We recently had our first look at the new version of Beehive, Oracle’s collaboration solution and replacement for the Oracle Collaboration Suite. Beehive is available both as an on-demand application or on-premises deployment and it goes up against two heavyweights. One is IBM, which created the groupware market with Lotus Notes and also offers Lotus Connections, Quickr and Domino (the Notes server). The other is Microsoft, which offers customers Exchange and SharePoint.
The effort behind Beehive is in part the handiwork of newly-arrived chief beekeeper and senior vice president of collaboration, David Gilmour, formerly CEO of Tacit Software, a provider of collaborative tools that Oracle acquired last year.
Beehive looks to have the makings of a Collaborative Business Environment (CBE), a workspace designed for the knowledge worker that incorporates all tools and resources in one overarching environment, which is starting to supersede the traditional desktop metaphor of separate and distinct tools.
Beehive 1.5 adds Web-based team work spaces along with wikis, team calendaring, RSS support, contextual search, and advanced file sharing. Other changes in Beehive 1.5 include enhanced Web and voice conferencing including on-demand recording and retrieval and the ability for a presenter to see the delay between the screen they are sharing and what the audience is seeing. Also included is integration with standard desktop tools that allows users to stay with e-mail clients that they already use, such as Microsoft Outlook, AppleMail, and Thunderbird (but not Lotus Notes) and instant messaging clients that adhere to open standards.
For tighter integration, Beehive has an Outlook extension that mimics the familiar interface of Outlook with Exchange when connecting Outlook to Beehive. It also has an extension for Windows Explorer that provides a folder level view as well as the option of using the included Zimbra open source e-mail software. Behind the scenes, all data is stored in an Oracle database.
Right now, we’re only scratching the surface. We will be looking at Beehive in greater depth in an upcoming report.