Jive Talking About Social Networking, Project Management

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-04-07

Jive Talking About Social Networking, Project Management

Jive Software launched a new version of its social collaboration platform, fortifying its social networking tools, adding project management utilities and blending on-premise with software as a service features.

Released April 7, Clearspace 2.0 features expanded user profiles to make it easier to connect with colleagues and understand organizational relationships. The Portland, Ore., company said it created the tools because customers mentioned that they love the connectivity presence in Facebook.

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Clearspace 1.0 had profiles, but version 2.0 adds the ability to learn about members of the service just by mousing over anyone's profile, anywhere at any time with the application, said Sam Lawrence, chief marketing and strategy officer for Jive. Users can see the member's name, affiliation, location and their status without clicking the mouse.

IDC analyst Rachel Happe said such features show Jive's evolution from being a social application to a social networking application. This adds immense value in that only through social networking that can people use trusted relationships to filter and prioritize the information they consume, a crucial detail in a world of information overload.

Jive banks $15 million in funding; click here to read more.

"I am much more likely to read something that one of my colleagues (who I'm connected to because of similar work interests but they may be in a different department or in a different country) is reading and responding to," Happe told eWEEK. "The trusted filtering adds enormous benefits."

Moves and mirrors in the cloud

Jive has also created project management tools to improve collaboration among several workgroups by centralizing conversations, goals, milestones and tasks. These tools, something that analysts are calling for in most collaboration platforms, apply to any field.

"If I'm setting up a project and I'm a design-oriented person, all I'd need to do is create a project, and I can upload pictures or add widgets and drawing materials for the people that will be working on it," Lawrence said. "If I'm an engineer and I'm very task-oriented and I need timelines and milestones and a calendar, I can set that up to."

A Holding Space in the Cloud

In the course of offering Clearspace as an on-premise solution, Lawrence said Jive realized that some customers had to e-mail an article or document to partners who didn't use Clearspace, meaning they had to move content from their Clearspace wiki outside the firewall.

To assuage this pain point, Jive is now letting users securely share documents with partners and customers outside the firewall through a hybrid on-premise/SAAS tool powered by the XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol), which is used by Twitter and Jive's own OpenFire and Spark chat platforms.

Documents are moved and mirrored in a temporary holding space in the cloud, where external users who don't even use the Clearspace application can make changes.

IDC's Happe said the ability to expose a piece of content to someone outside the company firewall is valuable because it allows, for example, a marketing director to share a project with a contractor or agency without having to keep track of it via e-mail.

Jotlet calendar sync acquired

Jive on April 4 also acquired Texas-based Jotlet, essentially to add the startup's calendaring technology to the Clearspace platform. Jotlet offers a calendar API, allowing programmers to synchronize Jotlet with calendars from Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar, meeting one of users' major requirements.

Finally, Clearspace 2.0 integrates with Microsoft's popular SharePoint platform to allow users to publish content to and access files from SharePoint servers.

With Clearspace 2.0, Jive expects to have a banner year in 2008, eclipsing even the success of 2007, when it added nearly 800 customers and boosted sales 325 percent as enterprises began to warm to social collaboration. Jive customers include EMC, John Deere and Sony Electronics.

Jive's Clearspace competes with SharePoint, as well as Google Apps and wiki solutions from Jive, Atlassian Software and SixApart. With the new features, the company is moving closer to SharePoint in terms of completeness of features.

Indeed, Google Apps does not boast project management or blended on-premise and SAAS tools, while the wiki providers are limited in scope.

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