No, I am not a paid endorser for Jive Software.
Neither EMC nor myself receive any special considerations for what we say about them. And, behind the scenes, we beat them up as badly as we beat up all of our other technology vendors.
No, it's just that we really, really like what they're doing.
And Jive's recent 3.0 release -- now Social Business Software -- reflects that thinking
Going back in this journey, readers of this blog might remember that I made a big deal about a few key concepts.
First, although we realized that there was most definitely an internal domain for social collaboration, and there was an external domain for social collaboration -- we could easily see that -- over time -- they'd be pretty much the same domain, albeit with slightly different rules of the road.
So we wanted a social software vendor that saw things our way.
Second, we believed that this was all about getting our company proficient at this stuff. We couldn't be expected to have meaningful conversations outside our company if we didn't know how to do that inside our company.
So we started with internal proficiency, and then grew into external proficiency. Two separate focus areas, but -- ultimately the same set of people at our company having progressively larger conversations.
That's the big idea I saw in Jive's new release -- the stunningly obvious realization that -- for most companies -- the ideal state is connecting both together.
I don't know whether EMC was unduly influential in Jive's thinking, but I have to say -- they're thinking about the problem -- and the opportunity -- pretty much as we do.
And A New Name
Changing the name of your core product is an emotional decision. I know, I've been there.
And, considering that the Clearspace name has built up an enormous amount of brand equity in our circles -- well, I bet there were more than a few internal meetings on this topic.
But the first rule of product naming is to clearly communicate what your product does in a way that people can easily understand it.
And "social business software" (or the inevitable SBS acronym) meets that agenda. It's software for businesses that recognize that "social" is the new way of driving productivity across their businesses.
I get it. I just hope everyone else will.
Simply put: enterprises will need business software that can both connect people internally as a prerequisite to connecting them externally. And if it's the same software, so much the better.
There Will Be Those That Disagree
I saw one industry analyst who (respectfully) was disagreeing with this view.
His point (as I understood it) was that the motivation for internal social media and external social media within large enterprises was different: for example, the marketing people might be thinking "external" while the HR people are thinking "internal".
And each group would have its own shopping lists, hence the need for entirely different platforms.
That may be the case in some situations, but I think he's speaking about how social media proficiency starts -- and less about where it ends up.
I could easily make either an economic case -- or a strategic case -- that there's strong appeal in a single platform that does both using a unified set of capabilities and a consistent user experience.
I would point as evidence the evolution of other enterprise software platforms.
Transactional business processes started off as ad-hoc functional packages (remember Accounts Payable and MRP modules?) and ended up as integrated ERP.
Personal productivity software started out as individual packages for word processing, email and spreadsheet -- and ended up as productivity suites. Lots of other examples if you think about it.
The same laws of physics and market evolution inevitably will apply to social business software.
It's just that some people might not recognize the future when they see it :-)