Jive Software has released an add-on to its ESN (enterprise social networking) software that automates and simplifies the process of integrating Jive's suite with third-party systems.
The add-on is based on technology Jive acquired when it bought a company called StreamOnce. At launch, the StreamOnce add-on links Jive's ESN suite with the Gmail and Microsoft Exchange email servers and with the DropBox cloud storage app.
[ Discover what's new in business applications with InfoWorld's Technology: Applications newsletter. ]
Later on, it will integrate Jive's product with ERP (enterprise resource planning) and CRM (customer relationship management) software from vendors including Oracle, NetSuite, Salesforce.com, SAP, and SugarCRM. The StreamOnce add-on is available now. Jive officials declined to say how much it costs.
Prior to acquiring StreamOnce, Jive had made custom integrations between its software and several third-party products, including Microsoft's SharePoint collaboration server, Microsoft's Outlook email client, the Box cloud storage and file sharing app and Salesforce.com's Chatter ESN product. Jive also provides a set of APIs (application programming interfaces) that external developers can use to create bridges between their applications and Jive's software.
However, the acquisition of StreamOnce was prompted by Jive's belief that it's crucial at this point for ESN software, such as its own, to be easily and deeply integrated with customers' business applications. That way, people can use Jive as their primary collaboration "hub" which is connected with their work applications.
Above all, a product like Jive's can't exist as a stand-alone tool, said Tim Zonca, the company's senior director of product marketing. "Social software isn't a destination," he said. "People shouldn't have to be tab-hopping among applications. We want to provide a cohesive experience."
ESN suites like Jive's offer users a set of social media tools adapted for workplace collaboration, including employee profiles, activity streams, wikis, discussion groups, microblogging, tagging, comments and document sharing. However, recent studies from several IT research firms have found that often these tools don't generate the necessary engagement level among end users. When this happens, these products fail at their core and basic mission of improving and increasing communication and collaboration among employees.
For example, in an ominous prediction, Gartner recently said that through 2015, a staggering 80 percent of social business efforts will fail to achieve their intended benefits, due to what the company called "inadequate leadership and an overemphasis on technology."
Unsurprisingly, ESN vendors are heeding the warnings and boosting their efforts to make their products easier to integrate with third-party business applications. Their goal is to make it easy for end users to tap the social collaboration capabilities that their ESN tools provide within the context of the software they use most frequently at work.
Despite the challenges and growing pains, ESN software is hot. In June of last year, IDC forecast that between 2011 and 2016 the compound annual growth rate for enterprise social software will hit 42.4 percent, taking spending from US$767.4 million in 2011 to almost $4.5 billion in 2016.
Meanwhile, Gartner predicted that by 2016, 50 percent of large organizations will have internal enterprise social networks, of which 30 percent will be considered "as essential as email and telephones are today."
Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.