Jive Software: ‘It’s Not Facebook For The Enterprise, Stupid’ (FASTech)
The Wall Street Journal
By Tomio Geron
November 3, 2010, 2:53 PM ET
Jive Software is known for bringing popular consumer-friendly collaboration tools into enterprises. But that doesn’t mean the company is just selling ways for people to fritter away time at work.
Jive, which in July raised a $30 million funding round from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital, is trying to make it easier for people to get their work done, said Tony Zingale, chief executive of Jive, speaking at the VentureWire Fastech conference Wednesday.
The company is providing collaboration tools, but it’s focusing on doing them by solving enterprise problems such as scalability, security, offering behind the firewall as well as in the cloud. This gives enterprises confidence that they can put their data and information into their systems, Zingale said.
“That’s boring stuff to do,” Zingale said. “The cool new innovative social media companies don’t want to do it.”
While Jive is doing some of the “boring stuff,” it’s also incorporating the basic elements created by consumer social Internet companies like Facebook and Twitter. And it’s building a third-party platform for other developers to run applications on Jive’s platform for things like translation, file sharing, and multimedia presentations.
The trick is convincing chief information officers that Jive’s technology offers more than what’s found on Facebook, and that they should pay for it.
“I hate to say it, but ‘It’s not Facebook for the enterprise, stupid,’” Zingale said. “That’s a great social tool. But it’s not about connecting 200 of your friends together, and checking out their photos and videos and talking about what you had for dinner last night. It’s about getting your work done.
“If you simply walk in [to a company] and say, ‘Look at my profile, look at my activity screen, look at my micro-blogging tool or my cool videos I can display on YouTube.’ - that doesn’t work. But if you walk in and say, ‘Would you like your salesforce to be 25% more effective while prosecuting opportunities by collaborating with the community?’ - absolutely, people will respond to that.”
By applying this technology to existing business processes, and offering productivity enhancements and revenue generation, Jive can avoid the fate of other start-ups that have failed to take social-networking tools to the enterprise because they went with the free-to-use consumer Internet business model, he said. The Palo, Calif.-based company has more than 3,000 clients including Charles Schwab Corp., Intel Corp., Nike Inc. and VMWare Inc., and more than 15 million users of its software.
“Free doesn’t work,” Zingale said. “I’m not in the business of free.”
Asked about the prospect of Facebook eventually moving into the enterprise, Zingale said while he admires what Facebook has done for consumers he does not see that company moving into the enterprise.
“I don’t see it,” Zingale said. “I wouldn’t accept the security, privacy, and all that (enterprise) data being at Facebook. Every one of Jive’s 3,000 customers would have a serious problem with that.”