I just returned from an excellent Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston, where I got the chance to hear several Jive customers (and non-customers) share their experiences, insight, and points of view on stages, in pubs, and on a boat. There wasn’t so much as a peep about Salesforce.com’s impending announcement of Chatter. SF wasn’t even at the conference, as far as I could tell. (Jive, Microsoft, IBM, SocialText and other major SBS players were, however.)
Enterprise 2.0 folks seem to be ignoring Salesforce.com’s entry into the social business software space. Is it because many are already down the road with a chosen solution, or have a couple in their sights and are currently deciding which to select? I mean, who’s still waiting around for their vertical vendors to bolt social on?
I talked to a few folks about this, who I cannot quote directly due to legal reasons, and here are three points of view that pretty much sum it up.
Salesforce.com’s bolted-on social features aren’t designed for enterprise-wide networking, innovation, or collaboration.
This gentleman explained how he’s been in IT for 22 years, most of them spent at his global company of 400,000+ employees. He said that, with all of his vertical app vendors – CRM, HRIS, ERP, etc. – adding social features to their toolset, he’d still be faced with the task of stitching them all together before they could “get enough traction with employees across the globe to reach a tipping point. It wouldn’t be of any value otherwise.” That’s why he’s looking at a few of the major SBS players mentioned above, instead.
And, since employees have been used to going into those vertical apps for specific tasks all these years, it would be a farce to think that folks could suddenly shift mental gears from, “I go into CRM to record sales data for sales management tracking and reports” to, “I go into CRM to find experts, collaborate, and innovate the way I work.” And really, even if a mental shift happened, it would only be for those who already use the damn thing. Where’s R&D? Where’s Engineering? Where’s Legal? HR? Professional Services? They’re not in a CRM app.
York Baur, chief marketing officer with the TAS Group, seems to agree.
“What Salesforce is trying to do is encourage conversation among salespeople, whereas what Jive is trying to do is broader,” Baur explained. Specifically, Jive aims “to allow any employee to get filtered information — to let the cream rise out of all this vast amount of communication that takes place.”
Salesforce.com is also skewed toward small to mid-sized companies, whereas Jive is oriented to larger ones, Baur noted.
Chatter is too late to the game.
I asked another gentleman, who’ll be deciding between Jive and a worthy competitor in a few weeks for eventual deployment to about 130,000 world-wide employees, about his take on Chatter. He simply said,
It’s not my fault they’re late to the party. I’m not deploying 1.0 of anything, and I don’t have time to wait for them to mature.
We’ve already got an enterprise-wide social business platform that does what Chatter looks like it will do.
Another gentleman I spoke with works in a regulated industry, in a company of about 45,000 employees, and has full deployments of Jive and SharePoint, and are in the process of deploying Salesforce now. He said that many have asked him about Chatter, saying,
“Can we do what Chatter does in [company branded Jive software platform]?” He tells them, “Yes.” They shrug and return to their social business as usual.
The analysts have related opinions.
Technology is only 20% of any enterprise change, the other 80% is culture, process, roles, and strategy change –key requirements that Salesforce is not equipped to provide.
Since I’ve spent the last 18 months neck-deep in Jive customers’ cultures, processes, roles, and strategy change activities, I can tell you that it’s not a trivial 80%. (Related: See A Peek into EMC’s Social Business Journey by Jamie Pappas, Social Media Strategist at EMC, for a taste of what it takes to change an enterprise.)
Finally, I pinged Mike Gotta, a principal analyst at Gartner with more than 20 years’ experience in this space. He said,
[Chatter] will be good for SalesForce faithful. They think SF discovered fire. Am I missing something?
Nope. Not that I can see.