Jevon MacDonald: Examples of Intelligent Middleware in the Realtime Enterprise

What if your existing enterprise systems, such as your ERP or CRM platform of choice, were to exist within a microblogging environment? The enterprise system becomes a collaborative entity empowered to add information and data to the stream when and where appropriate.

Three vendors have recently sparked my interest for what they are doing that goes beyond simple microblogging and collaboration.

Jevon talks about three vendors that have caught his attention:

  • Akibot
  • Brainpark
  • Tibbr

They remind me a little of past experiments with IBM Lotus Sametime ‘bots’ that could be used as a simple interface for querying data or pushing information to the right person at the right time through instant messaging. However, these new tools that Jevon has identified are designed to be more than simply passive or reactive interfaces – instead they are part of the stream of activity, interpreting or responding to activity in an intelligent way.

Of course, even integration of data to and from the stream can be useful. In the comments, Socialcast point out that Socialcast Ease offers integration with other enterprise and Web 2.0 systems through its API. I’m also reminded of Attensa’s Streamserver, although while this isn’t traditionally treated as a microblogging tool it offers some similar activity stream capabilities and also offers an API.

Also, having spent three days last week in a training workshop looking at IBM Lotus Connections and getting under the hood of its API, I’m conscious that there is a range of other social platforms ready and able to help integrate social and application information and activity.

But before we get too excited, Jevon makes a good point at the end of his post that its important we don’t use these new capabilities to simply create additional ‘noise’ for customers and people inside organisations (i.e. a positive filter failure). I’d also add that in doing this we should seek to get the balance right between human and computed intelligent middleware for the best result.

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