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.
Atlassian 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.
I’ve often said that Ross Mayfield is one of the best 2.0 evangelists we have in the community. So, it’s no surprise that Socialtext recently announced a wholesale makeover this week that not only defines the company as a thought leader in Enterprise 2.0, it launches the company into an entirely new category. Known universally in the 2.0 community as “the open source enterprise wiki company,” Socialtext now crosses over to a robust, social collaborative platform player with a great deal of promise.
Socialtext 3.0 supplements its excellent wiki functionality with a Netvibes-like widgetized dashboard front end that enables individual users to personalize their enterprise interface with workspace updates, conversations (internal and public), user profiles (with LDAP and Active Directory integration), a new micro-blogging capability, RSS and life-streaming feeds, and drag-and-drop-ready external widgets. The renewed Socialtext offering is cleanly designed and offers a host of possibilities for small and large enterprises. In effect, Socialtext 3.0 has presented a “mashup palette” from which a user can customize his or her enterprise experience blending external seamlessly with internal.
The new features/capabilities are offered as a trio of applications: an improved wiki, Socialtext People, and Socialtext Dashboard. Additionally, Socialtext announced its own enterprise micro-blogging interface, “Signals” which provides context-relevant secure social messaging. Read more on Ross’ blog.
On our briefing yesterday with the Enterprise Irregulars, two major advantages for Socialtext stood out for me. The first was an extremely attractive pricing scenario. The price/seat with Socialtext is incomparable in the market with this much potential enterprise system integration and social functionality. The second was Socialtext’s approach to targeting business process-oriented LOBs that are eager to embrace 2.0 tools where material improvements with collaboration and social networking are well understood. These two advantages, combined with the Socialtext heritage of thought leadership on all things enterprise 2.0 have positioned this company well going forward. With the recent addition of Alan Lepofsky who was IBM’s senior strategist for Lotus and under its new CEO, Eugene Lee, I’m bullish on a Socialtext strong finish in a market that has become increasingly crowded.