Jive Updates Social Media Platform

The Jive 5 release adds an Apps Market, Microsoft Outlook and Office integration, and a revamped interface to help identify "hidden expertise" within an organization.
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Jive Software announced the Jive 5 release of its social software Tuesday, including a Jive Apps Market and a new "What Matters" user interface designed to pull together each user's most relevant content and contacts.

Jive What Matters is built around a recommendation engine enhanced with contributions from the acquisition of Proximal Labs, a developer of big data analytics software aimed at analyzing social connections and behavior to predict useful connections and identify "hidden expertise" within an organization. With this week's acquisition of OffiSync, Jive will add some of those same social capabilities into Microsoft Outlook and collaboration on Microsoft Office documents.

Jive 5 will be generally available at the end of the second quarter, the company said, and the integration with Outlook based on OffiSync technology will follow in the third quarter. Jive CEO Tony Zingale said OffiSync will help reach "the last bastion" of Outlook loyalists who have not been convinced to switch to new modes of collaboration outside of email.

The Jive Apps Market gives third-party developers an express route to integration with its platform, based on a software developer's kit based on the OpenSocial application programming interfaces. Jive said it has more than 100 developers participating so far, and cloud software companies such as Appirio, Box, Gliffy, Lingotek, RoundPegg, Rypple, SalesCrunch, SlideRocket, SurveyGizmo and Tungle were are featured as launch partners for the market.

The Jive 5 announcement came at a customer event in San Francisco, which was also an occasion for Zingale to do a little boasting about the company's success and celebrate the expansion of Jive's work with SAP, which hosts public, private, and employee communities on Jive's software.

Zingale noted that his company is ranked as a leader in three Gartner Magic Quadrant rankings for different sectors within social software, including social software for the workplace, social software for external communities, and social CRM. "It's very challenging to be the leader in all three, but we work hard at it," he said.

Gartner Research Director Chris Fletcher did not talk about Jive specifically in his time on stage at the event, but he said repeatedly that he believes "social software will be the next big thing in enterprise applications." While social software won't displace other important categories like ERP and CRM, "it will fundamentally change the way we interact with each other, with applications, and with our customers," he said.

Reflecting his firm's high ranking for Jive, with its broad suite of social software, Fletcher said he has been warning enterprise technologists against adopting "point solutions for points of pain" that fail to encompass the spectrum of public and private social interactions a company must manage.

Zingale was also able to point with pride to Jive's relationship with SAP--a customer he once feared might become a competitor. "They clearly could have done this themselves--they chose not to," he said.

On the contrary, SAP is in the midst of a consolidation of the social software it uses internally and externally around the Jive platform, said Mark Yolton, senior VP of the SAP Community Network. Yolton said SAP has been using Jive software since 2003, initially to support discussion forums for SAP customers--a community that now has 2.5 million members. SAP has also built a series of "gated communities" for more private collaborations with customers and partners, and 40,000 out of 50,000 SAP employees participate in an internal community that also incorporates Jive's software.

At the time the SAP customer network was launched, Jive provided discussion forum software but had not yet built or acquired the range of software it has today, Yolton said. As a result, SAP had to piece together software from many sources. Late last year, he and his team decided that composite platform had become too difficult to manage and maintain and needed to be replaced with a single system.

"We reached that decision point, we decide Jive," Yolton said, and the SAP team is now in the middle of a massive conversion to the Jive platform.

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