Rod Boothby tipped me off about BEA‘s moves into the Social Computing space. It is already a well-established provider of deep corporate computing software which is good at joining disparate systems and information sources together. If anyone’s going to be able to have a stab at joining the social computing world to the real computing world, it’s going to be BEA.
I guess BEA could have gone two ways with this: develop some kind of connections to existing blogging platforms and end up on a treadmill of adjustments and upgrades, or do its own thing. It chose the latter. (Or should I say ‘lattr’?)
If its upcoming blog/wiki combo (called Builder) is any good, then it might encourage organisations to sit up and take notice of social software. And make them feel comfortable because BEA will make sure that theirs is tightly integrated to organisational computer systems, giving the ability to surface material from these systems right up to the wiki, for example. Another element, called Runner, will provide access control and audit trails.
What appeals to me about BEA’s move is that it is independent of the traditional application companies who are already beginning to slog it out in this space. It is fundamentally a platform company, although the blog/wiki stuff might bring it into contention with some of the existing social computing companies.
People who’ve lived with blogs/wikis and the liberation they have brought, not to mention the low cost, are probably going to be appalled that ‘their’ world is going to ‘go corporate’. But, just as the PC did all those years ago, it was an inevitable consequence of something proving useful.