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Last week we launched our Get Social Tour. We’re already riding high on the energy of our audiences, who are enthusiastically embracing Social Business Software (SBS) and the monumental change to business practices SBS can deliver.

 

On June 17th we’ll be in the ninth week of the tour, stopping in Philadelphia, where David Michael, Chief Information Officer at United Business Media (UBM), will be showcasing one of the strongest business imperatives for Social Business Software: unifying complex global business operations.

 

One of the world’s largest business media companies, UBM operates in 30 countries, providing information, data, and marketing services through 78 businesses in nine independently run divisions. UBM has grown to its current market position primarily through acquisitions, and they run their operations as a federated company.

 

They credit much of their success to preserving the autonomy of the companies they acquire.  (UBM deliberately doesn't maintain a corporate-wide email directory.) However, decentralization proved to be a barrier in terms of reducing costs and increasing efficiency. And it was clear that a number of business synergies were going untapped.

 

How UBM leveraged Social Business Software to address those challenges is a hell of a story, and David tells it well. In a nutshell, they launched their first—and only—corporate wide software solution, a secure online community powered by Jive SBS. They’re still decentralized—and they still don’t have an email directory—but they’re working together in ways that they’ve never had an opportunity to do before

 

UBM told Nigel Fenwick, an analyst at Forrester, that there was an overwhelming agreement among employees that the Jive system has completely changed the culture of UBM ― from independent companies that didn’t talk to each other to a culture of collaboration where the first thought is to see if someone else has already tackled the same problem.

They also reported tangible ROI: hard savings where companies have joined together to negotiate better terms from suppliers and a rough estimate that 7% to 10% of usage has driven new innovation in the business leading to top-line or bottom-line growth.

 

Their deployment of Jive SBS – called the UBM Wiki – was recently highlighted in the company’s 2009 annual report. In fact, the report states:

 

“…the UBM Wiki has become an increasingly important tool for UBM’s management teams, enabling all of UBM’s employees to connect and collaborate for business benefit across geographies and operating companies.”

 

Since it was launched in September 2009, the community has grown to nearly 5,000 users working in 39 countries.

 

Forrester has published a case study on UBM, and UBM talks extensively about their Jive SBS deployment (which they call the UBM Wiki) in their most recent annual report.

 

Or you can just hear all about it from UBM’s CIO David Michael. We’d love to see you in Philly.

Our friends at Cisco have created an amazing contest that not only helps to strengthen and value Cisco’s own community, but also reaches out to rebuild another.

 

Cisco Support Channel (CSC) Helps Haiti” is an inspired idea.  For every rating a user leaves on a piece of community content, Cisco will donate $1 to the American Red Cross on behalf of Haiti, up to a total of $10,000.  Cisco’s CSC is powered by Jive SBS and we are grateful for the opportunity to bring more attention to such an important endeavor.

 

The suffering continues more than two months after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, with an estimated 1.2 million Haitians still homeless.  Now the country will try to brace for the start of the hurricane season in June.

 

The altruistic nature of this contest truly embodies the idea of  “one community helping another.”  Providing honest feedback helps the entire Cisco community to value contributors, as well as find and utilize the best answers and information.  Combined with a charitable opportunity, feedback becomes even more powerful and translates into sharing life-changing donations for Haitians to rebuild their own community.

 

Tim Albright of the CSC created this campaign.  In his YouTube video about CSC Helps Haiti, he said, “Sharing and helping is what makes a community work.”  We couldn’t say it any better.

 

Inspired?  We hope so. Use the example of CSC Helps Haiti to inspire something similar for your own organization.  Please pass it on.  And if you have a rating, please share it now. https://supportforums.cisco.com/index.jspa

I'm heads down this week with executives at two key thought leadership events for marketers: The CMO Club Summit in New York City and The Forrester Marketing Forum in Los Angeles. The title of this year's Forrester Marketing Forum speaks volumes about marketing today: "Adaptive Marketing: How to Design a Flexible Organization to Thrive on Change."

 

Coming out of 2009 and what Time magazine called "The Decade From Hell," most of us are looking forward to change – starting with a return to growth. Since marketing teams are often in the middle of architecting growth strategies, I'm excited to hear about the growth plans conference attendees have on tap for 2010 and beyond.

 

On many levels the economy today is far stronger than it was a year ago. However, problems still persist. As a result, we're all learning how to operate in a "stop and go" economy. There will be moments when we'll feel emboldened to make big bets, and other times when hitting the pause button will be in order.

 

Jive Social Business Software can provide great leverage in this "stop and go" economy. Our Jive Market Engagement solution helps organizations proactively monitor brand or product issues and competitive threats; enables quick collaboration on appropriate responses or interventions; and elevates and broadens the social conversations with a company. It's an awesome way to move faster in the moment of pain or opportunity.

 

Customers don't go online just to gripe. They also give invaluable information and insights that can lead to breakthroughs in innovation, product strategy, and support. Our recently introduced Jive Ideation module lets you channel the voices of your market and partners, score their ideas, and then pick off the best ones give the green light. And when you do, customers will both recognize and give you credit for listening and responding.

 

While I'm on the road this week, Team Jive is kicking off our 10-city Get Social Tour. Our first two stops are Los Angeles and Houston. Whether you're just starting on your Social Business Software journey or you’re an existing Jive customer, come join us. In typical Jive fashion, community is the theme as we showcase Jive customers, products and best practices to help you GO!

 

If you’re going to either the CMO Club Summit or the Forrester Marketing Forum, drop me a line @benkiker to connect at the event. If you can’t make it, follow my Twitter stream for nuggets from both conferences.

You may have seen one of several articles or a few tweets about "Jive vs. Open Source". That comes from the title of a white paper we recently posted to our website. Frankly, the title was a dumb mistake on our part. I've asked the team to take the document down as it's far too easy to infer a religious war of which we're simply not a part.

 

Setting the record straight: Jive has consistently made substantial Open Source contributions. Examples include the Openfire, Spark and Smack projects as well as the code contributions Jive employees make to several of the open source frameworks we use. There are few movements that have unleashed as much innovation as Open Source and we're proud of our continuing contributions.

 

It's a separate question whether small vendors can survive with an Open Source business model in the highly competitive Social Business Software category. I believe the answer is "no," but that's a tangential and uninteresting topic given how infrequently we see these vendors in deals.

 

Today's skirmish does give me the opportunity to say a few things about what *is* an important upcoming fight for developers in the social business arena. We're in a period of rapid market adoption and now is the time to determine whether an open and interoperable ecosystem will emerge. Jive believes the most important battle here is the decision to embrace open standards.

 

Expect to see legacy vendors like Microsoft and Salesforce.com give lip service to standards without doing anything real. On the other hand, we're implementing OpenSocial, oAuth, OpenID and more. In fact, we've made a ton of progress in this area. Look for us to share more information soon.

 

We believe we're on the right side of history with our approach to open standards. That approach will provide profound business value for customers, developers and everyone in the growing Jive community.

 

Now that's a religious war I look forward to fighting.

ActiveTraderCommunity.gifNext week I'll be hosting a Jive webcast with Steve Maiello of Charles Schwab. The webcast is on April 23rd at 10 a.m. PDT, and you can register by visiting our website.

 

Charles Schwab has been a leader in financial services for nearly three decades, and today provides retail brokerage and banking services to millions of individuals - including me. In fact, my mortgage, home equity line of credit, brokerage and a credit card account are all with Schwab.

 

In a highly competitive market with no shortage of firms offering these products, the webcast is a unique opportunity to learn how Schwab continues to expand their market share. Just 18 months ago Schwab launched the Schwab Trading Community, powered by Jive Social Business Software (SBS), The community lets Active Trader clients share ideas, ask questions, and find ways to improve their trading. Clients can also network, socialize, and learn from other Active Trader clients, Schwab and third-party experts. You can check out the community via a terrific persona-based tour.

 

Schwab has seen meaningful participation in the community. Last November Gartner published a research report titled "The Business Impact of Social Computing: Real-World Results for Customer Engagement" that included the following business results:

 

  • The community has approximately 10,000 participants.
  • On average, a community participant trades at 360 trades per year versus 200 for non-participants.
  • An exploration of customer satisfaction showed that 85% surveyed were satisfied, and 51% were very satisfied.

 

Steve will be sharing some updated results with us on the webcast, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at Schwab's journey with Social Business Software.

 

Current and prospective Jive customers love our customer-focused webcasts for the insights and "tales from the front line" format. Join us on April 23rd for another look at how the world's leading brands Jive.

I read a McKinsey executive survey recently that found 71% of enterprises are using Web 2.0 technologies for training purposes.  Given the natural connection of learning and social networking, the popularity should come as no surprise, but that adoption rate number just seems to leap off the page.

 

It points to something important that anyone involved in eLearning knows instinctively: Social Business Software has the power to take eLearning to an entirely new level.  When we give people the same kind of tools they've fallen in love with in their personal lives (Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn on the career side) and allow them to use these tools as a way to seek out and share information, we give people a new relationship with eLearning - a relationship on their terms.

 

Ben Kiker, our CMO, spoke with Dawn Poulus, VP of Marketing for Xyleme as part of their podcast series, Xyleme Voices, talking about how companies like Swiss Re, Toshiba, Yum! Brands and CSC, are using Jive to address issues of employee and partner on boarding, expertise location and employee collaboration.

 

Also in the podcast, Ben touches upon who your greatest allies and assets can be within the organization, and who will help drive the adoption and engagement you're craving for your social learning strategy.  These stories are real, the results are powerful, and the implications that social learning has for business is profound.

 

Tune into Ben's podcast, and listen to the future of eLearning.

The real-time web - no matter how scary it might seem - represents the single biggest opportunity EVER that companies have had to create monumental competitive advantage.  Yet, a huge majority have completely wasted the opportunity up to this point.  And the few companies who have dabbled in it seem content to let it be a tool for a handful of people that they consider their 'brand police'.  Of course, it's not entirely their fault because virtually every social media tool on the market - until now - focuses their solutions on this important yet extremely niche use case.  Their prices look great if just a couple people are using it.  But they don't scale - the price skyrockets with more than a few users and searches and technology-wise it often takes hours just to learn how to use these highly specialized monitoring consoles.

 

Jive takes a different approach.  We've tightly integrated social media monitoring software with our leading collaboration and community solutions, with one of our key goals being to help every individual at our clients leverage, collaborate, and engage across the real-time web.

 

I'll offer 5 real-world examples of how you can think big about social media monitoring and beyond just reactive reputation management (and you can join us for a live webcast on May 5th to hear more).

 

1.  R&D - Crowd Sourcing in Real Time

Companies have been using Jive for years to help improve innovation both from within the company as well as crowd-sourcing.  Recently Jive significantly added to our innovation capabilities with the release of our Ideation Module.  But in addition, I've been working with some of the largest brands in the world (sorry, not allowed to say their names yet) where crowd-sourcing ideas has come to mean much more than enabling customers to create and vote on ideas.  Being able to monitor the real-time web in conjunction with the Ideation Module seems to be a natural and perfect crowd-sourcing combination.

 

2.  Service - Because people no longer just call or visit your website for help

Customer service changed dramatically when companies starting enabling service-oriented communities on their website.  With communities customers answer other customers questions and real-time knowledge bases are developed.  This lead to better service and lower costs.  However, now a customer is just as likely to post his or her question, issue, or concern on Twitter or a 3rd party community like a Facebook group.  Service organizations need to be present and ensure there is a coordination of engagement efforts.  With Jive, companies can achieve just that.  In addition, Jive makes it possible to pull in these conversations and ensure that the in-house service team and knowledgebase continues to improve.

 

3.  Sales - Finding opportunities

Many companies, particularly B2B, have a telequalifier role.  That role is meant to search under every nook and cranny to find qualified prospects.  I'm seeing this role changing in the not-too-distant future.  Part of the Sales team's arsenal will include tools like Jive where sales reps create automated agents that scan the web for pertinent questions and highlight them in a personalized dashboard.  With Jive, you can add this weapon to your sales arsenal right now.

 

4.  Marketing - Proactive campaign management

This is about putting Jive's social media monitoring tools in the hands of Brand, Channel, and Market Managers to be proactive in their outreach efforts.  Prior to campaigns they can start tracking the buzz about their company, brand, or product to get a baseline and to better understand who the key influencers are.  During the campaign they can track engagement across the social web, with the entire team easily being able to share articles/tweets/Facebook Fan or Group page messages/etc within a virtual war room collaborate around any necessary adjustments or responses with all dialogue being captured and searchable on demand in the future by all.  And after the campaign, Jive enables the Brand Manager to easily pull together a buzz report with specific examples of conversations, tweets, and posts with just a few clicks.  All of this occurs in Jive's leading collaboration platform.

 

5.  HR - you're brand managers too!

People aren't just talking about your products on the web, they're looking for jobs and talking about their work experiences at your company.  If you don't think so, check out JobVent, a site exclusively for talking about and rating work environments.  HR and Recruiters need to be just as aware of pertinent conversations as Marketing in this new world order.  With Jive, you can monitor, engage when appropriate, and leverage the social web to find the best people for your organization.

 

The above examples illustrate the importance of thinking big when it comes to social media along with the importance of tying social media monitoring with real-time and easy collaboration amongst your entire company.  The companies who start now and think big will be the ones with sustainable advantage in the future and will improve their odds of long term profitability. To learn more about how Jive is helping companies leverage these strategies, join us for a live webcast and see Jive Market Engagement in action.

 

(You may also be interested in fellow Jiver Ari Newman's companion blog post outlining 5 things to consider when evaluating social media monitoring platforms.)

There is no shortage of social media monitoring tools on the market today, and figuring out which ones to evaluate can be a daunting and time consuming task on its own. The good news is that there are a number of solid products to look at, and they are beginning to mature to the point where larger organizations can effectively listen, collaborate, and engage in social media conversations in way that will scale. The industry is moving (and evolving) quickly; it wasn't long ago that "early adopter" companies had one or two people using desktop tools, Google Alerts, or Twitter search to find out what was being said online. Today, smart companies are establishing Social Media policies and best practices, investing in social media as a long-term communication channel, and beginning to see adoption across functions within an organization. Be careful though - some of the SMM tools claim to do everything you need and will look good on the surface but end up falling short when it matters.

 

Regardless of whether you are evaluating social media tools for the first time, or are already using one, this list is a great "sanity-check" to ensure you have picked the right solution. Online conversations across all kinds of media (not just Twitter or Facebook) are here to stay, and will become a growing part of the communications strategy for every business. Do you know what you need to be successful?

 

  1. Avoid pay-per-search or pay-per-result - Avoid services that charge you per search term, topic or results. You end up with a myriad of problems, such as casting too narrow of a listening net (and missing relevant content and metrics), swapping searches in and out and losing the long-term analytics, or finding your bill skyrocket when a new project comes up, or a popular term delivers a flood of results. The value in Social Media Monitoring and Engagement tools are that they can listen to millions of conversations a day for you, so don't limit yourself out of the gate with models that won't scale with the business need or handcuff you along the way.

  2. Beware of shiny things - Some apps present themselves better than others, but pay close attention to ease-of-use and usability when you are evaluating the tools. Once you get beyond the demo and the sample report, in order to be successful you need the tool to be intuitive and straightforward for an entire team to use. Anything that requires training and a manual means more friction when it comes to broad adoption. Pretty UI but impossible to figure out=expensive shelfware.

  3. Know what success looks like - Go into the evaluation knowing what you want to monitor and how you'll use the information. Are you listening for brand mentions? Listening to the competition? Interested in finding the influencers? Rather than just poke-around the tools for the sake of it, or using test terms that are not relevant to your real-world - its worth sitting down and planning. Some SMM companies will help you get the service dialed in and educate you along the way. Think about the metrics that will matter to you, and ensure the tools can deliver what you need. Ensure you can perform mention analysis of your brand against others, or product vs product to see how you really stack up.

  4. Avoid data silos - Social is happening everywhere, across all kinds of apps and products both inside and outside the walls of companies. Does your social media monitoring vendor understand this? Do they have the correct vision (and can they execute against it?) The problem stand-alone tools are running into is that the data is stuck there, and that greatly erodes the value of having it in the first place! With no way to efficiently crowd-source answers or discuss events during a crisis in real-time (sorry, but reply-all on email doesn't cut it any longer), the tool may actually hurt more than help. If the platform doesn't evolve in step with the pace of social collaboration and engagement, you risk ending up with business-critical data stuck in a "silo", or worse a tool people stop using because its not collaborative.

  5. Think about the future - We always advise our customers to "have a social media strategy", even if its very lightweight. Once you join in the fray, leaving is rarely a wise option. You might be starting with one application of social media engagement today (customer service or marketing), but as Adam Mertz talks about in his companion blog post, in the near future the uses will expand cross-functionally. Having a little foresight while evaluating now will save you from an expensive mistake down the road (see #1 and #4). If you believe, like I do, that social media is a real-time, two-way communication channel, you can draw many parallels to past technology or communication channel maturity models. How many employees do you have communicating with customers today via phone, web, email, etc? How many people are communicating on social media? In some ways, its still early days, but if you see how quickly the channel has matured already, its only a matter of time before you need to bring more resources to bear than just the "community manager" as the only person engaging (no disrespect meant for Community Managers!)

 

If you'd like to see how Jive's social media monitoring software stacks up, please join us for a live webcast on May 4th to see it in action and hear how companies are transforming the way they listen to, and engage with, the Social Web.

Jive customer Taleo has gone public to promote the huge success of its talent management community, Talent Grid, which is in part powered by Jive SBS. Just launched in September ’09, Taleo now reports that the Talent Grid community has “exceeded its development and usage goals” so it’s creating a separate business unit “to support its rapid growth and adoption.”  Congratulations to Taleo!!

 

Here’s my favorite part from the Taleo press release:

“Talent Grid offers Taleo customers unprecedented value and the ability to drive superior business performance. This is made possible by harnessing the power of collaboration. By pairing social networking with Talent Management, Taleo's Talent Grid is bringing together thousands, and potentially millions, to share knowledge, offer insights and solve problems.”

I love stories that show Social Business Software being adopted at rates and user sizes that are, well, like what you see in public social networks.  And as Taleo says, they could see millions benefitting from the collaboration happening on Talent Grid, including “the potential to bring together more than 200 million candidates and 550,000 new jobs each quarter into one community” through the Taleo Talent Exchange. In the Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 world, this is where the rubber meets the road in a seriously big way.

 

So I am cheering hard for Taleo to get to 200 million users, which would be almost 3 times the number of Twitter registered users. But make no mistake, Taleo can’t afford to post a “Fail Whale”(LINK) like Twitter users have come to accept or worry about the privacy of a candidate’s information. That’s why Jive spends so much time on the behind the scenes on scalability and security (LINK), capabilities that have been critical to making SBS successful in the enterprise.

 

Jive customers continue to be the best at telling great stories of their success. And there are some incredible opportunities to hear from a number of them, whether on their own, on a customer webcast, at JiveWorld or through our much anticipated Get Social Tour which is coming soon to a city near you. These are real SBS experts so listen up!

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