Jive Software will begin to deliver later this quarter new modules to link its flagship Social Business Software (SBS) enterprise social-networking product with leading content management systems (CMS) from other vendors.
The goal is to let organizations use SBS to collaborate on documents stored in their CMS repositories. Jive says SBS offers a more appropriate and efficient environment for employees to brainstorm, plan and discuss documents than does the typical CMS interface.
"A marketer may want to pull a customer list out of a CMS system and talk about the customers that have been added in the last quarter to devise a marketing plan," said Ben Kiker, Jive Software's chief marketing officer.
"That conversation usually happens through e-mail today, because CMS products don't provide the space for rich discussions that we do inside of Jive SBS. E-mail is a terrible collaboration tool," he said.
Like other enterprise social-networking products, Jive SBS provides online collaborative spaces where people can jointly annotate and edit documents, post comments and receive automated alerts about colleagues' actions.
With the new Jive Connects, Jive Software wants to bridge the gap between SBS and leading CMS products, starting with Microsoft's SharePoint, whose module is due this quarter. Jive Software expects to release other modules in the first half of next year for CMS products from vendors such as Documentum, Kiker said.
Jive Software's SharePoint module will let users search SharePoint documents and collaborate on the documents within SBS. The module will also generate alerts about modifications and actions performed on SharePoint documents that are being collaborated on within SBS.
Users will also be able to store content that was created in SBS within SharePoint. The module also contains IT administrator features to manage access to SharePoint documents.
With the SharePoint module, Jive Software will run directly into competition with NewsGator, whose Social Sites product has been designed specifically to provide an enterprise social-networking complement to the Microsoft product.
Recently, Spigit created a version of its innovation management software for SharePoint, bringing to the Microsoft product capabilities for employees to submit, discuss and evaluate ideas for business projects.
"The strategy isn't new. Other vendors have tried to create social layers on top of SharePoint, like NewsGator, Telligent and other smaller software companies," said Larry Hawes, an analyst at The Gilbane Group.
Considering that until now, SBS hasn't had a strong connection to SharePoint, Jive's decision to build the first connector module for SharePoint can be interpreted as a testament to the Microsoft product's strong market share, he said.
"It's an interesting play for Jive, which wants employees to spend as much time as possible in their platform and make SBS the place where users do their work. This connector strategy is a very interesting way to do this," Hawes said.
Jive SBS users also stand to benefit if the CMS connectors help them break down content silos in their organizations and improve on how employees collaborate on these documents, he said.
CMS products are good for capturing content and managing it through its lifecycle, to make sure, for example, that it goes through a review process before it's published and that it's properly archived or disposed of, he said. However, CMS software generally isn't designed to place content in business process contexts, where employees read, digest and collaborate on that content, according to Hawes.