And they’re off… Postcard from Enterprise 2.0 Boston

From the mood here at the Enterprise 2.0 conference, you’d never know we were in an economic recession and still lingering financial crisis.  Most folks I’ve met are upbeat and optimistic about the prospects for business in the sluggish economy.  Of course, the conference has not yet officially kicked off yet, but judging from the tenor of the well-attended workshops yesterday and the wall-to-wall social events that have dominated the experience here, I’d say this mood will probably continue all week.

There are some news items breaking this morning that I want to get out, although I don’t have time to go into a deep dive on them.  Some interesting news out of SAP and Jive includes and OEM agreement where Jive will integrate its business intelligence software into Jive’s “social business” platform offering community analytics to Jive’s customer base.  The new software will offer a means of capturing and understanding the behavoirs and content that flows through social communities in order to make intelligent decisions.  The rumor, of course, all week was that SAP was buying Jive, but that appears to be unfounded.  This new venture, however, marks a clear initiative by SAP to (finally) take social software seriously, and likewise, it provides a grownup capability for a social software platform like Jive to deliver some clear business benefit.  I’ll be taking a look at the new happy couple later in the day in the demo area.

Secondly, Socialtext has finally announced its long-promised SocialCalc which was developed by VisiCalc’s co-creator, Dan Bricklin.  Additionally, the company is offering free use of its social software platform for the first 50 users aptly called, “Socialtext Free 50.”  The move to a freemium model for Socialtext follows on the heels of Socialcast‘s similar free offering for its social software.  In my experience, once folks are exposed to working socially and encouraged to do so by their peers, social software grows virally.  The freemium model is probably a smart move to take the edge off early adopter user resistance.  I will be curious to see how this move impacts adoption for Socialtext and others experimenting with the model.

Finally, my alma mater, nGenera has made some announcements this week at the conference.  The company launched four “Collaborative Enterprise Management” solutions for Enterprise Collaboration, Collaborative Selling, Customer Experience, and Talent Management.  nGenera is hosting a small event tonight in the hotel (Hancock Room) at 5:30 and will feature well-known author and speaker Tammy Erickson.  If you’re curious about who nGenera is and how they fit into the Enterprise 2.0 landscape, I encourage you to attend the session or talk to the nGenera folks at the show.  The company is uniquely positioned in a high-end slice of the market.

Also, if you’re here at the conference, please consider attending the unconference/barcamp sessions I’ll be participating in on Wednesday afternoon with Ross Mayfield and Brian Magierski.  There has been a lot of talk recently about framing the market and establishing a universal view of the semantics that surround the space.  I have a slide I’d like to invite the community to perhaps validate and improve on that I will be presenting Wednesday afternoon.  Barcamps are fun and interactive.  The best part is if you’re bored or a session’s not interesting, you can get up and walk out at any time.

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.

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