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Jive Financials Show Social Software Momentum

Following IPO, Jive reports a bigger loss but also bigger deals--and a new user self-provisioning cloud option on the horizon.
Jive already uses the buzzwords "public cloud" and "private cloud" in references to hosted and on-premises deployment of its products, but its technology is not as cloud-centric as that of competitors like Yammer and Salesforce.com. In a pure software as a service cloud computing model, software providers sign up new customers more or less instantly, creating new accounts from a pool of servers that are all running the same version of the software.

Jive's current hosting model requires more individualized setup, and even some of the customers who have Jive host the software continue to run a 4.x version of the software, rather than moving to the Jive 5 edition of the platform released last summer. One current customer of Jive's hosted offering said her company likes it that way--and would be unlikely to switch to a pure cloud version with automatic upgrades. "We never take the dot-zero release of these things," she said.

Zingale emphasized he believes his company has an advantage for winning large enterprise accounts over competitors that only offer public cloud software. However, he expects Project Thunder to improve sales by making it easier for potential customers to try the platform before they buy. Most customers already start with some sort of pilot project, whether on premises or hosted in a temporary "sandbox" trial environment, he said, but self-provisioning will streamline that process. At the same time, allowing existing customers to expand their deployments by self-provisioning user seats and software modules will allow Jive to increase its revenue from each account, he said.

CFO Bryan LeBlanc said Project Thunder could also provide a migration path to the cloud for smaller customers using the discontinued Jive Express version of the platform. LeBlanc said Jive has seen some attrition of those smaller customers, which it expects to continue in the coming quarters, although the effect on revenue will be "almost insignificant" compared with the bigger deals Jive is closing.

Jive makes software for both internal enterprise social networking and external customer or partner communities. LeBlanc said 59% of the new customer wins are focused on internal deployments. Those deals typically take longer to negotiate, compared with the more established external applications bought by marketing departments, he said. The internal deals require more negotiation with business and IT leaders, but their dollar value also tends to be higher, LeBlanc said.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard

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