This week I’ve been at JiveWorld 13 in the inimitable Las Vegas, for the company’s 5th annual customer and partner conference. The first thing that struck me on Wednesday morning (once I’d got over the enormity of the Vegas experience, this being my first visit) was the incredible buzz in the air among the 1,600-odd attendees, and as the event has progressed, it’s been interesting to see and hear the positivity among Jive’s customers (both those presenting and – importantly – those who are not).
The main focus for the keynote sessions – which also included a hilarious and inspiring presentation from Eddie Obeng from Henley Business School – was the forthcoming Jive 7 fall release, which will become available to cloud customers in the next couple of weeks, and then to on-premise customers in December. New features include realtime chat (from Jive’s Meetings.io acquisition), new social task management capabilities (integrating the capabilities from another acquisition, Producteev), and a ramp-up of the profiles capability to improve expertise discovery through skills tags and endorsements. There’s a big theme around integration and partnerships in the current strategy, including new integration with Google Drive for file sharing and management, and the ability to tie in any content management tool. The fall release announcement also formally adds Jive’s new Impact Metrics and Jive Resonata analytics features, although these have technically been available to cloud customers for a few months already. The other major announcement was the launch of JiveX – a cloud-based version of the company’s external communities offering, which includes integration with systems like Salesforce.com and Marketo, as well as gamification and social analytics capabilities to help drive and monitor adoption on a customer or partner community site.
The event also included a large number of customer presentations, both in the keynote sessions and in the various tracks, and many of these were established deployments that had some really valuable insights to share – around deployment processes, the on-going management of the community environment, and how to get executive buy in and demonstrate value from the solution. My personal favourites were Ricoh, which deployed a social intranet as part of a strategy to combine two cultures and sets of processes following an acquisition, UBM, which has been working with gamification from Bunchball to help drive interest and adoption on its Jive platform, and GE, which shared some great experiences around adoption strategies and lessons learnt from its Jive Cloud implementation.
We also got a few fleeting insights into what to expect beyond Jive 7 – including video chat (from Meetings.io again), the move towards Jive becoming a hub for email in addition to social data, and improvements to the web UI, the mobile UI and overall performance of the platform.
All in all, I felt it was a well-organised and valuable event, and one that was very practical and customer-focused, with good opportunities for new customers and prospects to learn from more established Jive user organisations. While Jive is in a strong position in the market, and has a strong sense of how to bring out the best in its customers’ community initiatives, it does face an on-going challenge of how to balance the need to continue to innovate and maintain a sense of constant momentum in terms of new features and functions, with not getting too far ahead of the market in terms of business-readiness for the company’s solutions and capabilities. There’s still plenty of growth opportunity for Jive in this market, but next time I’d like to see a little bit more clarity around the long-term strategy for the company, and where it wants to be in five or so years’ time.
For more on Jive’s social collaboration strategy, see my recent report on Jive.