In our market update last year, Carl Potter and I described Jive Social Business Software (SBS) as: “A good set of tools in a range of packagings…[with] some large installations, mainly in North America and Europe”.
Conversations since then with Simon Lappin, Jive Software’s UK Country Manager, have put flesh on those bones.
The basic details of the Jive offering can be seen in this diagram, which is based on an original from Jive Software. It refers to version 4.5 of SBS, the current main release. Version 5.0 is expected soon.
(Click on the diagram to see it larger; “Back” to return here. Alternatively, right-click and select a new tab or new window.)
Layer 1 is the backbone of SBS, which Jive refers to as its Engage Platform. It is based on Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE), and offers a comprehensive set of tools for users and system managers. These run either on a user organisation’s servers, which can be clustered, or as a cloud-based service called Jive Express.
For ‘on premises’ use, SBS will run on any of four Unixes. It can also use a variety of databases, on which it stores all data, although not every database can support all the SBS tools. Any of the main Web browsers can act as a client, as can some mobile devices.
Layer 2 is a set of connectors, which allow integration between SBS and other corporate software, including Microsoft SharePoint and Office Communications Server, as well as Microsoft Office. Jive is looking into connecting with the new Lync Server, which replaces OCS.
SBS can also connect to Lotus Sametime and Ignite Openfire. (Ignite Realtime is a Jive-owned supplier of open source instant messaging products.) There is a Connects API that allows developers to integrate SBS with corporate systems for CRM, CMS, ERP and so on.
Layer 3 of SBS consists of optional modules, some of them user-summonable.
In alphabetical order:
- Analytics. This is based on SAP’s BI OnDemand. It lets users make statistical analyses of community-specific content, either internal or external
- Community Discovery uses natural language processing to analyse external discussions by engagement (the popularity of a topic) and sentiment (the general feeling about it)
- Ideation helps groups collect, consider and vote on ideas that arise internally or from outside the organisation
- Instant Microsoft Office Connector allows users to collaborate on MS Office documents and manage versions without having to leave SBS
- Mobile gives access to Jive SBS for users of advanced mobile telephones
- Social Media Engagement (formerly Market Engagement) helps user organisations convert the results of monitoring the public Web into actions for their sales and support teams. It uses tools from Filtrbox, which Jive bought in January 2010
- Video converts incoming video streams to a single format and puts them into user-controlled libraries, with tags.
The analysis tools can work together or separately.
Jive Apps Market
In June 2010, Jive Software announced the creation of its Apps Market. Like similar schemes for other companies’ products and services, its purpose is to make it easy for end users to discover or track down new parcels of function. The other aim, again as normal, is to make Jive SBS a more attractive target for software producers.
Apps Market will be part of SBS 5.0. Figuratively speaking, it sits above the Engage Platform. There are already 100 developers signed up to it.
The current version of SBS incorporates Jive Widget Studio, a stepping stone to the full apps market feature. This also is designed for use by employees and is based in part on the Google-inspired OpenSocial set of APIs. (Jive Express appears in Google’s own Apps Marketplace.)
The user front and centre
Jive also announced Jive What Matters in June. This, too, will be part of SBS 5.0. These tools manage what each user sees, according to its likely interest to him or her. There are two elements — Jive Chatter Filter and Jive Genius.
Chatter Filter is a variety-reduction tool that sieves out irrelevant material according to what it knows about a user’s likes and behaviour. It will have plenty to work on, as Jive is one of several companies that have access to the entire content of Twitter as it comes gushing out its “Firehose”.
Jive calls Genius its recommendation engine. It organises the sifted material from Chatter Filter and elsewhere, giving priority to the most relevant and important inputs.
Christopher Morace, Senior Vice-President of Products at Jive Software, says the aim of Jive What Matters is to put the user at the centre of his or her own information universe:
Everything you need, or at least everything that matters, should find you.
It’s a noble ambition.