Jive broadens reach of its social business platform

New features let users spawn collaboration threads from third-party sites and app-specific files

Smartphones and tablets tend to dominate discussions about the consumerization of IT, but social networking services such as Facebook and Google+ also influence the ways users go about their daily business. Beyond providing a platform for friends to discuss silly cat videos, debate a New York Times op-ed, plan a surprise party, or play mindless farming games, there is an emerging breed of social business offerings that give users a place to discuss sales opportunities, debate marketing strategies, plan companywide technology rollouts, and actively collaborate on documents through any number of apps and services.

In an effort to strengthen its position in the social business space against rivals such as Yammer, Jive today announced a significant upgrade to its collaboration platform, including several new features that extend the platform's reach to and integration with internal and third-party websites and services.

Among Jive's new features is Jive Anywhere, which enables users to access social functions from any website or application. It's similar in concept to buttons on third-party sites for sharing, say, an article or video to Facebook or Google+ -- but in this case a user could, with a click, share anything within a Jive thread with select peers. That could be a spreadsheet in Google+ or an article on Forbes.com -- anything with a URL. The idea is to give interested parties a means of easily joining and participating in discussions in a single location about a specific topic, with an active link to the pertinent information.

Jive also unveiled a new feature called Jive !App Experiences, which brings even tighter integration between Jive and select applications. The idea is, you can use the exclamation point as a tag to pull up a specific file or image from an application. It's similar to the @ tag on Facebook, where in a comment or status update, you type @ followed by the name of a specific person or group; your comment will then include a link to the person's or group's Facebook page.

With !App Experiences, you can call up specific files in a Jive thread from a host of supported apps with the same simplicity as the @ on Facebook. For example, you could start a Jive thread and type "Which materials should I send to !Company Q?" When you start typing the !, a small popup would appear from which you could call up Company Q's Salesforce.com record.

With the ! function, a user also could call up files and folders for Box; inject tasks from Goshido; pull in account information from SugarCRM; launch video and chat via INXPO; insert diagrams via LucidChart; and present task and project information via Wrike. Down the road, Jive will release an SDK that enables companies to create integrations between Jive and whatever apps they choose.

Also new: Jive has souped up its Jive What Matters activity streams. Users can now customize streams focused on specific processes or people, making it easier to track specific projects in a single feed.

This story, "Jive broadens reach of its social business platform," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.