I’ve talked about BeeBole a number of times before – not because I have any special relationship with the company (I don’t) but because I really like their ethos of building an aggregated platform for business applications. An environment for an ecosystem if you like.
I like widgets, I like flexibility and I like simple intuitive navigation. Despite (until now) not having seen a real life example of the BeeBole platform, I had an inkling that they understood the issues and were approaching this the right way. They just released this video which previews the way the systems works – in particular look at the ease with which third party “widgets” (in this case basecamp, RSS etc) can be added;
The BeeBole platform play reminds me of a similar deal from Ubikwiti (although it has to be said that Ubikiwiti, and the momentum behind them, have taken their ecosystem play to a pretty high level already while BeeBole is still a work in progress).
In the absence of clear standard for data interchange (see my post here) these ecosystem plays rely on one of two things;
- third parties building specialist offerings on top of these platforms (think Salesforce’s Force.com) or
- these vendors building their own complete solution (SAP perhaps)
The reality is that, given the astounding range of business needs that SMBs have, it’s unrealistic to imagine any one vendor creating a “suits all” solution, so we need to rely on vendors being inclined to “get it on together”. While we’re hearing on a daily basis about new integrations between vendors, and while some forward-thinking folks are getting together and pre-empting this stuff – I can’t help but think it’s taking too long. Of course that’s not to say that one of these platform plays will get to speed any quicker – but if they do… watch out! Witness the vision that Ubikwiti has of enabling on-demand accounting for online retailers.