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Today, Microsoft announced that it has acquired Yammer.

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To get a better understanding of what this means for the industry, for users and for Jive, I sat down with Jive CMO John Rizzo.


 

https://community.jivesoftware.com/profile-image-display.jspa?imageID=8712&size=350Q: What’s your reaction to the news?

First of all, I want to congratulate Microsoft on their acquisition. From Jive’s position as the largest pure-play social business provider, it’s a really positive development. It’s clear validation that social business is now a mainstream market, and a must-have technology for major enterprise solutions providers. If you want to be in the game, you’ve got to have social. Microsoft clearly realized this, hence the acquisition of Yammer. This move will only accelerate a fast-growing market.


Q. Why has social business become so important?

Social business takes social networking technologies pioneered in the consumer space and applies them to actual business problems in the enterprise – problems like employee collaboration, marketing, sales and customer service. This is technology that works the way people do, making it much easier to share information, work together and communicate, both inside and outside of organizations. It’s the most transformative technology to hit the enterprise in a decade, and it’s moved quickly from cool early adopter status to a business imperative. Among Jive customers over the last few years, social business has had huge dramatic impacts on productivity, sales, brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.  For example, T-Mobile USA's 20,000+ employees use Jive to help them provide excellent service and first call resolution to more than 30 million customers.  And all 94,000 employees at IT services and consulting company CSC use Jive for better internal collaboration and knowledge sharing, and as a secure public community to manage their partner and customer relationships.

 

Q. How will this acquisition impact Jive?

For Microsoft, it’s clear they could not compete in the increasingly social enterprise market without something new. SharePoint is under attack, Salesforce.com competes with Microsoft's Dynamics product, and Google competes in the cloud with Office 360 and Skype for business use. All three of these initiatives lack social. The Yammer acquisition was therefore a necessary move to bolster Microsoft's social strategy, and it remains to be seen if and how they are able to work Yammer into their existing product mix in a way that makes sense. If the intention is to integrate Yammer and SharePoint, as many observers believe, that's likely to be a long, drawn-out process. There are big technological hurdles, the architectures and functionality of the two products are completely different, and the next version of SharePoint, due out in late 2012 or 2013, is already baked. Given those realities and Microsoft's long product release cycles, a true Yammer/SharePoint integration appears to be years away.


In any case, this move does nothing to alter Jive’s course or our mission to change the way work gets done. In fact, it confirms that we’ve been on the right path all along. We’ll stay focused on being an enterprise solutions provider that end-users love, and setting the agenda for social business. Case in point: our recently-introduced next-generation platform and the Try Jive program, which raise the innovation bar substantially while making enterprise-class social business even easier to deploy and use.

 

Q. How can people find out more information about Social Business?

For more information or to start your free 30-day trial now, visit: jiveon.com

 

What's your take on the news? Comment below.


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Yammer + SharePoint =?

For the past week the industry has been abuzz with news of Microsoft’s impending acquisition of Yammer. While the deal isn't official yet, we’ve already seen a lot of speculation on what it might mean for Microsoft customers, especially users of SharePoint. That's because the rumored acquisition is widely viewed as an attempt to bolster SharePoint’s social capabilities.


SharePoint has a lot of strengths as a content management system, and as a former member of the SharePoint product team, I'd be the last to say it's not a powerful tool. But its lack of features for social engagement has become a big liability, as I described in an earlier blog post.

 

At this point, I think Microsoft is acknowledging internally that the current version of SharePoint – as well as the next-generation “Wave 15” version, which is around the corner – doesn’t provide real social capabilities. The company is probably looking at Yammer as a way to close the gap

 

iStock_000012985439XSmall.jpgBut can Yammer fill that need? Can you really bolt social on to a non-social product and magically solve all problems? There are many examples in the software industry of companies attempting to do so, but none has really succeeded. Even if a full-fledged integration could get SharePoint to that point, it would take years to have these two platforms truly act as one. The hurdles are big, since the underlying technologies are completely different. SharePoint is primarily sold as an on-premise platform and Yammer is a pure cloud player. Combining the two is so challenging that I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft decides to only integrate with SharePoint on the cloud and not the classic version.

 

In addition, Wave 15 is already frozen (moving to beta testing soon), and given Microsoft’s multi-year release cycle, a potential Yammer-fortified version isn’t in the cards until 2014 or 2015 at the earliest. So, in the meantime, we’re left with SP and Yammer as separate products with a very lightweight “web part-based” integration. But are they complementary, and what do you get when you use them together?

 

Sizing up the Pieces

Today, SharePoint primarily helps organizations manage their documents and build traditional intranet pages, with limited collaboration and sharing. Yammer, on the other hand, is essentially a microblogging tool, a way of sharing short status updates. It also provides user identity capabilities through its profiles feature. What customers will be left with is a confusing strategy where some functionality happens in one platform and some in the other:

 

  • Documents will be managed in SharePoint, micro-blogging in Yammer.
  • Blogs will reside in SharePoint, profiles in Yammer.
  • Activity stream will be provided in Yammer, workflows in SharePoint.
  • Office integrates with SharePoint and not with Yammer, while folder synchronization take place in Yammer but not in SharePoint.

 

I’ve seen this many times at Microsoft, not just with products the company acquired but even ones it designed from the ground up internally. The typical Microsoft approach to this problem is to leverage the partner ecosystem, tapping third parties who can spend the time and effort to build custom integrations for customers.

 

That's what you get when you combine SharePoint and Yammer today: A disjointed set of capabilities that aren’t exactly complementary and that don't exactly offer the seamless, engaging experience people expect from a social business solution.

 

Socializing Microsoft

I joined Jive along with my team from OffiSync, the company I founded, after working with most of the social platform vendors in some capacity. With some we had an OEM agreement, and with others we were still in the POC phase. What made Jive unique is the fact that it was the only platform that provided end-to-end collaboration functionality, fully integrated. It offered the ability to build a single social graph with a single identity.

 

That said, we did believe that a powerful way to further socialize the enterprise was through a tight and deep integration with the Microsoft stack. The mission we embarked on was to build the integration as if we owned the entire stack.

 

It took Jive and OffiSync years to build a deep integration. Documents are not managed on one platform or the other; you can access the same document from any platform seamlessly. You can use MS Office to collaborate on documents whether they are in Jive or in SharePoint – and have all the social functionality enabled. You can microblog from Jive or SharePoint as if they were one product.

 

I could go on and on as to how we built the integration, but the bottom line is that our customers, whether they use SharePoint for document management, intranet or BI, benefit from a deep integration that allows them to leverage their Microsoft investments and add a powerful social platform, all while keeping things running as one single system.

 

A good example is Alcatel-Lucent's Jive-powered community, where 50,000-plus employees connect and collaborate. According to enterprise community manager Jem Janick, "Jive’s ability to integrate with SharePoint means we can provide a seamless user experience regardless of which environment you’re working in." For videos of other customer stories, visit Customer Videos - Jive Social Business Software.


How about you? Have you had experience integrating SharePoint with social products? Are you thinking of doing so? I'd love to get your take.

Screen+Shot+2012-05-18+at+6.27.22+AM.pngEver suffer from an uncontrollable urge to share your latest socbiz success story, or an insatiable need to learn the latest tips & tricks on the Jive platform?  Perhaps playing Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock with the same people just isn't fun any more?  If so, we recommend attending a Jive user group.  Much like most medicines, the Jive Meetup & User Group Program works best when experienced as part of a regiman.  


Last month, we launched an all-out blitz of user group kick-offs; stopping in 9 cities across the globe to help our customers and prospects find link-minded individuals in their region.   Before we get too far along, we'd like to take a moment and say thank you to the customer volunteers who helped make these events possible.


 

Note:  We also have user groups in Portland, Oregon (forming) and Austin, Texas if you are interested in joining.


What's Next - July 2012 User Group Blitz

Due to the positive feedback from this kick-off, we are promoting a blitz of Jive user groups during the month of July.  Our goal is to align meeting frequency such that the subsequent meeting can take place during the largest of all Jive user groups, JiveWorld!  So if you are interested in launching a user group in the coming month, visit your Jive Community user group (see above) and start organizing your meetup.  Make sure to reach out to Ryan Rutan for help promoting and advertising the user group in the Jive Community and via Jive's public social channels.


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But wait, there's more!

Meet with your user group by the end of July and ALL attending members will receive a discounted rate for JiveWorld12! See below for details.

 

JiveWorld12 Discount Rate Qualifications:

  • User group must meet by end of July 2012
  • Minimum 20 user group attendees, includes at least 1 Jive employee
  • Meeting Minutes should be posted back to the corresponding Jive Community user group.
  • Discounted rate expires July 31, 2012
  • Note:  Discount details and registration code will be issued the day of the user group meeting


For more further details/clarification, please see the Jive Meetup & User Group (Jive MUG) Resource Kit  and/or contact Ryan Rutan.

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What's in a name, anyway?  Well according to the states of New Jersey, Texas, and Wisconsin … not the numbers 0 through 9.  Seems fairly strict rules coming from the same states that brought you the likes of Snooki and Kinky but perhaps they are on to something.

I submit that your identity is THE foundation by which credibility and trust are established, and when engaging in online social business … sharing something as simple as your real name is no longer suggested, but rather expected, to be taken seriously.

Let's take YouTube for example.  To this day, YouTube still allows members to participate under cryptic usernames.  This is by design for their community, as it yields a risk-free ecosystem for users to engage in their community, disregarding quality and etiquette in the process..  However, when was the last time you modeled your content strategy from someone named eric227012, or changed an enterprise process based on the suggestions of b4b13LuV45Exactly!

Social business isn't about just any engagement.  It's about the right engagement, with the right people, and the right expertise.  Relationships matter, attribution counts, and at the heart of it all is a person's identity to self-regulate the flow of real collaboration.

 

If you're interested in assessing the state of your community, here are some suggestions:

  1. Analyze community profiles and calculate percentage private vs. public
  2. Using last 6 months of data, cross-reference % of traffic contributions coming from "private" vs. "public" members
  3. Filter data even more to only include extended conversations (dialogues with multiple people), and re-compare.

Target:  Achieve a ratio of 1:3, meaning 1 named member for every 3 guised members, with an ever-present goal to drive the ratio passed 1:1.


Regardless of your findings, you'll find that launching programs to increase chances for uses to connect will have a direct impact on expediting the trend to a more open community.  What will change is the level of energy and focus needed to alter existing norms to the achieve the desired results.  For example, take a look at Thrive on Jive in the Jive Community to see how we helped users find each other based on common interest.

 

How does your community compare?  Have you experienced similar transitions, how did you navigate the course? Any interesting programs you'd like to share?

Screen+shot+2012-04-01+at+4.33.42+PM.pngImagine you've just landed your dream job. 


After a week of setting up your voicemail, carefully choosing your healthcare plan, and determining which breakroom has the best snacks, you're ready to start making valuable contributions to the organization.  The problem is once you've completed the orientation checklist, it's often hard to get ramped up, especially in a large enterprise.


It's at that moment, Don Henley's voice starts playing in your mind:


Great expectations, everybody's watching you

People you meet they all seem to know you

Johnny come lately, the new kid in town

Everybody loves you so don't let them down


I've seen firsthand that social business tools make it easier for "the new kid in town" to become fully productive and part of the culture.  Technologies like social intranets also have real, monetary benefits. The average knowledge worker requires between four and six months to effectively learn and assimilate the necessary skills and processes to perform their job effectively.  During this period, employees are bringing home full salary, yet aren't producing at full capacity. They are also more likely to slow down fellow teammates by asking questions, even if those people aren't the subject-area experts.


Social intranets help with these kinds of issues because they allow knowledge sharing to happen online in unstructured formats.  New employees can do a quick search or read an update in an activity stream to find the answers they need.


While there is still definitely a need to have face-to-face interactions, social intranets definitely help with the employee on-boarding process. 


To get a first-hand account of what this experience is like for a new employee, I reached out to Jive's new Sr. Director of Customer Experience, Sydney Sloan


https://community.jivesoftware.com/profile-image-display.jspa?imageID=12164&size=350Q. Can you introduce yourself, your role and how long you've been at Jive?

 

I joined Jive March 2012 to lead the customer and social marketing team.

 

Q. Describe what your first experience with the Jive social intranet solution was like.

 

Our internal instance of Jive, aka: Brewspace, is central to the way the company runs.  I think the best way to describe my experience is similar to giving advice to expectant parents — you can give them the best tips and advice, they can read all the new parenting books but until they bring their new bundle of joy home they had no idea how their world was going to change!

 

My reaction was a little bit overwhelming for the first week.  I had set up my profile, completed my first blog and organized my activity streams.  It became a bit of a running joke that every time I asked someone a question the answer was "it's in Brewspace."  Quickly I realized how I could navigate to understand how departments and groups were structured and then I cracked the code on using the powerful search function.  The other discovery was to take the time to follow the people I was meeting – reviewing their blogs, activity streams, what groups and people they followed and current discussions they were participating in.

 

Now I am working on setting aside time to make sure I spend time just browsing and discovering what's happening in Brewspace. I've also re-set how I use activity streams to better follow content and help me focus on key projects I'm working on that may span across different groups and discussions. As well, we've redesigned our team's space to better link the groups and projects my team is involved in.  Admittedly we're a bit spoiled that we've got 3 community experts within the team!

 

Q. What were the biggest ways the social intranet helped you get caught up to speed?

 

I'd highlight two key examples.  We were a month out from the Jiveon.com launch.  I was able to review the product launch plan and link to all the sub-projects, status, and who was responsible for the areas my team was involved in.   If we didn't have it all in Jive it would have been much harder to get up to speed and get the context of where we were in the project.

 

The second example was my on-boarding. Thankfully the person who was in the role prior to me joining did a great job to summarize all the big projects in a document – with links to groups, content and people.  This is a huge benefit for corporate knowledge retention that I have not seen otherwise promised by document management systems.  In reality, when a person moves on to a new company they take that valuable knowledge with them, or it gets lost as their hard drives get re-imaged. With Jive, all the information is retained for others to leverage when they arrive.  I'm working on a project now and was able to find the past 3 years of related information.  That's invaluable!

 

Q. What are your biggest goals for the next 6 months?

 

My favorite project is one we're working on for engaging our customers the Jive Community to make every day like a day at JiveWorld!  We're also working on new and creative ways to best feature and promote our customers and their success -- I'm amazed at the number of passionate reference customers Jive has, well above the industry average.

 

Q. Biggest recommendation to people new to the platform.

 

Allow yourself some time to adapt, have fun discovering how to use Jive, and follow the 4 quests in the jiveon.com experience.  Those are great lessons directly from Jive customers!

 


At Jive, we are continuing to help new users like Sydney.  Stay tuned to this blog for information about an on-boarding feature that will get new users comfortable with Jive and ready to participate and contribute faster, leading to a more robust community.

Yesterday was a big day for the jivesoftware.com website. We completely changed the look and feel of the website, while still retaining the little things that make Jive feel like Jive. We also improved how we highlight THE biggest thing that makes Jive what it is, our awesome customers. Thank you to all of our customers that have shared their stories about Jive and been such a big part of making our platform better and better with every release. I'd like to give a special shout out to those who took the time to shoot some new videos for this launch: Mark Heller of Blue Shield of California, Amanda Mitchell of Allscripts, Nick Howe of Hitachi Data Systems, Trisha Liu of HP ArcSight, John Summers of NetApp, and Will Rose of T-Mobile USA. Thank You!!

 

Yesterday was the day...

 

The day we went from this......to this.
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In addition we also added some cool new images, called cinemagraphs. These are meant to show our heroic customers breaking down the walls and outdated technology that block collaboration and putting an end to the old way of doing things. Click on the one below to see it in action (it moves!). There are others in the series coming, but you'll have to check back on jivesoftware regularly to see them!

 

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