!http://jivesoftware.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/clearspace_logo.png!Well, maybe not completely clear but we do plan to share as much as we can about our new soon-to-be released product,   Clearspace. It's the biggest and most ambitious undertaking we've tackled in the history of the company and it's been our consuming behind-the-scenes project for over a (very long) year. Now that we're at the end of the road (launch is very early 2007), we thought we'd blog a bit about how Clearspace was conceived, how we got here and some of the final touches we're up to. All this, of course, while still keeping the meatiest details a surprise.


The idea for Clearspace actually came from our customers, who through their conversations with our sales, marketing, professional services and customer support teams had been asking for many different collaborative feature additions to Jive Forums and Knowledge Base. Some of these were very specific, others borrowed from a lot of the collaborative elements of completely different point solutions. At the beginning of last year we took a big step back and realized that the sum of what was being requested was a completely new, much more comprehensive product.


So, a year ago we faced very tough decisions. Up to that point we had planned to address our customer requests through a combination of improvements to our existing products and/or building a couple of totally new products. Our big decision was was whether to build three products or one. The more we talked about it the more we recognized the massive benefit that could be realized by a single, unified, flexible architecture-- sort of like that quote from Lord of the Rings--"one ring to unite them all." (ok, it was really "rule them all" but that's too harsh.)


To help guide us, we reached out to our top 20 customers for advice. We exposed all of them to the ideas, listened to their one-on-one feedback and had them score some simple surveys. Amazingly, strong, consistent results drove home a very clear message: Develop a single product, built from the "people connection"-side of collaboration, that would help teams work together but didn't require companies to do a rip-and-replace of what they had already invested in.


That's how Clearspace was born. Keep your eye here to find out more about Clearspace and what we're up to.