With Try Jive, Jive Software is flirting with the freemium model used by competitors like Yammer. But is 30 days long enough to see results?
While Jive for Teams will be available to organizations of all sizes, Jive is explicitly targeting departments in large organizations rather than aiming for small to midsize businesses or startups, which is where Yammer wins a lot of its freemium business. Jive also rejects the premise, popular not just with Yammer but with many of the latest cloud offerings, that the route to success starts with free software that appeals to consumers and small businesses, with an upgrade path to paying accounts. That free to premium path is the essence of freemium (warning: argument over definitions coming in a few paragraphs). "We'll give them a reasonable pilot," Zingale told the Silicon Valley Mercury-News, but "we're not in the business of providing software for free forever."
In an interview, Adam Mertz, a senior product marketing manager for Jive, said the company's market research suggests a 30-day trial can be successful if it's done right, and Jive is putting extra effort into making sure it's done right. For example, Jive assigns a "success coach" to everyone who signs up, meaning each trial user is guaranteed a follow up by email and phone from someone who can answer questions and get their adventure in social collaboration started off right. My success coach called this morning, after I signed up yesterday, which is certainly a more high-touch experience than I'd expect for a freemium service. Of course, this person is also there to serve a sales function, but at least they are there to answer questions, too.
Immediately after account activation, you're also presented with a welcome screen featuring four ways to use the product, along with video messages from Jive customers discussing how those features fit into their businesses:
-- Amanda Mitchell of Allscripts on how to work better as a team (how to set up Jive groups).
-- Will Rose of T-Mobile on how Jive can help you and your team make faster decisions, with fewer meetings.
-- Trisha Liu of HP on using Jive for document collaboration.
-- Nick Howe of Hitachi Data Systems on using Jive to stay in touch and in sync.
Overall, it's a very warm welcome, on par with what you might expect from the best consumer products. The whole point is to make sure trial users make the most of the time they are given, Mertz said. "We actually had a team focused on the first 15 minutes experience, as well as the 30-day experience," he said.
With the combination of the online tutorials and the success coaches, 30 days ought to be enough for people ought to get a sense of how Jive will work for them, Mertz said. "If don't have that, it probably isn't enough."
Yammer CEO David Sacks had a few dismissive comments ready in response to Jive's announcement, but they weren't what I expected. Rather than taking issue with the 30-day limit on Jive's offer, he simply said, "You mean, Jive's freemium offering?" When I tried to protest that a 30-day trial wasn't the same as a freemium service, Sacks said, "to me, that's a distinction without a difference. Only in [Zingale's] mind is this not a freemium offering. It means we've basically won."
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