Government // Enterprise Architecture
Commentary
6/14/2010
08:37 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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Global CIO: Can Jive Drive Social Business Software?

Jive says Social Business is software's most important category in a decade, and some powerful partners agree. Will CIOs buy it?

Promising a social-media experience specifically tuned for the enterprise, Jive Software is launching the Social Business Software category this week with a new platform for CIOs that incorporates the full Twitter firehose, mobile social tools from customers/integrator CSC, and a presence on the Google Apps Marketplace.

In some ways, privately held Jive is an unlikely candidate for such an ambitious undertaking: while well-known among its customers and the social-media community, it's still an outsider in the enterprise world and among many CIOs. Run until recently by its founders, the company to date has done a superb job of developing a great set of technologies but has not fully articulated a deep and broad strategic plan for enterprise value and deployment.

That appears to be changing--and quickly. Privately held Jive is approaching a $100 million annual run rate and now has 15 million users among its 3,000 customers, including some very large enterprises that are weaving its communication, collaboration, and social-media tools into powerful new platforms for engaging with customers, employees, and partners.

New CEO Tony Zingale, who ran Mercury before it was acquired by Hewlett-Packard for $4.5 billion four years ago, left no doubt about the company's ambition to shake up the enterprise-software category by offering CIOs a profoundly new approach to managing the information explosion that current models seem unable to handle:

"Social Business is the most important new enterprise software category in a decade," Zingale said in a statement. "The innovation of social in the consumer space has had a ripple effect in the enterprise, forcing mass adoption of social business practices. Today's announcement positions Jive even more firmly as the leader in this multibillion dollar market."

Zingale and former Mercury CMO Chris Lochhead are attempting to define that new "multibillion dollar market" as the big-business analog of the social experience that has had a profound effect on communications and interactions in our personal lives, and that has begun to creep in various and splintered ways into the corporate world as well.

But now, with a suite of products specifically targeted at opportunities businesses would like to pursue and information-flow flaws enterprises have been seeking to fix, Jive hopes to succeed by making enterprise-class social-business software its core focus, rather than a fringe product to be bolted on somewhere on the edge. Here's how the company defines the new category it is seeking to lead:

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"Social Business is the new way to engage employees, customers and the social web," Jive's announcements say. "Social Business Software (SBS) combines the power of community software, collaboration software, social networking software, and social media monitoring offerings into an integrated suite. Just as social technologies have changed our personal lives, Social Business is changing how enterprises create competitive advantage... . Analysts project that the Social Business Software market is growing in excess of 25 percent per year and will reach nearly $5 billion by 2013."

And here's how Jive is looking to claim that leadership role through its partnerships with Twitter, Google, and CSC:

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