Oracle has announced Oracle Beehive, a new product that allows users to access collaborative information through familiar client tools such as Microsoft Outlook, Zimbra, or Microsoft Windows Explorer. It enables IT to consolidate collaborative infrastructure and implement people-centric applications with a secure, compliant, and centrally managed environment.Profit spoke with Terry Olkin, chief architect and senior vice president, collaboration technologies, Oracle.
Profit: How would you introduce Oracle Beehive to a business user?
Olkin: Oracle Beehive makes available all of the collaborative functionality that people need in a business. For example, it provides immediate accessibility for meeting scheduling, task assignments, and document sharing, and of course e-mail, voice mail, and real-time communications such as instant messaging and Web conferencing. Oracle is putting all those together on an enterprise-class server—enterprise-class not only in terms of scalability and availability but particularly in terms of security and compliance. That’s a new approach, and it’s the reason we built the product from the ground up, to really emphasize security and compliance.
Profit: What are the unique security and compliance features of the product?
Olkin: Oracle Beehive is the first comprehensive collaborative platform that lets us specify and enforce compliance rules across different ways of communicating. So, for example, I can set up rules about what to do with e-mails after they’ve been read—how long they stay around, whether they should be archived, when they should be deleted. Oracle Beehive uniquely allows you to specify those policies in one place and enforce them uniformly for all types of communications, whether it’s instant messaging, voice transcripts, document manipulation, and so on. This is important for businesses that are dealing with compliance.
Oracle Beehive also provides strong security in terms of traditional access control, authentication, authorization, and auditing. Unlike with most collaborative tools, these features aren’t add-ons. They’re built into Oracle Beehive from the start. Customers can really get control, from a security and compliance perspective, of all their collaborative data and communications. Oracle Beehive uses Oracle Information Rights Management to provide security for documents and communications regardless of where they are located. I don’t know of another company out there that has this level of security and compliance built into communications or collaboration products. Oracle is really the leader in this area.
Profit: Tell us more about information rights management.
Olkin: Yes, people also call this digital rights management. It’s basically the idea that I can take a piece of content, whether it’s a document, an e-mail, or even a piece of music or a video, and protect it no matter where it is. I can, for example, protect a document so that it can only be read but not printed, or it can’t be copied or cut and pasted, or even that it should cease to exist after a certain period of time.
Profit: How else can businesses benefit from Oracle Beehive?
Olkin: From an IT perspective, Oracle Beehive provides a uniform and unified platform for collaboration. Now you can replace—with a single product—what would normally take you two, three, even four products. It is easier to administer and install, and it’s going to use less power in the data center because it uses fewer servers. That all lowers your total cost of ownership. From a modernization perspective, Oracle Beehive was designed from the ground up to focus on current security and compliance needs and to take into account the explosion of new ways in which people are collaborating. Oracle Beehive doesn’t demand a specific user interface. Oracle built the product to be flexible and to give people the choice to use their familiar client products.
Profit: Is it only for large enterprises?
Olkin: Oracle Beehive is an enterprise-class product, but we made sure that it would scale down. It doesn’t require a lot of hardware, and we worked hard to simplify the maintenance aspects of the interface with Oracle Database so that smaller businesses can run this product without needing a lot of expertise in database administration.