Jive Challenges Salesforce.com With Social CRM Software

Jive Software is launching a social CRM software product to compete with Salesforce.com, the latest in what are sure to be several skirmishes between the cloud applications makers.

Jive Software (NASDAQ: JIVE), which has always focused on social collaboration software, is going after Salesforce.com's social customer relationship management (CRM) honey pot.

The newly public company is launching the Jive Social Customer Service Solution to help companies craft engaging CRM strategies that involve social tools. The goals are typical for this type of software product: decreasing costs by deflecting calls, reducing time to call resolution and creating happier customers.

Making customers happier is hard to quantify, yet Jive hopes to do so through a number of components of the customer service product. One includes "gamification," or jazzing up applications with game mechanics to encourage and reward participation. Typical gamification tools include badges or points.

These services will be provided by gamification specialist Bunchball, Christopher Morace, senior vice president of strategy at Jive, told eWEEK.

Jive is also providing a deep hook into Facebook, connecting a brand's Facebook Page with information and conversations that are flooding through the company's customer service database. Salesforce.com offers similar integration between customer brands and Facebook through its Chatter service.

Moreover, Jive's social media monitoring product will let customer service agents gauge conversations popping up about their product or service across Facebook, LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), Twitter and other social services.

This will give clients an idea about what people are saying about their brands. Salesforce.com offers a similar solution culled from its purchase of Radian6.

Like Salesforce.com, Jive is also offering a mobile CRM component, allowing customers and CRM agents to connect via iPhones, iPads, and Android and Blackberry smartphones and tablets. Jive will enable support for Microsoft Windows Phone devices through an HTML5-based mobile Website.

While it might be tempting to think Jive is eschewing Salesforce.com for this CRM product, the company desires to hook into as many popular CRM systems as possible. The Jive social CRM will work with rival CRM systems from Salesforce.com, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and SugarCRM.

The Jive Customer Service Solution isn't fully baked; it's launching to private beta. Morace said the idea is to bring the service to the broader public at the end of the first quarter. Even so, existing Jive customers T-Mobile, EMC (NYSE:EMC) and McAfee are all testing the service.

When the service launches, Jive will set the baseline cost for its CRM solution at $70,000 for an annual license, though that fee will be higher for customers who require higher page-view access for customers.

Don't expect Jive to stop with this new social CRM venture. Morace told eWEEK this was the first of what will be several software releases focused on business applications, a sign the company is ready to branch out from its social collaboration roots.

A Jive talent management play could also be on tap, given the current trends toward cloud human resource management software acquisitions in the market. SAP (NYSE:SAP) acquired SuccessFactors, Salesforce.com grabbed Rypple and Oracle picked up Taleo.