It was the end of a long day – - nearly eight hours since Oracle publicly announced the release of Oracle Beehive – - but users were still eager to find out exactly what makes this new collaboration platform so great.
In a session on Monday that went over its allotted time slot as attendees scrambled to ask their questions, Oracle executives Sayan Chakraborty and Terry Olkin explained how the enterprise collaboration software will improve the way organizations communicate and work together.
What did they give as Beehive’s main advantages?
They discussed many – - its single point of management, scalability, open platform and security and compliance features like true delete – - but really emphasized the workspace feature, which they called the “pillar concept of Beehive.”
Beehive users have both a personal workspace and a team workspace, on which they manage contacts, tasks, calendar, messages, conferencing, documents, Wikis, and instant messages, all from a single point. The application brings all of these content types together and is supported on numerous applications: CalDAV, imap, webdav, xmpp, applemail, outlook, and the iphone, to name a few.
But is this something that has been done before?
This was the question one session attendee raised, wondering what makes the built-from-scratch Beehive special and different from companies like Microsoft and IBM, who have long been entrenched in collaboration software.
Olkin’s answer? Beehive plays on Oracle’s unique strengths – - being “integrated and secure.” It’s not a standalone technology and it leverages the rest of the Oracle ecosystem, he said.
A couple of other Q and A’s worth mentioning:
- How did Beehive get its name? (one user was curious because of the “stinging” he associated with a beehive). But Olkin had a different take on the word, which he said started out as a project name and stuck since it fit the application perfectly: “Bees are a very collaborative species; very social; communicate with each other through dance; there’s the idea that it looks like a lot of chaos but it’s really actually organized… and in the end there’s something sweet.”
- Beehive is shipping today…but are all the features included yet? Chakraborty and Olkin answered that everything is available except for web conferencing, which is still in beta and won’t be available for a month or two. But beyond that, there is such a long roadmap of features and capabilities that “Beehive the full product will probably never be done.”
So, what does the blogosphere think? Ashlee Vance of the New York Times is curious to see how Beehive will be received, especially since analysts at Gartner “chided Oracle in a research note for trying and failing at the ‘collaboration’ market twice.” Roger Smith of Information Week says he takes issue with Gartner’s negative assessment of Beehive, and urges companies with compelling security requirements to take a closer look and consider the product.
More importantly, what do you think? Do you plan on purchasing Beehive? Do you think it will live up to its hype?