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Collaboration vendor Jive aims for app adoption without pestering IT

In a move to expand functionality and allow for simpler adoption of its market-leading enterprise social collaboration offerings, Jive Software has released a series of new updates that go live Wednesday.

Jive is a pure-play collaboration service aimed at creating either internally or public-facing social networks for enterprises. The applications are delivered either on-premise or through a Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud offering and include a variety of use cases, but center around the idea of a social intranet.

"The last few years have been characterized by early adopters and visionaries implementing social collaboration tools at a large scale," says Nathan Rollins, vice president of product marketing at Jive. "The market is at a point now where we're rapidly shifting from visionaries to mainstream."

BACKGROUND: Desperately seeking the right social enterprise tool 

Traditionally, implementing Jive Software has usually required some level of integration with IT staff. With today's announcements though, Jive is hoping to make it easier for departments within enterprises to have easier access to the software, and create a more ubiquitous social collaboration network across the Internet.

One of the new features, Jive Anywhere, allows point-to-point integration of Jive software with a variety of websites and web applications. For example, if a Jive user visits a website and wants to share it with coworkers, there is now single-click sharing ability directly on the website or application. The Jive software uses APIs or in other cases metadata from the website to support the integration. "It allows the social collaboration to follow the user instead of the user having to go to the social network," Rollins says.

Within the software, Jive has also made advancements that allow for the system to analyze data imported into it and provide more customized information displays and search results. Using technology the company acquired from Proximal Labs last year, it uses Hadoop and other big data analytics tools combined with user history to display tailored activity feeds as part of the Jive Find feature announced today. Rollins says the predictive analytics tools will continue to be developed and the feature sets announced today are just a preview of additional advancements coming down the line.

Larry Hawes, an analyst who tracks enterprise collaboration at Dow Brook Advisory Services, says another interesting announcement is around Jive Teams, which represents a shift by Jive in its customer adoption strategy.

Jive Team is meant to ease the implementation of the software to allow individual departments to deploy the service without a major rollout period, Hawes says. Starting small and working up into an enterprise is exactly the approach that competing social collaboration tool Yammer has taken, Hawes says. "Yammer gets in at the ground level quickly and hopes that it goes viral within the enterprise and spreads," he says. Jive may be looking to capture some of that momentum, while still catering to large-enterprise deployments.

Jive's other feature set advancements, Hawes says, continue on the evolution of the company's services in recent years. "They're clearly trying to become the social layer in the enterprise setting," Hawes says.

So far the company has been successful. After an initial public offering at the end of last year, Jive has consistently rolled out new features, Hawes says. Still though, it's an immature market with loads of competitors such as Yammer, IBM Connections, NewsGator and increasingly, SalesForce.com, all making their own moves as well.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social media. He can be reached at [email protected] and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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