In April, my company successfully upgraded from Jive 4.5 to Jive 6.  Since other companies are also planning to upgrade, I thought I'd share some thoughts that may be of help.  Note:  Our instance is hosted by Jive.

 

1.  We did a couple of "test migrations" to make sure that things would ultimately go smoothly once the real migration would occur.  We wanted to make the real migration as anti-climatic as possible!

 

2.  We did our first test migration very early in the project.  The primary goal of that test migration was to see what our Jive 4.5 content would look like under Jive 6.  We wanted to be able to let our space and group administrators know what they would be in for!  We weren't sure whether their Overview pages would look good, bad or ugly!  Fortunately, for the most part, they looked good!  We were able to report to our administrators that very little tweaking would be required immediately after the upgrade.

 

3.  The way Jive does the test migrations is like this:  They create a new Jive 6 environment, take a backup of your Jive 4.5 environment, and then import that backup into the new Jive 6 environment.  They repeat this process over subsequent test migrations.  This Jive 6 environment eventually becomes your new Jive 6 production environment.

 

4.  Some of the Admin Console configuration settings come over in the database export/import, but not all of them.  We did an inventory of all our configuration settings under Jive 4.5 and then did a mapping of how each of these settings are represented under Jive 6 and whether manual effort is required to get the setting migrated over.  We were pretty thorough and meticulous about this, because we didn't want anything to slip through the cracks.

 

5.  We have approx. 6-7 customizations/plug-ins under Jive 4.5, most of which we needed to migrate over to Jive 6.  We did these customizations ourselves.  It did take a while to establish the code development environments to recompile and test the customizations for Jive 6.  My advice is to start early on this process!

 

6.  One big difference between Jive 4.5 and Jive 6 is how email notifications work.  To bridge this change, the migration process creates an email-enabled activity stream called "Email Watches" for each end-user, and any groups/spaces/people that the end-user was doing a "Receive Email Notifications" on shows up in this stream.  For some reason, though, we didn't get this stream -- nor the pre-populated "Connections Stream" -- by default.  During each of our test migrations, we had to open cases with Jive to have these streams created/populated.  It's possible that Jive now does this for you without asking, but it's something to be aware of.

 

7.  We did not engage with Jive Professional Services to obtain the services of a Project Manager to help us through the migration effort.  As a result, we had to be very much on top of things during the upgrade project.  I'm told that many customers do engage with Jive PS to obtain a Project Manager.  So be prepared to either engage with Jive PS or have someone within your organization spend a lot of time to do this function.

 

8.  We have a lot of tailored help documents, blog posts and discussions under Jive 4.5 for our end-users to understand how to use the system.  During the project, we staged new versions of this material in a secret group and during the upgrade process, we systemically replaced the content.  In most cases, we edited the content, so that existing bookmarks would not be lost.

 

9.  A few weeks before the upgrade, we held briefing sessions with our administrators to show them what Jive 6 looks like and what to expect.  We answered questions they asked.  This seemed to put a lot of fears to rest.

 

10.  Shortly after the upgrade, we held briefing sessions for end-users, explaining the new Jive 6 concepts such as Activity Streams.  We also emphasized the navigational changes and, in particular, the Content and Places menu items and their corresponding pages.

 

11.  We also created a preview group a couple of weeks before the upgrade.  We emphasized the "what's in it for you" things to expect in Jive 6:

  • Getting started tutorial
  • More options for receiving notifications
  • Easier ways to get someone's attention
  • Improved ways to find the information you need

 

12.  The actual upgrade was anti-climatic, as hoped for and planned for!  We started at 5 PM on a Friday and were back up and running by 3 AM that night.  The following morning, a Saturday, is when we updated our help documents.  Most end-users would try the new system on that Monday morning.

 

13.  Some of our end-users (mostly power users) were upset that the "Your View" page was gone.  Also, we received a lot of feedback that people could not find their bookmarks.  Clicking in the search box was not a logical place for people to look for their bookmarks.  We added a "Your Bookmarks" link to the Overview page of the system.  We also added links for "Spaces You Follow" and "Groups You Follow."  The generic term of "Places" isn't one that resonates well with many of our end-users, so they don't think to click on the "Places" tab to find a Group or a Space.

 

14.  We received a lot of end-user feedback to a news story during the first week that asked people "So, what do you think of [Jive 6]?"  We received hundreds and hundreds of responses.  With these responses and a companion poll we did:  About 25% of folks loved the changes, 25% were not happy with the changes, and 50% opted to reserve judgement until they'd figure out Jive 6.  In the month or so since having upgraded, we're hearing more and more anecdotal feedback suggesting people are liking Jive 6 much more than Jive 4.5.  Our system usage numbers are up quite a bit compared to Jive 4.5.  I believe things are trending in a good direction!

 

You may have questions and/or be interested in other aspects of our upgrade project/process.  Ask away, and I'll do my best to reply.  And/or, one of my colleagues may chime in.

 

And kudos to my colleagues Mike Pallia, Diana Ingraham, Klint Blasi, Matthew Peters, Scott Hopkins, Kit Menke and Jennifer Maxfield for a job well-done!