Archive for May, 2010

I got a new job.

May 17th, 2010

Starting June 1, I’ll be the Jive Communities Program Manager, reporting to Ben Kiker, Jive CMO. For those who’ve been with me from the beginning of my employment with Jive… back to the future, eh?

Instead of part-time-when-I’ve-got-time co-manager of Jivespace, it’ll be my puppy, full time. This means a lot less travel, and a lot more involvement with the thing I love the most – Jive’s community of prospects, customers, and partners.

We have a team of passionate, freaking-smart individuals – both Jivers and customers – who have already been involved in keeping our Jive communities’ fires burning, and I’m excited to work with them all!

More later…

Why SBS systems and intranets are(n’t) merging (yet)

May 12th, 2010

John Tropea recently commented,

Anyway, I always wonder why platforms like SBS are not the Intranet itself eg. Thoughtfarmer.

I have several clients who, in fact, are using Jive SBS as their intranet. Usually, they see SBS as the chance to collapse multiple intranets obtained through acquisitions into a single piazza, or to breathe new life into their traditional intranet, or to make content publishing much easier.

The issue, though, is when Corporate Communications needs to ensure communication delivery to individuals based on their employee type: managers see ABCD, contractors see A, European employees see BC, etc. (Actually, this is also true for more stuff, beyond the Corporate Voice stuff). They want to lock down a portion of the user’s landing page. This is something traditional, portal-based solutions from Days of Yore offer, but typically requires customization in SBS systems, where users have complete control over their landing page.

Another item we run into is that traditional intranets might include application integration in the form of, “hey, let’s put the top 3-5 actions a user is allowed to perform in our ERP/CRM/HRIS/whatever system (e.g., “Modify Customer Record”) and data relevant to the user based on their permissions in that system into a portlet/gadget/web part/widget, so that users can use them directly from the internet, but they can click through to dive into the full application if they need to.”

SBS systems approach this integration from a different angle, namely, “let’s bring all the activity going on in those applications (e.g., “John Tropea modified the Acme, Inc. customer record”) into the stream of activities scrolling by the user’s eyeballs in SBS. They can click through if they want to.” The integration is starting to go the other way, too. When you pop open your CRM/HRIS/ERP/Whatever app, you could start seeing messages such as, “John Tropea linked to this record in a discussion.”

So, what I think will really make SBS systems the eventual de facto intranet, beyond the social business interaction aspect, is when they can deliver directed content based on member type, make it stupid-simple to collect activity streams from other apps based on the user’s permissions and interests, and make it stupid-simple to surface actions and data from other apps, all in a way that makes sense to the user.

That last phrase is the kicker.

Update May 21

I’ve just learned that some have read this post and misinterpreted it to mean that Jive SBS cannot serve the needs of those who do, in fact, need to ensure corporate communications delivery to specific member types, or need to integrate with different enterprise applications. My opinions address the out-of-box functionality of the general category of applications called “social business software”, but I should have known better. Who uses anything out of the box these days (unless it’s an Apple mobile device)?

Rest assured, we have customers who have done both, and more, because Jive is probably one of the most extensible platforms out there.

Jive’s ease of use, platform flexibility, and customer orientation made its focused solution the ideal choice for our Ourspace initiative,” said Wolfgang Jastrowski, Swiss Re IT Director. “The extensible nature of the Jive SBS solution gives us ample flexibility as we continue to build out our platform and its capabilities. We’re especially excited about Jive’s new initiative to surface content and activities from almost any content management system (CMS) inside Jive SBS, making it possible to realize even greater business value through the integration of social media collaboration with content.

~ Jive Social Business Software Improves Responsiveness and Productivity at Swiss Re

How to position social business software with other enterprise apps

May 10th, 2010

I routinely assist clients in positioning the use of social business software (SBS) with their other enterprise communication, collaboration, and networking applications and activities. This laundry list usually includes things like:

  • content management systems,
  • team sites,
  • the company intranet, and
  • the employee directory.

I’ve lost count of how many have asked for a Jive SBS vs. SharePoint “best use” comparison chart, for example.

But, more often, SBS systems “compete” with what goes on in:

  • email,
  • instant messaging,
  • conference calls, and
  • face-to-face meetings.

As my friend Roy Wilsker puts it, SBS addresses all the messy collaboration that goes on before some thing becomes a Something.

Or something like that.

So, I ask you to check out this diagram. The intent is to help folks figure out how to use SBS systems most optimally, and in the most complementary fashion with all the other stuff they use. Please, look beyond my obvious lack of graphical artistic talent (I clearly love Skittles), and tell me what’s missing, what’s confusing, what you like, whatever’s on your mind.