-winners-only-copycats race to the end of activity stream collaboration. Only those that are smart and different will survive, most will just contribute to the commoditization of activity stream collaboration.

    give or take, 12-15 months to play it out – but it may be accelerated if someone really big and unexpected comes in — I thought TIBCO was that accelerator, but there is not enough visibility yet.

    Thanks for the comment!


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