Big news day for Portland-based Jive Software. They just announced the release of Clearspace 2.0, the release of whole-new, rebuilt-from-the-ground-up Web site, and the acquisition of Jotlet, a calendaring and scheduling tool that will be built into future versions of Clearspace.
I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of Clearspace 2.0 and its new feature set on Friday. And I must admit, it’s an impressive step forward for the product and the company as they continue to assert their position in the realm of “enterprise collaboration.”
For more information on the release, I’d recommend reading Sam Lawrence’s overview of the new Clearspace features.
And, as I’m probably not the best person to comment on the comparative feature/functionality of the tool in regards to the market at large, I would highly recommend Marshall Kirkpatrick’s ReadWriteWeb write-up on the Clearspace 2.0. I noticed that Anthony Ha at VentureBeat took a liking to the new Clearspace project management features. And, for additional insight, TechCrunch’s Mark Hendrickson has covered the Jive news.
That should give you plenty of insight from folks much wiser than I. So, let’s get to that upon which I do feel comfortable commenting….
Honestly, what I found most interesting about my conversation with Jive and the demonstrations of their new feature set were the types comparisons I kept making. And they weren’t the kind of comparisons you’d think that I would be making while watching the demonstration of a piece of enterprise collaboration software.
“The front page reminds me a lot of Netvibes.”
“That river of information is a lot like FriendFeed or Facebook.”
“That works a lot like 37 signals’ Basecamp.”
“Oh, like Google Docs or Writeboard?”
Fact of the matter is that, throughout the demo, I threw out so many “that’s kinda like…” or “that reminds me of…” references to other Web 2.0 products that it suddenly became excruciatingly obvious to me why Clearspace 2.0 is version, well, 2.0. Because Jive has worked to incorporate the types of features and functionality that echo some of today’s most popular Web 2.0 tools.
Now, I know a number of you are starting to heave a big “So what?” sigh, but bear with me. Because there is something important happening here.
Those of us who live and breathe this Web 2.0 stuff or who are lucky enough to work in small thoughtful organizations that leverage these types of tools are in the vast minority. I’d argue that 99.9% of the population has no idea that this stuff exists.
What’s more, if you’re in a larger organization and successfully running something like Basecamp within your department? You’re a complete anomaly. Smart. But anomalous nonetheless.
Large organizations have things Microsoft SharePoint—or worse. They don’t tend to have access to collaborative tools like this. And that’s what makes this such an interesting release to me.
Marshall touches on this, as well, albeit more eloquently:
[T]hose of us who take things like startpages, News Feeds and Jabber seriously outside the enterprise get some solid validation from Jive and its customers.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. (That’s why I just quoted him.)
It will be interesting to see how Jive’s target market—the Fortune 500 companies who deploy this type of solution to thousands of users—respond to the type of functionality that we—as users of Web 2.0 tools for business—have come to expect.
And it will be even more interesting to see how the Web 2.0 crowd responds to this kind of validation.