As 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.
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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?