GovLoop Project of the Week – Have You Met OraTweet?

While searching for an enterprise micro-blogging tool for my own job, I ran across OraTweet; developed by Noel Portual. I contacted the developer to interview him, but he never responded. However, this tool has so much potential for those working with enterprise systems whom are looking for a micro-blogging solution, I felt it was still important to spotlight OraTweet for project of the week. Currently OraTweet is still in the pilot stage, but appears to be successful and people are using it and it is starting to get a good amount of news coverage.

OraTweet is a micro-blogging platform that allows you to broadcast messages to a wide audience and is built with Oracle Application Express (APEX) which is a rapid web application development tool for the Oracle database.

Some of the key features include:

* Fully scalable.
* Fully customizable.
* Oracle SSO Integration.
* Group creation.
* Set your current Status.
* URL Shortner
* Extendable API.
* IM Integration*.
* Twitter integration.
* TinyURL integration.

Noel states the following on his blog:

“User adoption is also a plus since users can use their existing IM clients to interact with OraTweet. OraTweet also has the option of sending and getting updates from Twitter with PL/SQL, thus giving the user the option to post to the world or just internally.”

The Beginning of OraTweet:

“From the beginning I got great feedback from our own Web 2.0 AppsLab adoption team and got some great pointers on corporate adoption. Since this is a side project I let OraTweet sit for a few weeks without much advertisement while I was doing improvements (and my actual work!). But Meg Bear and the Fusion Talent Management Products team stumbled over OraTweet while looking for a solution to bridge the communication gap within their global team. They contacted me, and we worked together on some improvements and launched a pilot.
At this point Carl Backstrom from the APEX team offered to help me. Now thanks to him we have a working API, and we have plans to deploy OraTweet globally once it is ready. Having this API lets OraTweet work as a global messaging system allowing third parties and platforms such as OpenSocial interact with OraTweet users.

After one week of alpha/beta life and not much internal advertisement OraTweeters numbers went from a dozen to the hundreds and is still growing, which shows that there is a hidden demand for internal communication tools like this. I like the fact that OraTweet flattens enterprise hierarchies and opens communication between all levels.

Now the best part is that I’m planning to release OraTweet for free as an APEX package once all the beta wrinkles are out. It works great next to the other free packages such as ARIA, which is our internal employee directory.”

What Noel visions for OraTweet:

“What I envision as I release OraTweet is seeing companies, universities, and organizations running their own OraTweet instance, allowing them to keep their information private yet strengthening their own internal communities. It should be the same way we do email and instant messaging: We manage our own information, which allows us to broadcast messages safely in our own microcosm.”

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Viq Hussain

Hi Naomi,

I wanted to say that before striking out on my own, I worked with a company called Intridea, that developed a platform called Present.ly. It’s a micro-blogging platform like Twitter but for the enterprise. In fact it just won a CNet Webware 100 Editor’s choice award (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13546_109-10240181-29.html?tag=mncol). It was also featured at south by southwest (http://2009.sxsw.com/tools/) and featured in Techcrunch, ZDNet, and countless other publications. Not to say that OraTweet isn’t a great product, however they are not the first to produce a product that robust. There also have been instances where there are pilot’s within the government sector, and it is offered as a behind the firewall installation.

Between Present.ly and it’s biggest competitor Yammer I think OraTweet does offer another option. Although late into the game, I think the backing of Oracle might help, but it is not the only enterprise ready application.


Naomi A. Williams

I’ve heard of Present.ly, though I’ve never used it. I personally use Yammer and SocialCast for other team related projects outside of my day job. Were you a part of the development for Present.ly? We use Oracle Portal on my day job, so having an Oracle instance such as OraTweet gives us the option of obtaining an enterprise micro-blogging solution without going through the pain and hassle of trying to get another product approved for use. Just as with anything else, OraTweet will work and be a great solution to some and not so great for others. Depends on your circumstance; especially within Government web infrastructures. For us, in our command, we would never be able to get approved to use Present.ly or Yammer, but because we already use Oracle for our CMS and OraTweet is an Oracle instance; that request could get approved within a week.

Thanks for commenting on the post…

Joe Boutte

There is a growing interest in microblogging across government. One of my projects is to implement microblogging within government shared networks. Currently, the pilot is using Laconica’s (Status.net), which is an open-source microblogging platform. Once the official announcement come out, I’ll post an update. However, the major use for microblogging will be situational awareness, information sharing, collaboration, and status reporting. Microblogging will be one of the social networking tools used for mission integration and enhancement across government.