It really has only been three months since our last major cloud release; and the next spanking new release is here! We're very excited to start showcasing the soon-to-be-released cloud features for internally-facing communities. Another sneak peek overview post covering the equally exciting Jive-x 2015.2 for external communities can be found here.
But wait, what is 2015.2?
This release not only introduces new functionality, it also brings a new naming convention. To eliminate confusion due to seasonal differences (what the northern hemisphere considers summer is winter on the other side) and to make it easier for everyone to uniquely identify a particular cloud release, we've opted for a new naming convention. From this release, names will be determined by the year in which they are made followed by a major release number. As this is the second release in 2015, it is named 2015.2; the subsequent one will be 2015.3. Should we need to deploy a maintenance release to 2015.2, it will be labeled 2015.2.1 and so on.
Preview Wave – Tentatively scheduled for June 4
Customer Webcast - Tentatively scheduled for second week of June
General Availability – Tentatively scheduled for end of June
Preparing for the Release
- Feature Toggles reinstated: The Winter 2015 release was the first time we introduced "feature toggles" as a way to empower customers to consume innovation at their own pace. In this release we continue on that with Support Center as a limited availability feature that can be toggled on when you are ready to consume it. In addition - based upon customer feedback, the feature toggle capability for News will be available in this release as well - so our customers have until the next cloud release to prepare to turn News on for their communities.
- The preview documentation process also carries forward: As with the previous cloud release, draft documentation will be made available during the Preview wave.
Jive-n as the Social Intranet
The Jive-n 2015.2 cloud release super-charges Jive as the new, modern, social intranet with better content management functionality, robust self-service capabilities, powerful analytics to measure engagement of employees and integrations that make Jive even stronger as the connective tissue between an enterprises' systems.
Features and Enhancements
Bulk upload is one of our top customer requests and it comes to life with 2015.2. The bulk upload functionality makes it so much easier to create and manage image galleries in Jive. It also removes a lot of the friction involved in migrating over documents from another system.
Moving batches of files and photos - of any type or any combination - into Jive is made effortless with a simple drag and drop functionality. Users can also associate tags with the batch upload which will then apply to each individual file that is part of the batch.
Documents now have a "Copy Document" action that will clone the title, body, and publishing information (place, category, tags) into a new piece of content.
Documents can be copied to different places if you want to push out a clean version and empty comments. This is great for posting release communications to different audiences such as customers and partners. You can also use a document as a template that can then be used again and again to easily recreate documents. You'll notice the link at the bottom of this screen. This link can be used in a widget or a tile or an external system to create a copy of this particular document. So you if you want a tile on your group homepage to say "Submit a request", it could point to a template that would have the body filled out already.
This feature can also be used for working privately with your team and then pushing out a clean copy to the support center or even as a blog post to the News stream. Now it's easy to collaborate on your corporate communications privately, and then push out a fresh version to the company blog after it's reviewed.
Employee Support Center
Today's market dynamics, together with an increasingly global, mobile and diverse workforce are creating sizable new employee support needs within the workplace. In many companies, this means more load and support tickets to employee service departments such as IT, HR and Facilities. It does not have to be that way. An easy-to-use self-help portal can enable employees find what they need and dramatically cut the need for creating support tickets. The Employee Support Center brings this to fruition with the 2015.2 release.
The Support Center, which is a sub-section within the Jive Community, makes it easy for employees to find existing help content (such as documentation, tutorials and FAQs) or to ask questions and get answers from colleagues and support staff.
Employees can use this self-service center in two ways:
- Browse for existing content by clicking on the relevant place listed in the Support Center.
- Search to find existing content or answers to their question and refining the search results via place or category filters
If they are unable to find any relevant answers to their question, the center can be configured to list other support channels such as enabling posting a new question for colleagues or support staff to answer, link to call the help desk etc.
For this release, the Support Center functionality is being released as a limited availability feature and will be hidden behind a feature toggle for our customers. Even after the feature has been toggled on, customers can decide if they want it in the top navigation as a primary link or if they want to add it as part of a sub-menu elsewhere - for example, in a widget or a tile.
56% of executives believe that addressing cross-functional collaboration issues is key to their their digital transformation efforts.
~ Altimeter Group Digital Transformation Survey, 2014
Collaboration across functions, hierarchies and business units is at the heart of modern business processes. But companies do not have the tools to even view, let alone measure, how their employees are collaborating across departments and geographies. How amazing would it be for companies to have answers to questions such as 'Are employees in the new Shanghai office collaborating with their San Francisco counterparts?' or 'Which departments in my company are most silo-ed?' right at their fingertips!
Our new, beautiful engagement reports are here to shed light on exactly those kinds of questions! In one vivid snapshot, they showcase the breadth and depth of interaction amidst a company's employee base. There are filters to provide views into interactions at a departmental level, group level or geographic level.
We have one other report that is part of this release - the Engagement Index Report. Typically, organizations calculate employee engagement based upon responses to employee surveys. With this release, our Jive-n customers will be able to add valuable data points to that measure via our new employee-activity based Engagement Index Report.
These powerful reports and visualizations are a manifestation of the rich underlying data platform and social graph that stores and analyzes the multitude of interactions between content, people and places.
Our Google integrations has been one of the top favorite of our customers. During the previous cloud release, we officially GA-ed our Google Docs integration. With this release, we have made vast improvements to the file + permission syncing and identity handling capabilities of the Docs integration. We are also enhancing the Gmail cartridge to bring even more Jive content such as rich people information into your Gmail account.
Enabled by our Esna partnership, we have a completely revamped version of our Lync integration available with this release. The new integration is based on our Add-on framework, thus enabling non-disruptive Jive instance upgrades, easy configuration and smooth deployment. This new add-on also adds the ability to start a multi-participant chat or meeting based on the Jive context. For example, you can now start a Lync meeting based on a group or project's members, as well as the participants in a Jive discussion or document contributors.
Enhancements to News
With every quarter, Jive Cloud is becoming more attractive -- for the compelling new features and for the continual polish to existing ones. Aside from all the features mentioned above, we continued to polish our existing ones with this release - a noteworthy one being the flexibility incorporated into the News feature based upon feedback from our Jive Community. The feature toggle capability will be available in this release as well, so our customers have until the next cloud release to prepare to turn News on for their communities. In addition, we added the ability in the theming tool to enable renaming the News link or even completely taking it out of the top navigation.
Spotlight Search Redesign
Spotlight search, the quick search experience that returns immediate results, was redesigned and included in Jive 8 for on-prem and hosted deployments. With the 2015.2 release, it's getting rolled out for cloud deployments. Improved experience and performance of spotlight search makes it easy to get back to a set of recently accessed items.
We continue to enhance the product to deliver improved performance. Just on average page load time alone, we've made tremendous improvements of 40% comparing Q3 2014 to Q2 2015. We expect further improvements and will publish the numbers as they become available.
Jive Cloud Admin
Jive Cloud Admin (JCA) is a powerful tool for managing installations deployed to the Jive cloud. With this release, JCA enables us to provide instance specific upgrade and maintenance schedule notification to the administrators of any Jive cloud instance. So admins - when your jive instance / employee community is scheduled to be upgraded, we will now notify you right in your own environment! No more missed messages!
Additional Preview Feature: Improved Content Types
In this release, we also made significant improvements to two content types, namely documents and discussions / Q&A. When end users are looking for support, the two primary content types they interact with are: Q&A and knowledge base. In alignment with the support use case, in this release we improved the documents experience and added a variation of discussions – Q&A. Note that these are Preview / Beta Features - i.e. features that are made available mainly for advance planning and early feedback. Feel free to toggle them on and play around with them in your preview instance if you have one; but we recommend that they remain toggled OFF in your production instances. These new content types will remain off by default until future releases when rest of the content types have been enhanced as well. This enables us to ensure a consistent experience across the board.
Users can choose to post questions to the community and as before: questions are a "type" of discussion. The experience is targeted around questions with some lightweight comments or specific answers around a topic. The view experience for questions has been enhanced such that Jive will display first response as potential answers with a helpful (up /down) mechanism and the ability to mark as the correct answer. The correct answer will be summarized at the top. Potential answers will be shown by "most helpful"
You can see how the document content type is evolving from an experience perspective. The sidebar has been removed and options of "similar content" and mentions moved towards the bottom. All social sharing elements have been moved to the top right corner for quick and easy access.. The document itself can he marked helpful or not. Based on this vote, it surfaces to the top of the list when someone is doing a search.
This is yet another key release for us and we are so excited to be sharing a sneak peek of what's to come with you. As with every release, please stay tuned for a release webinar and further Deep Dive blogs highlighting the key features listed above. We are eager for your comments and feedback, so let us know what you think.
Thank you for the continued love, inputs and ideas!