Tibco’s Tibbr: where’s the customer in all this?

After more than a year of silent anticipation (that’s a nice way of saying “no one really cared”) integration giant Tibco is launching its first stab at social with its product called Tibbr.

Yes, Tibbr.

While Tibbr may do a lot of what people might expect from a status-update focused tool, in my opinion it fails to do anything actually benefitting a company’s attempt to be more social. Well, at least in ways that can’t be done better by other products or for free with cloud-based tools.

For one, Tibbr is all about filters and categorization – placing labels and objectifying relationships. While there is value in this – for analysis and alerts etc. – how does this really allow me to better see how my customers are aggregating and talking about my brand or services?

And really, like with Chatter and other internally-focused tools, this is more about empowering employees than connecting with customers. Again, this is an important step towards companies being more social and breaking down silos – but we have seen it all before. Tibco seems to be afraid of issues like security instead of trying to change the way companies think of internal/external information flows.

Ultimately, Tibbr is not a true social platform – it is just a nice to have tool. Like Chatter or Yammer – there is nothing really here that I would say a company can build upon to reach out, listen and improve a customer’s experience in the social realm.

Maybe I’m missing the point. Maybe Tibco thinks internal collaboration is enough. I am just waiting for more companies to understand that in order to be customer-centric, the customer needs to really be at the center of everything – not on the fringes and locked out by cultural and technological firewalls.

Martin Schneider is Director of Product Marketing at SugarCRM. In his role, Martin handles competitive intelligence, marketing positioning and analyst relations. Prior to joining SugarCRM, Martin held the position of senior analyst with technology industry research firm the 451 Group, headquartered in NYC. Martin covered the CRM landscape for the 451, analysing and consulting on such topics as Software-as-a-Service, business intelligence and open source applications. Martin also covered the CRM space as news editor with CRM Magazine in New York.