Peak vs. Tibbr: Two apps that help track team communications

These online tools improve workgroup interactions, reduce email traffic and track the team's progress.

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Tibbr

The oddly named Tibbr from Tibco Software has been around for three years now and has more than seven million users, according to the company. It is notable for the way that it collects a great deal of information from a very diverse set of social networks, cloud storage repositories and other sources.

Tibbr takes its interface cues from Facebook: If you use that service, Tibbr's user interface and controls will be very familiar. There is a Timeline-like activity feed that it calls Wall (from the original Facebook reference to this feature), the ability to "like" and "star" various posts, "follow" team members, upload files and have one-on-one text chats with team members.

That is great, but there is a lot more to Tibbr than just providing an inside-the-firewall Facebook clone.

In the past three years, Tibbr has been busy adding a lot more application integrations. In addition to posting messages across your social networks, you can manage their activity feeds and bring some coherent organization to your team communications. If you have ever sent an email asking a colleague if they saw a file you posted on Box, or if you have tried to set up a wiki and failed, or if you spend time sending emails to try to agree on a common online meeting time and agenda, then Tibbr might be the ticket towards improving your team's productivity. It can handle all of these tasks and more.

Tibbr has three panels that run vertically down the screen. The menu column on the left has entries for the Wall, adding and managing your apps, sharing files and managing your meetings. The activity feed runs down the middle. On the right, you have various summary data and links, such as the link for downloading the mobile client or inviting your LinkedIn connections to resources..

Meetings can be scheduled quickly by clicking on a particular post on your Wall and then choosing one of the several videoconferencing services that are supported, including WebEx, Google Hangouts and Skype. This process works well.

Tibbr
Tibbr's desktop allows both monitoring and posting new content to various social networks, along with a quick summary graphic on the right to keep track of your team's activities.

Each post on your Wall can be shared via email or be used as the genesis for additional discussions. In addition, when you bring up one of your networks, you can make use of three useful optional apps: Ideas, Pages, and Tasks. Each app costs $5/user per month.

Ideas are messages that can be voted on by your workteam (similar to the "Like" function in Facebook), which can be useful for quick polls of your team. Ideas also can be sorted by activity or creation date. Pages can create rich document collections that include videos, graphics and complex formatting that can pull content from other online sources. Tasks are lists of to-do items that can be shared by the team.

Tibbr has the potential to create some very elaborate data structures, such as a series of projects, each of which have specific tasks, assignments and due dates. This is where you begin to appreciate the depth of Tibbr.

Tibbr also has a menu option for Insights, a colorful tiled dashboard showing a summary of what documents and how many posts from your team were added last week. You can click on any of the tiles and drill down with time-series graphs or more specific information, which appears in the right-hand column. There is also a customizable leaderboard that can show you who was active over the past week or month.

Besides the browser interface, Tibbr also offers desktop clients (built in Adobe Air) for Windows and OS X, as well as apps for iOS, Android and BlackBerry. Both the mobile and desktop apps have different menu arrangements from the Web client.

Like Peak, you can add anyone to your group, whether they are part of your corporate domain or not (unless you're using the free trial version, which only lets you work with members of the same domain).

Bottom line

Tibbr has an excellent level of integration with various online services, which can make team collaboration -- and tracking who says what to whom and on which service -- a lot easier.

Conclusions

An important feature to look at is the fact that Tibbr can post information to your accounts while Peak can read it only. Tibbr is also more extensible, with lots of connectors to various SaaS services, reflecting that it has been around for several years. And Tibbr can support a richer conversation collection because of these connectors, such as setting up meeting schedules.

However, both can go a long way to eliminating copious email messages, and provide insights into how your team uses various networks.

David Strom has been contributing to Computerworld off and on since 1996, and has been the editor-in-chief at Network Computing and Tom's Hardware. He can be reached via Twitter at @dstrom or his website strominator.com.

This article, Peak vs. Tibbr: Two apps track team communications, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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