Jive Rolls Out New Product, Takes on Microsoft and IBM in Social Business Software
In the burgeoning software hub of Portland, OR, one company is breaking new ground today. Jive Software, a maker of “social business software” that helps employees communicate with each other and manage their work information, is releasing a new product called SBS 3.0. The software is targeted to businesses, and its goal is to let corporate teams from inside and outside a given enterprise connect and collaborate more easily and effectively.
Jive’s new software combines its business collaboration product with its online-community offering into one package that it can sell to companies. The idea is that giving employees better access to a full suite of social tools will help them stay better connected to key departments and collaborators, thereby saving the company money and time in the long run. “Enterprise software has been a boring category for 20 years, and Jive is here to change that,” says Sam Lawrence, Jive’s chief marketing officer.
You’d expect to hear something like that from an experienced marketer like Lawrence. Yet in this case, he is talking about a bold strategic move by a small company that has its sights set on becoming something like Facebook for the office, putting it on a competitive collision course with Microsoft, IBM, and a slew of startups that aim to help employees get better at collaborating. Jive has evolved to this point from its founding in 2001, before the days of social networking. Its early forays into social software involved online forums and instant messaging, and were focused on support— things like getting customers to help each other rather than call a company with time-consuming questions.
By 2005, a lot of Web 2.0 and social software applications were becoming available, and Jive shifted its focus to helping employees communicate within their company and between companies—on things like who is responsible for which parts of a project, or how an R&D department is connected to other teams like marketing and sales. In the past few years, Jive has signed up customers like Intel, Nike, Electronic Arts, SAP, and VMware. The company raised $15 million in funding from Sequoia Capital in 2007. “Having them in our corner is a big, huge thing for us,” Lawrence says.
Here’s how the new product works. Customers get a dashboard view that shows … Next Page »