Two days ago, Jive CEO Tony Zingale spoke at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Santa Clara. His main message to the audience was that Facebook, while a great social platform that changed how we interact in our personal lives, is not the right social *business* strategy. This is a topic of huge importance to me, as my mission as head of engineering at Jive is to translate and apply consumer space innovation to change the way work gets done.
I think everyone agrees that a critical key to Facebook's success is their application platform. By exposing the social graph to developers, Facebook has enabled applications and games that are truly engaging and collaborative in new ways. And with access to the activity stream, applications are given a powerful viral marketing mechanism that radically lowers the cost of adoption. In addition, Facebook has ridden the wave of radically reduced cost models for software hosting and Web 2.0 user experience by leveraging the web standards and innovations in the cloud such as Amazon Web Services and Google App Engine.
The net result is that a few developers in a garage now can deliver and scale a major hosted software application with bare minimum CapEx, marketing or sales. Zynga is the perfect case study for masterfully using all of these principles to create success. This new model (along with a remarkably similar model for iPhone) has caused a massive wave of innovation in the consumer software marketplace.
Contrast this with the current state of the enterprise market. It's a world of boring software, little innovation and a huge barriers to entry. The sheer cost of building an enterprise sales force that can compete against the likes of IBM, HP and Oracle stops most startups in their tracks. VCs have looked at these high start-up costs and risky returns, and have redirected most of their dollars to consumer-oriented startups. This has gone on for so long that enterprise software feels a decade behind the current models.
It's tempting to say that all enterprise technology vendors need to do is bolt on a new "Facebook for the enterprise" offering to make them current. But this ignores the challenges that enterprises face: huge challenges like security, governance, application integration and privacy. And it ignores that these solutions need to scale beyond small work groups to cut across a company's entire ecosystem, including employees, customers, partners, vendors and the social web. But most of all, it ignores the fact that the way people are doing work is changing and they need new, fundamentally different tools to support them.
This is why Jive has invested so much in its software development and stayed 2-3 years ahead of the market. Taking concepts like the activity stream, microblogging, groups and sharing, we've mapped them to the challenges of the modern corporation. We've taken the most popular aspects of consumer social networking and combined them with traditional enterprise collaboration and controls to make a powerful tool to get work done. We've embraced the fact that people have been training themselves at home to scan through activity streams quickly as way to get information about their friends and turned that into an efficient way to get information about their business. We've taken techniques that were designed to target ads and converted them to target expertise location and content dissemination. This gets the right information to the right people at the right time. But there's much more then this left to do.
What we still see missing is the ability to ignite the next wave of innovation in the enterprise category. It needs to be just as easy for a few developers in their garage to create, host, distribute and market new enterprise software as has been done for consumers. These applications need to be designed around the very different enterprise requirements.
Jive Application Framework and Jive Apps Market, to be launched in early 2011, are designed to do this. With these offerings, Jive will be able to create new classes of enterprise software with new levels of interactivity, as it will give developers access to our enterprise social graph, our activity stream and our collaboration tools. Developers will have an easy and powerful sales and marketing distribution engine that will remove the need for complex contractual negotiations and licensing. They will be able to do this with the most current and innovative technologies out there by piggybacking on the work of cloud development and OpenSocial standards.
Jive Apps are designed to meet the needs of IT, who will be able to control the distribution, content and licensing of the applications deployed. SaaS based services can be funneled through Jive to both augment them with social features as well as give IT control over the distribution and monitoring of these systems. Jive Apps will also empower IT departments to develop applications to unlock the power of the data and functionality trapped in their enterprise systems. This means companies can create powerful competitive advantages by taking their proprietary processes and data and combining them with the benefits of collaboration and the social graph. We believe this model will create tremendous innovation both from within and from outside corporations to spur a major wave of productivity. Just think of taking the latest service oriented architectures within enterprises and putting their data and transactionality directly in the hands of collaborating employees. It will unlock the next huge wave of value from the existing investment in enterprise system.
Essentially, Jive has taken the best of social networking, mapped it to enterprise requirements of getting work done and created single platform that cuts across the entire new way work gets done. It enables customers to help one another, facilitates massive improvements in employee productivity and provides and a platform to create the next generation of enterprise software.
In closing I'll borrow a slide from Tony's keynote, which quotes Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: "We’re going to see that the applications built from the ground up to be social will have a fundamental advantage over applications that slap it on top, check the box, and think they can move on from there." Here in the Jive engineering department, we love building that software.