Jive talking with Matt Tucker

The CTO of Jive Software explains how his cloud-based social business software differs from consumer plays and suits enterprise users

With its latest release, Jive Software can set your organization up and running with social business software as fast as you can say Facebook. Is this a good thing? Do we really want to give enterprise-level companies this ability, given their lack of understanding and abuse of the social media tools they already have? This week I chatted with Matt Tucker, co-founder and CTO, to discuss what's unique about his company's cloud computing strategy, Jive's relationship with Amazon, and Jive's potential as a cloud-only company.

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whurley: What is unique about the cloud computing strategy you're announcing today?

Tucker: We're doing two things today. First, we're releasing Jive Express, a cloud service that lets enterprise business users get up and running with social business software within minutes. There's no waiting for lengthy IT provisioning and setup processes. Departments and cross-company teams have never had such easy access to a collaborative social software product this powerful -- it's the same incredibly rich platform that gets rolled out to tens of thousands employees at Fortune 500 companies.

Second, we're talking about our larger cloud strategy and how this initial release fits in with all the work we're doing. We've used virtualization to drive amazing levels of cost efficiency, enabling a single-tenant architecture that provides maximum security and data isolation. We know that enterprise companies are still in the intial stages of cloud adoption, so we're making it very easy to start in the cloud but then move to on-premise or our more traditional hosted environment as the implementation scales. This hybrid approach is unique, and we believe it's the best approach for enterprise cloud adoption. Jive Express is the first of several cloud offerings you'll see us launch.

whurley: How does the new cloud computing strategy differ from Jive's hosted offerings of the past?

Tucker: By leveraging the cloud and virtualization, we're able to get a new community up and running within minutes and for a low cost. We've also tailored the experience specifically for teams that are just starting with social business software, through features like improved e-mail integration and a success dashboard that makes recommendations about how to improve participation. When customers are ready for all the customizations and deeper integrations provided by the full Jive SBS product, we make it easy to transition from the cloud to our enterprise hosted environment or on-premise.

whurley: Amazon is clearly  a force in cloud computing, so I can see why they would be an obvious partner. Outside of the brand, what does Amazon bring to the table in regards to Jive's new cloud computing strategy?

Tucker: Amazon is the cloud computing leader in terms of security, scale, cost, and features. Using their platform has been a fantastic experience so far. Their virtualization architecture and rich APIs have let us deliver single-tenant security and functionality while approaching multitenant-level efficiency. AWS is also a leader in addressing enterprise cloud needs, which we know will make for a good partnership.

whurley: You have stated "that opportunities and cost efficiencies provided by the cloud are simply too compelling for enterprises to ignore" does this mean Jive SBS is about to become a whole lot cheaper?

Tucker: We believe Jive has always been very cost effective when doing organization-wide rollouts. But it's been harder for individual teams or departments inside of large, global companies to get started with the software due to the initial cost. By leveraging the cloud, we've greatly reduced the price to get up and on an enterprise-class social collaboration platform. Plus, we're making the service free for the first three months for qualified companies.

whurley: You  have a new cloud computing offering coming out tomorrow. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Tucker: Jive Express is a SaaS service that lets companies get up and running with our core SBS platform within minutes. We've done a ton of work to make the experience extremely easy and effective for teams.

whurley: How does this new offering differ from other offerings already in the marketplace?

Tucker: For the first time, it's possible to get the full power of a comprehensive social business software platform, but delivered through the simplicity of the cloud. We're not talking about a simple, multitenant point solution but a comprehensive product that's enterprise proven. Also, unlike other cloud offerings, administrators can have confidence they won't get trapped in the cloud. We make it very easy to migrate to enterprise hosting or on-premise as the implementation scales.

whurley:  Do you think Jive will eventually become a cloud computing-only company?

Tucker: Large organizations will embrace the cloud, but it will be a multiyear process. We'll be there to help companies with the transition in a pragmatic, realistic way. So I expect that cloud will be an ever-growing part of our business -- but I don't expect us to be cloud-only for quite some time.

I have to admit, Matt and I agree on more than I thought.  I like the direction the company is taking, but I'm curious to watch its evolution.  Like Matt said, "it will be a multi-year process" for enterprises to embrace the cloud. I'm going to give him and the Jive team credit for what they've done so far and a little higher regard in the future.