This is the perfect place to pose this question, as it is intended to be a vendor-agnostic space. I'm hoping a non-vendor will answer your questions, in fact.
However, this community was not intended to be technical, so I'm not sure how technical the members are. You will get a better technical answer in the Jive Software technical community, which is populated by Jive customers and partners.
Truth be told, we use Community Server... ...although currently on the 2007 version with a view to upgrading later this month.
I really like the look of Clearspace and had a good play around on the Clearspace support site and this one, but it actually worked out a lot cheaper for us to use CS, because we bought it in late 2007 and are paying for upgrades rather than buying it outright.
If you're buying either one for the first time now, I'd imagine that the prices aren't too dissimilar.
I'm not gonna list 5 reasons for one or the other - I've never used Clearspace for a community of my own. But, I am a Comunity Manager using CS, so would be happy to answer any questions.
One thing is for sure - the support and community around Clearspace seems a lot better than Community Server, where it can be very difficult (as a non web-developer) to get answers or best practice on extending the software beyond what comes in "the box".
What sort of size of Community do you think yours will be?
Hi Jason -
Well this is sort of like the old adage, who would win in a fight, Superman or Spiderman?
We all know the answer to that one, don't we??? Well maybe not, but this much is clear, it makes for a fun debate. And I guess it ultimately boils down to who you are more of a fan of (meaning do you like x-ray vision or spidey sense, leaping tall buildings or climbing walls, kryptonian blood or radioactive blood?)
On a more serious note, we love clearspace for the following reasons -
Ease of Use. Usability. Simplicity. Can I say more?
We have our own corporate collaboration community and we've found that our productivity and social fabric has improved considering that we have staff across multiple locations around the world. The key to success is usability. End-users have got to want to use it. It has to make their lives simpler & better.
From a technical perspective, we also implement a lot of community solutions for our customers and find that clearspace's architecture and integratibility for enterprise customers is solid and the engineers at Jive Software are very receptive to our needs and quick to resolve issues as they arise.
Of course, clearspace has a number of other great features and on a point by point basis there are considerable differences between clearsapce and telligent's community server with pros & cons for both vendors. Feel free to give me a shout if you'd like to discuss further.
I'm sure you've already done this exercise, but just in case, I recommend that you establish what your community goals are. Next, you should explore various community management & social promotion tactics that will enable your community to be engaged and thrive in addition to furthering your corporate goals (Community ROI, etc.).
Once you have the goals and tactics in place, you can then identify the key features that will enable your tactics and help you achieve your goals. Those key features can be a guide to selecting the right community software for you. And don't forget to include Usability as a key feature when
Good luck with your throwdown.
I have been a Jive custome for about 1.5 years now. What has been compelling to us are...
1) Ease of use. We have a community of nearly 3K and our adoption metrics continue to grow sequentially
2) Ease of administration. We have no developer support to make changes and it is probably the easiest admin console I have ever used.
3) Updatability. Updates are very easy. Jive has seemed to have their development cycle tuned right and all of the significant releases (2.0, 2.5 ,etc) have tremendous amount of new, compelling functionality (more recently Status Updates, Groups, updated text editor, etc).
In complete transparency, some gaps I have found are:
1) Reporting. The reporting functionality is quite weak. Although they allow embedded script (ie Google Analytics) I still struggle with getting this functionality operational.
2) I still experience some bugs when it comes to customizing some unique pages. When you leverage third party HTML script (ex. Google RSS feed) it can often cause page layout issues.
Hope this helps.
To be honest, if money was no problem and I could start over, I'd be more attracted to Clearspace. The fact that they have an impartial "best practice" community like this and the fact that the support forums are lively and questions (I asked plenty recently) are answered timely, would swing it for me.
In terms of reporting, CS offer a reporting package that displays nice graphs and tables - think it costs circa $10,000 - but with some SQL skills, I'm sure you could get the stats yourself and make a 'dashboard' in Excel. That's something I'm looking to do in CS with my SQL expert colleague! I gotta show that I'm hitting my KPI targets!
I did get a quote for Clearspace recently, and it was above our budget. We're not ready to invest that heavily in our Community, and it seems to me that Clearspace only offer an enterprise solution and no smaller packages.... correct me if I'm wrong.
So... if Clearspace offered a reporting tool and a package similar to Community Server's "Professional" license (which I'm using), I could be swayed.
Hope that helps, and kudos to Clearspace for their great sites and support, I'm very jealous of those of you using Clearspace and getting the support you need!
BTW Jason... what software's your Community currently based on - it looks nice!
Daniel Rae said, "To be honest, if money was no problem and I could start over..."
Unfortunately money is a factor for most, especially these days. From what I can tell Clearspace Community (CC) is nearly twice as expensive as Community Server (CS) for the equivalent annual licensing plan. And CC offers only that annual plan, not a perpetual license w/optional upgrade assurance nor a monthly pageview-based SaaS license as CS does. For enterprises who want to dip their toe in the water of public-facing communities and check the temperature, CC would do well to offer a plan which solves this more economically.
Presumably CC's more attractive out-of-box UI (e.g. the very nice text editor I am using to write this reply) is factored into the price difference, although IMHO tens of thousands of dollars, annually, can buy you an awful lot of UI differentiation and custom feature development.
I'd be interested to compare the full customer lists of CC and CS, as I suspect that CC is skewed toward bigger corps who can afford to commit to an annualized license in the neighborhood of $90K, while CS probably has more representation from small- and mid-size corps.
Deleted this post for posterity's sake. It was a bit of a bash on a company rather than a product, and in bad form. Please continue the technology-related discussion.
Message was edited by: Jason Long 2:26pm EST 1/28/2009