Jive has been around since 2001 but until 2007 it was primarily about real time communication. It was around this time that technology started shifting and the market became more interested in social media style collaboration.
It was around this time that Morace joined, introduced by Sequoia, which had been responsible for the company’s first round of external investment.“We would like to be the platform businesses use to collaborate with each other, their customers and their partners,” explained Morace. Jive believes there is a cycle going on in which businesses will start to replace the way they communicate rather than simply add functions to their existing structures. “We’re excited to be a part of that,” he says.
Elephant in the room
OK, but the social media-alike communications infrastructure that works between companies has a name, doesn’t it – and that name is Yammer, currently owned by Microsoft. At least, that’s the point we put to Morace to see what he thought. “Microsoft is one of our big competitors because they’re what’s being replaced,” he said. “People have billions of dollars worth of the old stuff , Outlook, Sharepoint, all these pieces; as things move forward that’s being replaced with Yammer, Office 365 and so on and it’s up for grabs.”
The shift, he believed, will help Jive. “Up until now we’ve seen a lot of experimenting going on but we’re now seeing a lot of sincere customers wanting to move,” he said. “So for a social network like Yammer we can see value in email going social, but a lot of that value is going to come from a mobile interface, not something on your desktop.”
To make Jive a player in this area it will focus on five areas: customer channel, customer service, social network which is getting mobile, strategic communications between executives and collaboration, involving keeping conversations recorded and in context. The tour of duty now is becoming shorter and shorter for employees, he suggests, so part of Jive’s task is to leave the knowledge an ex-employee leaves behind accessible. As well as employees moving on there is the issue of associates with portfolio careers, who may have a number of touch points with an organization as they progress. “It’s imperative to have technology in place that keeps all those conversations accessible and in context, and what’s really exciting about the social network is that it becomes a business directory – as long as you’re associated with someone they should be able to find you in a meaningful way.”