Jive Goes Bigger (Than Ever)


Now Business Is Social from Jive Software on Vimeo

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.

Lawrence is the beloved Enterprise 2.0 author of the “Go Big Always” blog. For years, he has been framing the issues facing the “category” in entertaining and educational ways. For the wholesale formulation of the category (re)definition, Lawrence solicited help from customers, industry analysts, and other influencers. Lawrence sees the market space in terms of a vast social capital marketplace where business intelligence meets interpersonal relationships. It’s powerful stuff and the software now enables levels of insight that were unavailable from one company until now. The emphasis Jive is taking toward effecting business results is also refreshing.

The key new enhancements include:

  • Bridging: The ability to view employee, customer, and partner communities in a centralized, customizable dashboard.
  • Analytics: Indicators that cull from a data warehouse and track activities in the enterprise
  • Insights: Detailed reporting including sentiment and engagement
  • Video: Secure, high quality video for conversation and training
  • Social Bookmarking: Capture and share content from internal and external sources
  • User Experience: A refreshing, simple and elegant look and feel that spurs adoption

Jive says beta versions of its new product suite are in the hands of customers today. We’ll be looking for customer feedback on how the transition is going. In the meantime, Jive has taken a tremendous leap ahead. I would have liked to have seen an enterprise micro-blogging capability, such as Socialtext recently announced with its AIR-based Signals, or more comprehensive wiki capability for deeper collaboration among work teams. With that said, however, I give Jive much credit for taking the lead on forcing a category definition and building its future on the back of that architected vision.

jive_bridging_image

And the Academy Award goes to… Atlassian.

picture-7Atlassian is the Enterprise 2.0 sector’s Slumdog Millionaire. It’s an inspiring rags to riches story of two young college graduates who set out to earn at least a “graduate salary” (approximately $30K/yr USD) by creating a business, rather than taking a corporate job like their university friends did. Now, Mike and Scott were not living in a slum and neither did pure luck have anything to do with their fortune; moreover, their example is establishing a high bar for success for enterprise social software startups.

Last week, I got into a bit of a snit with Atlassian’s marketing folks on Twitter because they approached me about writing a post on Atlassian reaching $100M in all time revenue. Now, I knew the company was a growth engine, but I found it hard to believe they’d become a $100M company since the last time I had spoken to them. It turns out it was all a big misunderstanding. Mike Cannon-Brookes told me today that from the beginning, Atlassian’s backoffice systems have been tracking total cumulative revenue. On February 17th, the company had crossed the $100M threshhold. Mike actually tweeted it and Atlassian’s Laura Kahlil blogged about it on the Atlassian blog the next day. I didn’t understand the significance of the $100M cumulative number and was concerned people would mistake the number for annual sales. Listening to Mike talk about how they noticed the number and got excited about it as a milestone made it obvious to me I was wrong to give them a hard time.

I wrote about Atlassian in October of 2006. They impressed me then, and their continued success is a bright light in otherwise dismal economic news. Atlassian has pumped millions into the Australian economy and has created hundreds of jobs around the world (Atlassian has offices in 5 cities, including San Francisco). Further, their strong organic growth is a testament to the power of listening to your customers and focusing on delivering products customers love.

We can debate product features and what’s fashionable in enterprise social software for days on end. But in today’s economic climate, I celebrate success, job creation, growth, and independence.

Kudos to the Atlassian team.

(For longtime ITSinsider readers… it wasn’t lost on me that Michelle and Barack chose Etta James’ “At Last” for their ballroom dance on the night of the inauguration. )

Update: Just found out Mike was nominated by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader for 2009. Smile.

ITSinsider is looking for love not work… :-)

humptydumptyI read an old-fashioned user-generated column in Newsweek this week where a young woman quoted her mother as saying, “…finding a job you love means never working a day in your life.” For the past nearly two years, I’ve had the special privilege to cover the Enterprise 2.0 sector as an employee of nGenera. Hands down, I have had the best job in the business. I’ve met extremely bright people and have had the opportunity to listen to real Enterprise customers as they struggle with the choices related to introducing 2.0 into their large enterprise environments.

I will continue to work with nGenera, as the company continues on its journey. But I will continue as an independent, not an employee. Although, admittedly, it’s scary facing the prospect of not having a salary during oh, say, the worst economic crisis ever in my adult life time, I remain optimistic. Let’s just say I’m taking a huge leap of faith that dictates when I jump off this ledge, there will be a large, strong net– the social web– ready to catch me. I’ve been inspired by so many in the 2.0 community to trust, to share, to work together to achieve common goals. Now I’m putting my own rhetoric to the test. Is there a market here or not?

I hope you’ll help me prove there is. If you’re interested in speaking to me about any way I can help your organization grapple with 2.0, or if you’re a vendor who feels misunderstood and under-appreciated, you know where to find me– I’ll be home, here on the social web. I look forward to having a conversation.

And, if you really want to help, but don’t have a budget (lol), do me a social networking solid and leave me a recommendation on LinkedIn.

Experimentation, success, failure, and fun with global collaboration.

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In the spirit of drawing the Enterprise 2.0 community together, I started a small experiment this week. On Tuesday late in the afternoon (Austin time), I set up an open Google spreadsheet to capture Twitter IDs for folks in the community who felt they associated with Enterprise 2.0. Within minutes, the spreadsheet was buzzing, popping, and humming with simultaneous edits being made from all over the world. Of course, the initial tweet was retweeted throughout various follower communities and social networks which led to a bit of a viral chaos. A few times we even had a complete breakdown in the spreadsheet where Google couldn’t keep up with the simultaneous edits. At another time, someone had either inadvertently erased all the data, or maliciously erased all the data… in the end it didn’t matter because someone else had made a copy and we quickly reverted to an earlier version. All of this happened in a one – two hour period, in different time zones. Within two hours, there were over 200 names on the list. Today, there are nearly 300 people who’ve added their information to the original list which contained 10 people. You can see it for yourself here.

The experiment was incredibly fun. So many people participated and truly enjoyed the process. It brought the community together, and I think everyone “met” or was introduced to another enterprise 2.0 community member they did not know about who is active on Twitter. Yesterday, a few of us started weighing different options to leverage this community in a deeper forum. I asked Ross Mayfield if he would volunteer a wiki workspace, and he graciously agreed. In the course of setting up the workspace, we discovered (who knew?) in order for folks to complete their profiles, they would have to be invited via email.

Email!? The anti-thesis of the Twitter community! So, with a lot of LOLs, Ross, Dion Hinchcliffe and I realized there are still things we are learning about Enterprise 2.0. The good news is, we all can learn together. Failure can be fun and leads to product improvements, not disaster.

Last week, I passed my third year anniversary on the ITSinsider blog. (Yay!) The spirit of worldwide cooperation and sharing still moves me in this space. This experience over the last few days reminds me of a 2006, great Q&A I did with Joe Kraus, who is now at Google. Kraus’ vision for DIY computing is indeed coming true. These social bonds that are gluing our collaborative energies together are making it all the more interesting and the successes are celebrated universally.

The takeaway here is, don’t be afraid to experiment. Don’t be afraid to fail or embarrass yourself. We’re still in the early days of reinventing “work.”

ITSinsider Annual Gift-Giving Suggestions

All righty fans of e2.0, there are some great books coming out or are already out that I wanted to bring to your attention, in case you’re looking for that perfect gift for your E2.0-loving loved one or friend/colleague.

Not in any particular order, here goes:

Tara Hunt needs no introduction in the ranks of the social media elite, but may be less known in the corporate community of Enterprise 2.0 enthusiasts. I’m particularly looking forward to her book because I admire Tara for her unshakable faith regarding how social networking is bringing out the best in us. Tara’s thesis (and it is proven again and again) is the currency of the 2.0 economy is not $, but rather social capital, which conveniently leads to $. (I’m paraphrasing, but I’m sure Tara will correct me if I’m wrong.) You can pre-order the book today, but it won’t be shipping until Q2. And might I remind everyone, by Q2 in this economic downturn, we all may be very interested in increasing our net worth in social capital. So, do something good today for the world and pre-order Tara’s book, “The Whuffie Factor. ” I did. (I also ordered Paul Gillin’s Secrets of Social Media Marketing. Gillin is one of the very best writers on social media marketing. Another great suggestion, and it’s available now.)

Read this great story on Whuffie in action; be sure to read the comments.

For hard-core e20 fans and wouldbe practitioners, make sure to pick up a copy of Jeremy Thomas and Aaron Newman’s Enterprise 2.0 Implementation. It’s written more-or-less for an IT audience, but there is a trove of great information in here for business unit managers and evangelists too. Sarah Carr from the Deki open source wiki vendor, MindTouch, does a great wrap-up on its contents:

The book highlights the facilitation of collaboration and fosters internal innovation by integrating next-generation Web 2.0 technologies throughout your enterprise IT framework. Packed with real-world examples and timesaving tips, Enterprise 2.0 Implementation shows how to use viral and social networking tools to gain the competitive edge. Get full details on managing corporate blogs, wikis, mashups, RSS feeds, tagging and bookmarking data, and RIAs. You’ll also learn how to maximize ROI, use Semantic Web technologies, and implement security.

Some additional concepts are included, as well:

  • Expand corporate presence to Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Ning
  • Build internal social networks using open source and commercial applications
  • Reduce infrastructure and IT costs through SaaS vendors
  • Consolidate disparate information using Enterprise 2.0 Discovery
  • Manage wikis, blogs, mashups, and RSS/Atom feeds
  • Set up Rich Internet Applications
  • Develop security, risk management, and disaster recovery strategies

(p.s. The publisher asked me for a quote for this book, and there is a comical story surrounding that, if you’re interested. Who knew they’d publish the quote on the FRONT COVER?!! Net result: I’m learning this celebrity endorsement stuff the hard way.)

I just started reading Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom, by Matthew Fraser and Soumitra Dutta. I am thoroughly enjoying it so far. It’s a sweeping trends analysis on how 2.0 is changing society and commerce. Written by two bright guys from the prestigious international business school, INSEAD, it’s high on my list for this year’s recommendations. The publisher describes the book as, “Combining a pop sociology approach with rigorous analysis rich in economic history and organizational behaviour.” Fraser specializes in the intersection of pop culture with industry and Dutta focuses on IT and innovation.

Check out my personal blog for an excellent video from these guys too.

Next, and somewhat out of the ordinary, is a friend’s book, The Cure for Jet Lag. I promised my friend Lynne I’d give the book a plug. As I watch my life-streaming social tickers on Friendfeed, Facebook, Twitter, etc., I’m always hearing someone or other complaining about jet lag. Lynne’s book has sold over a hundred thousand copies and offers an all-natural prescription to tackling jet lag by “tricking your body clock.”

If you’re into publishing or interested in getting published, start feeding Lynne’s blog, The Publishing Contrarian. She is self-described as the “Wicked Witch of Publishing,” but don’t let that scare you. She is alarmingly witty and oftentimes outrageous.

Last on my list are three books I have not read, but are on my shelf for reading this year. Tammy Erickson’s “Plugged In,” Don Tapscott’s “Grown up Digital” and Austin’s own Dave Evans’ “Social Media Marketing in a Day.” Both Tapscott and Erickson are nGenera gurus and these books specialize specifically in the GenY/Digital Native cohort, so I’m eager to dig into them. Dave Evans is really great, smart guy here in town specializing in social media at Digital Voodo. I’m also currently reviewing Andrew McAfee‘s book manuscript which will be published sometime this spring. With all this reading to do, will one of my beloved readers please buy me a Kindle for Christmas??

Finally, if you’re really interested in worthwhile gift-giving, consider gifting a donation in someone’s name to Wikipedia, WordPress, or your favorite shareware product. And finally, finally (Charlie tells me I can make money on this) if you know a mac person who loves their google calendar– give them a life-changing gift: Spanninc Sync. It syncs your google calendar with ALL your mac products (notebooks, desktops, iphone, etc.). It will be the most appreciated $25 you ever spent, much better than a few lattes at Starbucks. Oh, you need to use this code: XK4HHR if you order so I can get my vig. 🙂

Happy Holidays everyone, and I will be back in the New Year with big news…