Portland-based Jive Software is currently in the midst of their first ever user group, Jive World. And as such, it seems that there is no better time to launch new products—especially when you’ve got all of your most fervent users together in one room.
Sometimes, opposites attract. This would be one of those times.
News coming out of Jive Software this morning is like some freakish beauty and the beast episode of The Dating Game. Portland-based Jive—known for its Social Business Software that opens the power of social features to business communications—has begun a tempestuous relationship with Microsoft SharePoint—the classically unwieldy “Intranet” solution.
I know, I know. It seems like I’m falling into a bit of Jive fanboi-ism. But man oh man, if these folks aren’t rolling out one impressive announcement after another these days. And in a day and age where we continue to get doom and gloom about the economy and business prospects, these Jive announcements are like a little ray of sunshine.
No Portland-based startup stands a better chance of making a run at the fabled “Enterprise customer” than Jive Software, makers of Social Business Software that helps large companies do a better job of collaborating internally and with customers. Now they’ve partnered with SAP.
But for me, one of the most interesting aspects of their chosen location was their new proximity to a big Internet pipe running through the middle of Portland. Maybe, I mentioned to a few other folks, there was a reason they wanted to be sitting on that pipe. Maybe Jive is looking to deliver their product over the Web. The response? Maybe. Read More
Portland-based Jive Software has been relatively quiet as of late. And that generally leads me to assume that they’re working on something new, but I didn’t really have much to go on as to what that might be.
Today, it all became much less clear. (Pun intended.)
Jive has announced that—for their newest release—they have abandoned the distinct Clearspace products in favor of launching a suite of tools entitled “Social Business Software.” And I’m sure it’s no accident that it just happens to be “version 3.0.”
For our customers, SBS is the new enterprise category. The enterprise has been devoid of a new application category since CRM, and they see the advent of social software as the biggest change to happen to the enterprise in fifteen years. It’s now spanning every major vertical and the visionary leaders are seeing the gains that can be made by opening up collaboration and focusing on the people. This is especially true in a downturn, where throwing more money at business process software is not going to lead to huge value increases — you have to look to the areas where there is the most to gain, the white spaces in a company: the people.
Few companies have had the foresight of Jive to understand that—due to both external and internal forces—corporations would be dragged kicking and screaming into becoming much more social beings. This gives them an edge on insight, but they still have several goliath competitors with whom they compete, namely Microsoft and IBM.
Now, Jive is hoping to deliver the platform that helps enable this growing corporate predilection toward more social business management.
How is the market reacting to the news?
While there hasn’t been much from the enterprise-focused pubs yet, the tech blogs have taken a gander at Jive’s Social Business Software. Here’s what they had to say:
“With the downturn, you might assume that Jive was part of a fad that has passed…. But after talking to Chief Marketing Officer Lawrence, it sounds like that would be a mistake—Jive added 200 customers last year, bringing its total to more than 2,500, and many of those newer customers are paying for more expensive tools, so its revenue actually grew 70 percent. In fact, Lawrence says Jive is hiring. And a recent report from Forrester identified Jive and Telligent as the leaders in the ‘community platforms’ market.”
“Modeled to offer Facebook-like features to enterprises, the software combines computing with social collaboration. The Clearspace app helps businesses hold collaborate on a variety of tasks, including holding discussions, sharing documents, blogging, running polls, and social networking features and more. The Clearspace Community app provides a platform that allows businesses to communicate effectively with customers and the broader community.”
“‘Enterprise software has been a boring category for 20 years, and Jive is here to change that,’ says Sam Lawrence, Jive’s chief marketing officer.
“You’d expect to hear something like that from an experienced marketer like Lawrence. Yet in this case, he is talking about a bold strategic move by a small company that has its sights set on becoming something like Facebook for the office, putting it on a competitive collision course with Microsoft, IBM, and a slew of startups that aim to help employees get better at collaborating. Jive has evolved to this point from its founding in 2001, before the days of social networking. Its early forays into social software involved online forums and instant messaging, and were focused on support— things like getting customers to help each other rather than call a company with time-consuming questions.”
“IBM’s Lotus Connections, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other players are approaching enterprise social-networking, but Jive Software wants to take some market-share of its own with its Social Business Software (SBS) platform. Jive claims that its software’s collaboration and profile features could make it ‘Facebook for the enterprise.'”
“I’m not sure you can announce your leadership in a category, but that’s what Jive has done with the announcement of its Social Business Software application suite—Jive SBS 3.0. The product does bring a deliberate focus to the logical organizational interests of a social enterprise– namely, Employee Engagement, Marketing & Sales, Customer Support, and Innovation. With that segmentation, along with an overhaul of its Jive Clearspace 2.5 released last summer, the software has been reborn—perhaps in the original image of its founders, according to Sam Lawrence, Chief Marketing Officer. With this new release, Jive is stridently targeting IBM and Microsoft customers with what could prove to be a superior solution.”
“From origins as a forums and instant messenger vendor, Jive launched ‘Clearspace‘, a single application with wikis, blog, discussions, instant messaging, rss, email integration and files into spaces organized by topic in 2006. This in turn morphed into internal (’Clearspace’) and external (’Clearspace Community’) focused versions.
Jive have now taken the industry segment phrase to rename Clearspace ‘Social Business Software’ (SBS), and are making a play as an enterprise class, company wide backbone for all facets of business collaboration.”
“The concept is fascinating — Jive’s software uses a social networking interface to draw in and connect a company’s employees with one another, and with customers. At first blush it looks like Facebook, a format Jive hopes will help engage companies’ younger employees….
“Dave and the folks who started Jive, Bill Lynch and Matt Tucker, had lots of other thoughtful things to say about Jive’s outlook and Portland’s startup scene. I’ll have more on that, and more from them, in an upcoming article.”
Jive will be rolling out the new Social Business Software suite next week—but existing customer already have access. It will be interesting to see what kind of reception this latest iteration of Jive’s tools receives. Here’s hoping they get a positive response from both current customers and those potential customers waiting in the wings.