Tag Archives: Jive

Jive Software Announces Management Team Changes

This entry was cross-posted from Meanders: The Dow Brook Blog

Jive Software has just announced that Christopher Morace will become SVP of Business Development. Morace will retain product marketing oversight and responsibility, but step aside from product management duties. He will be replaced as SVP Product Management by Patrick Lin, who is leaving VMware to join Jive.

These changes to the management team are important because they suggest two things:

1. Jive is still moving quickly toward an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and, perhaps, accelerating their pace toward that goal. By creating a new position (SVP of Business Development) and assigning a proven executive team member (Morace) to the post, Jive is signaling that it is making a serious investment in building partner and reseller channels.

Most enterprise software start-ups do not work to build out their channels until they’ve scaled revenue gained through direct sales to a point necessary to successfully make a public offering. By Jive’s own estimates, the direct sales amount necessary to trigger an IPO is $100 Million. Their creation of a new management team role focused on business development is a clear sign that Jive is nearing that IPO trigger revenue target.

2. The hiring of Patrick Lin reflects the increasing importance of cloud delivery to Jive (and all enterprise social software providers) moving forward. Lin, who had been at VMware for just over 6 years, has deep knowledge of infrastructure and application virtualization technologies and practices. His leading-edge experience will help Jive optimize its social business software offerings for private cloud deployment by customers. Lin’s  virtualization management expertise will also guide Jive in any attempt to build a version of the Jive Engagement Platform that can be hosted in a public cloud (Jive already offers and hosts a SaaS version of its platform.)

Lin is a great addition to the Jive team and not only for his virtualization experience. He has served in product management roles at other companies (VERITAS, Invio) prior to his stint at VMware. In addition, has held product marketing (Invio, Intuit) and business development (Katmango, WebTV) roles, which make him a well rounded executive who can contribute to Jive’s success on many terms.

Considered together, the management changes made by Jive today are a strong indicator that the Enterprise Social Software (ESS) market has reached a new level of maturity and that Jive is pushing it forward. The market continues to expand quickly and customer requirements continue to evolve. Other ESS providers should consider initiating or increasing  investments in channel development. They should also realize that cloud deployments of enterprise software will continue to increase and make appropriate changes to virtualize and optimize their offerings.

Today’s announcement makes me wonder if Jive will be ready for an IPO in the first half of 2011, rather than the later dates previously held as conventional wisdom. What do you think?

Is the Acquisition of Jive Software Imminent?

Jive Software’s future has been a topic of discussion after Tony Zingale was appointed interim CEO in late February. Recently, there has been speculation that the company will be acquired soon. Those rumors escalated last Tuesday, when Jive appointed Zingale as its permanent CEO, just 3 months after giving him the title on a temporary basis. But do the rumors of an imminent sale of Jive have any validity? Let’s examine the facts.

Yes, Zingale orchestrated the acquisitions of the last two companies of which he was CEO. In 1999, he was CEO of Clarify when it was acquired by Nortel and, in 2006, he presided over the sale of Mercury Interactive to Hewlett-Packard. Given that past experience, there is a chance that he could engineer the sale of Jive in fairly short order. However, it is noteworthy that Zingale was CEO of Mercury for over 2 years before HP bought it and led Clarify for 3 years prior to its acquisition. This tells me that it is unlikely that Zingale would be able to intentionally sell Jive in his first year as CEO. More time would be needed to get the company’s operating metrics (revenue, profitability, etc.) to where they would need to be to drive a significant acquisition price.

When you factor in Zingale’s 9-year stint as SVP Worldwide Marketing at Cadence Design, the explosive growth that both Mercury and Clarify attained under his leadership, and the fact that he has already invested 2 years in growing Jive as a member of its Board of Directors, it becomes clearer that his experience in building companies is at least as strong as, if not greater than, his proven ability to engineer their purchases. Therefore, I see no conclusive signal in Zingale’s appointment as permanent CEO that he is being given that role to lead the sale of Jive.

Jive also announced on Tuesday that it is moving its headquarters from Portland, OR to Palo Alto, CA. Some immediately interpreted the move to Silicon Valley as an attempt to facilitate the sale of the company by being in the middle of the deal flow. While that is possible, I do not see any hard evidence to support the conclusion. In fact, it is just as likely that Jive is moving to the Valley to enhance its ability to acquire companies as it is that the move is intended to ease its sale. Most importantly, Jive has had some members of its executive team in Palo Alto for several months prior to Zingale’s appointment as temporary CEO, including CMO Ben Kiker and Sr. VP of Products Christopher Morace. Co-Founder Bill Lynch told me last Thursday that Jive had identified the need to expand operations in Palo Alto a year and a half ago. The formal consolidation of Jive’s leadership in Palo Alto simply makes good sense from an operating perspective at this point.

Zingale’s revelation that he would like to grow Jive to a $100M business by the end of this year, and put the company in position for an early 2011 initial public offering, has also fed the acquisition rumor mill. Supposedly, the game is to announce the intent to IPO in order to spur an acquirer into action now. That might work, but as SuccessFactors CFO Bruce Felt pointed out at Altitude2010 last week, there are many benefits to be gained by getting to an IPO as quickly as possible. Chief among those, according to Felt: credibility. That is an attribute sought by an organization that is in it for the long haul, not one that is positioning to sell.

For now, I believe that Zingale is taking a “Built To Last” approach to running Jive Software. That does not mean that he would not sell the company tomorrow if an exceptional offer were made; Bill Lynch admitted as much to me when we spoke. I am not, however, ready to jump to the conclusion that the sale of Jive is imminent, at least not based on the evidence I see now.

Integration of Social Software and Content Management Systems: The Big Picture

jive-sbs-connected-11198Jive Software’s announcement last week of the Jive SharePoint Connector was met with a “so what” reaction by many people. They criticized Jive for not waiting to make the announcement until the SharePoint Connector is actually available later this quarter (even though pre-announcing product is now a fairly common practice in the industry.) Many also viewed this as a late effort by Jive to match existing SharePoint content connectivity found in competitor’s offerings, most notably those of NewsGator, Telligent, Tomoye, Atlassian, Socialtext, and Connectbeam.

Those critics missed the historical context of Jive’s announcement and, therefore, failed to understand its ramifications. Jive’s SharePoint integration announcement is very important because it:

  • underscores the dominance of SharePoint in the marketplace, in terms of deployments as a central content store, forcing all competitors to acknowledge that fact and play nice (provide integration)
  • reinforces the commonly-held opinion that SharePoint’s current social and collaboration tools are too difficult and expensive to deploy, causing organizations to layer third-party solution on top of existing SharePoint deployments
  • is the first of several planned connections from Jive Social Business Software (SBS) to third-party content management systems, meaning that SBS users will eventually be able to find and interact with enterprise content without regard for where it is stored
  • signals Jive’s desire to become the de facto user interface for all knowledge workers in organizations using SBS

The last point is the most important. Jive’s ambition is bigger than just out-selling other social software vendors. The company intends to compete with other enterprise software vendors, particularly with platform players (e.g. IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP), to be the primary productivity system choice of large organizations. Jive wants to position SBS as the knowledge workers’ desktop, and their ability to integrate bi-directionally with third-party enterprise applications will be key to attaining that goal.

Jive’s corporate strategy was revealed in March, when they decreed a new category of enterprise software — Social Business Software. Last week’s announcement of an ECM connector strategy reaffirms that Jive will not be satisfied by merely increasing its Social Media or Enterprise 2.0 software market share. Instead, Jive will seek to dominate its own category that bleeds customers from other enterprise software market spaces.

What Exactly is a Social Business?

In March, Jive Software created a new market category — Social Business Software (see my post on the announcement.) Jive published a manifesto that contains their definition of Social Business.

“The Social Business allows and rewards open conversation between colleagues, partners and customers. It relies on the power of social connections to shape new products and services, and to propel new revenue and earnings growth. It embraces Web 2.0 technology in the form of Social Business Software to enable this critical change.”

Jive’s definition is a good start, but ultimately does not go far enough. It implies organizational, cultural, and technology elements, but does not explicitly invoke all of those terms. Also, there is no mention of business process in the definition.

In June, partners at the Dachis Group began publicly touting Social Business Design as a new category of professional services. The volume was turned up on the concept last week, when Dachis acquired Headshift. Even I noticed the forward momentum, in this post, saying that “It would be difficult to overstate the importance of this action, as it instantly legitimizes social business as a management discipline on a global scale.”

While the Social Business Software and Social Business Design labels have gained increased usage, there is a problem with the common, core component of those phrases — Social Business. A Google query of the term produces a well-established definition that does not even apply to social computing:

Social business is a cause-driven business. In a social business, the investors/owners can gradually recoup the money invested, but cannot take any dividend beyond that point. Purpose of the investment is purely to achieve one or more social objectives through the operation of the company, no personal gain is desired by the investors. The company must cover all costs and make profit, at the same time achieve the social objective, such as, healthcare for the poor, housing for the poor, financial services for the poor, nutrition for malnourished children, providing safe drinking water, introducing renewable energy, etc. in a business way. The impact of the business on people or environment, rather the amount of profit made in a given period measures the success of social business. Sustainability of the company indicates that it is running as a business. The objective of the company is to achieve social goal/s.

If Enterprise 2.0 and Social Media advocates are going to try to hijack the phrase Social Business, there must be a clear, consensus definition in place. Since an adequate definition is currently lacking, despite Jive’s good attempt, I thought I would write one and start a communal process of building something we can all use moving forward.

My working definition of Social Business appears below. Please comment extensively on this, even at the level of specific word changes. Also feel free to invite others to read the definition and comment (directly on the blog please). I will gather and consider all comments, then revise the definition and re-post. Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Social Business: A business philosophy that emphasizes employee trust and autonomy as an alternative to hierarchical command-and-control management. Additionally, the philosophy views customers and business partners as trusted components of the organization, not as external constituents. The philosophy should be supported by appropriate organizational design, culture, business process, and technology strategies and investments. Like any other business philosophy, Social Business produces results consistent with accepted definitions of a viable, on-going business.

Jive Talkin’

jivelogoAs you may already know, Jive Software made a bold move yesterday.  The company simultaneously created a new category in the enterprise software market and rebranded their flagship product.  Details of the announcement may be found in the Jive press release and in the following video.

Jive and its Clearspace enterprise collaboration product have been recognized by several influential industry analysts as leaders and visionaries in what is commonly referred to as the Social Media software category.  Jive’s repositioning underscores their commitment to leading the emerging market for business collaboration software that employs Web 2.0 philosophy and functionality.  The repositioning also implicitly reaffirms the view that this software segment has become muddled by undifferentiated marketing messages from the ever increasing number of vendors trying to stake a claim in the space.

I have never particularly liked the “Social Media” label.  Perhaps it is a sign of my age, but “media” still carries a strong connotation of information (or entertainment) generated by someone else and pushed at me.  Surely others view media as something they can create themselves and release to the Web (or an intranet) where it can be discovered by others.  However, those people are the minority, as the technographic data gathered by Forrester Research clearly shows.  Most workers are passive consumers of information, not true collaborators in the process of creating and sharing it.

The Social Media label is also very restrictive.  It applies well to the Marketing function’s Business-to-Consumer applications of Enterprise 2.0 (E2.0) software, but doesn’t adequately describe intra-business or Business-to-Business use.  While Jive’s new category label — Social Business Software — may not be the best possible phrase, it creates a bigger tent under which all types of business collaboration can be included.  The label also aims to dispel the notion that the use of social software by employees is a time-wasting activity by putting equal emphasis on “social” and “business”.

I applaud Jive Software’s attempt to broaden the market for E2.0 software by creating a new category.  This action should be a catalyst for not only their growth, but for the entire market’s as well.  The new category ultimately may not be seen as the game changing disrupter that Jive’s Chief Market Officer, Sam Lawrence, declares it to be on his blog.  However, the potential is there for Social Business Software to be the next dominant category of enterprise software, following in the footsteps of ERP and CRM.  It will be interesting to watch the results of Jive’s attempt to differentiate itself and broaden the playing field for its flagship product.

What do you think about Jive’s new category label and its potential to disrupt the market for enterprise software?