One of the best things that can happen in a product professional's career is when a customer tells you that your product strategy is "game changing." In our case, this happened when we shared the plans for Jive 5.0 with an executive from one of the largest brands in our customer base. I've spent the last week sharing our vision for Social Business Software with analysts and customers on both coasts, and gotten feedback that Jive is ambitiously leading & defining our space.
Basically, our announcement yesterday boils down to two very big pieces of product vision: 1) Jive What Matters; and 2) Jive Apps Market, in addition to partnerships with Google, Twitter, CSC and Dachis.
I plan to write about the product portion of the news in two separate posts, as I want to discuss the trends we're seeing and the significance of our announcement in more detail. Today, I'll start with Product Announcement #1, Jive What Matters.
Three years ago when I joined Jive, Social Business Software was reasonably undefined. Most of the customers I spoke to weren't even on Facebook and had no point of reference. When I explained Jive to them they wondered if it was like Outlook or Lotus Notes. Fast forward to today and much has changed. Customers spend significant amounts of time on social software in both their personal and professional lives. They jump among many social platforms and manage a lot of different interfaces. And, they have gone beyond just connecting with people – they are starting to connect in enterprise systems as well.
This is great! Sort of. It turns out social software is a bit of a victim of its own success. It does exactly what it is good at, which is bring things to your attention. That means when you are in a 50,000 person company with CRM, ERP, and supply chain systems all chiming in updates, it can get noisy—really noisy. It also highlights an early arrogance of Social Business Software vendors (Jive included): that social is a place you go to. That made sense when most people didn’t go anywhere, but now that many are keeping up with five or more social sites and platforms it is a lot to juggle. I like to say that the space needs to become less "place centric" and more "user (or you) centric." Everything you need, or at least everything that matters, should find you. And that is what we did when we created Jive What Matters.
Jive What Matters gives you everything you need to know, see, and do all in one place. Jive What Matters is built on top of two powerful technologies that strip out the noise and put in the smarts. Let’s talk about the technology first. Jive has integrated into its platform a powerful recommendation engine we call Jive Genius, and combined it with filtering technology to cut through the chatter of other systems. How do we do it? Well, social software knows more about its users than any other system that has come before. Who you are, who you are connected to on the employee social network, where you sit in the org chart, what you read, what you write, what you liked, what kind of ideas you have, even when/how you access the system. Software that knows this much about you should be able to make your life better by only showing you things worthy of your attention. I believe that any vendor that wishes to stay relevant in this space will need to do the same and it will need to WORK!
"Now" is Jive’s modern version of the activity stream. It hones in on exactly what you need to know to do your job more effectively. Everything it shows you is highly relevant and contextualized. Whether it is keeping you up on the most interesting things that are happening right this second, or making sure you know everything that exists around something you’re working on. Like a helpful friend who suggests someone you should speak with, a document you should read, or that piece of news that is going to save you a few days of wasted work.
"My Communication" organizes all of the social communication in your world; and there is starting to be a lot! Instant messages, replies to your last blog post, direct messages, micro-blogs, documents, blogs, discsussions that mention you, alerts from your social media monitoring tools - all of these frequently have the expectation that you will see them. However, more often than not they get lost in the mix. My Communciation not only gives you a powerful way to manage all of this in an intuitive interface, but we decided to take it one step further. We realized that work patterns have dramatically changed. No one has an hour at the end of their day to clean out their inbox. Windows of time come in short bursts, so we created what we affectionately call the "5 minute" button. If you only had 5 minutes to get through a bunch of communication, wouldn’t you want the system to pull the most important things to the top? It sure beats the scan, scroll, and hope strategy!
The third Jive What Matter feature is “My Actions.” As more systems get pulled into Jive and create updates in the activity stream, it didn’t seem very smart to make people jump to those systems to do simple tasks. Especially when standards are starting to make much more powerful things possible. Similar to the task list in Outlook—but smart! Outlook is literally a list of things to be checked off that you need to do somewhere else. Helpful from an organizational perspective, but surely we’ve come further than this in the last 20 years. Our idea is that we should be able to pull that other system to you. You should be able to view that expense and approve it with a click, while the system brokers authentication behind the scenes. Same with documents. Click a button and send them on their way in a workflow in another system. We think this is the way that all systems should begin working with each other so that users can get work done quickly and efficiently.
Jive What Matters is a tremendous stride for social in the workplace, and I believe it will enable faster decision making and action taking.
I also want to mention that we've got an upcoming webcast with Intel, Yum! Brands (parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and more), and Forrester Research, during which Jive CEO Tony Zingale will moderate a roundtable discussion on real-world tactics and market trends -- this is a great opportunity to get insights from companies that are on the cutting edge of what is happening out in the trenches today.
That's it for now, stay tuned for Part #2 of my product deep dive, where I will discuss Jive Apps Market and our partnerships with Google, Twitter, CSC and Dachis.