The last few weeks have been pretty exciting for Jive. We received a lot of very positive press and analyst coverage around our announcement of Jive SBS 3.0, including ZDNet, CNET, VentureBeat, Aberdeen Group, and many more. There was also a tremendous amount of chatter in the Twittersphere. Much of the Twitter chatter has been trying to make sense of how our historical products Clearspace & Clearspace Community fit into the Jive SBS 3.0 paradigm:
The History of Clearspace & Clearspace Community
For those of you familiar with our products, Clearspace was launched in February 2007 as one of the first fully integrated social suites addressing the needs of employee communities. Clearspace Community was launched in May of the same year and focused on Customer & Partner communities outside of the firewall. Jive was the only company who recognized from the beginning that addressing the needs of social software for the enterprise had to include employees, customer, and partners.
Two years later we’ve had some tremendous success with these products and added well over 600 customers to our already substantial customer base with global brands usch as Intel, Nike, CNN iReport, United Business Media, SAP, and NetApp. We’ve seen strong uptake in almost every vertical including finance, manufacturing, retail, technology, government, education, and services. The most interesting thing is that some of our earliest customers now have tens of communities, and over a quarter of them have more than 2 communities. As you might imagine this has created the strong desire to unify the user experience across these communities, and subjects like federation and bridging have become very common place, but I will dive into that topic in a future blog.
The Foundation of Social Business Software
If you took all of the product that we have sold to date, it would fit into the blue layer of the Jive SBS architecture pictured above. Clearspace is now referred to as an Employee Marketplace. And a Clearspace Community instance is called a Public Marketplace. These Employee & Public Marketplaces are now collectively referred to as Jive Foundation. Why? Because they are the foundation on top of which we deliver our solution-focused Modules and Centers. In order to purchase a Module or a Center you must have at least one foundational product in place. This social layer is extremely important, provides a tremendous amount of value in its own right, and ultimately is what distinguishes Social Business Software from the more transaction and process oriented enterprise software that has become so familiar. But, it is applying the power of social software to specific, understood challenges in the enterprise that provides hard ROI and clear value--this is where the introduction of the Centers truly changes the game.
But Wait! I’ve Got Questions!
You’re not alone. As with any transformation there is a lot of change, and change can be confusing. Here are the questions I’ve been getting most often over the last couple of weeks:
- With the introduction of modules, are you removing functionality from the Foundation?
Absolutely not. An example would be the analytics dashboard related to basic user information and system information in the Admin Console of the Foundation products. The addition of the powerful social analytics in our Analytics & Insight modules will complement these views and information, and not be redundant or conflict with them in any way. Nothing is being removed from the Foundation or any of the products that our customers currently have in place.
- With the addition of so many new offerings does that mean you are going to put the Foundation products into maintenance mode?
Definitely not. Jive has product management and engineering resource focused exclusively to the Foundation. We intend to improve upon our leadership position in terms of social capabilities. In fact, we intend to move more aggressively here than ever before. Over the next several releases you will see us continue to unify the different modes of social communication into a single usable experience. There will see dramatic improvements and innovation around social discovery, noise reduction, and actionability. The Foundation will continue to be a critical part of our roadmap and strategy going forward.
- Is Jive SBS just Clearspace with a new name?
Hopefully the answer to this is now clear. Clearspace is now an Employee Marketplace that is part of Jive Foundation, which is one layer of the Jive SBS architecture. Modules and Centers are new offerings that are additional to the foundation products and dependent on at least one of the Marketplaces being in place.
- I really like the Clearspace name and logo. Why did they have to go?
Before answering this, I will say that we love them too. Spark, Forums, Clearspace, and Clearspace Community all had fantastic names & logos. I’ve often joked that there are startups that would kill for names and branding as good as these products. But, change is a natural part of growth and maturity, and worked very well for Jive at one time is no longer as good of a fit.
For those of you in the enterprise software space, you know that it is very difficult to build and develop more than one brand. When I go into our customers they collectively refer to our software as “Jive” no matter which products they are using. (Even if it is our older Forums product.) More importantly, these product brands were not helping our customers and prospects conceptualize the solution that Jive brings to market with our Social Business Software focus. While there is a firm belief that this is the right decision for Jive and our customers, we’ll always have a nostalgic place in our hearts for the Clearspace name.
The Best is Still Ahead
We’re really excited about our new direction with Jive Social Business Software, and there is a lot more to talk about. Dave started laying out some of what the Modules and Centers are going to mean to our customers in his blog post (http://www.jivesoftware.com/jivespace/blogs/jivetalks/2009/03/10/welcome-to-the-social-business-revolution--introducing-jive-sbs-30). I hope to go a bit deeper in some follow-on posts. Admittedly, it is early and the cynical may dismiss this move as pure marketing or hand waving. But, I’m willing to predict that the skeptics will fall silent over time. The module offerings were strongly pulled by our customers and will have an incredible amount of uptake. Our solution focused Centers strategy was not created on a whiteboard, but from a deep assessment of the way our customers are actually using our products. All we are doing is making their experience easier, cleaner, and more powerful by productizing and packaging our software in a way that provides clear solutions to large business problems.