Jive refines corporate social networking tools

Jive SBS 3.0 suite of corporate social networking tools is tailored for employee collaboration or brainstorming that pulls together internal and external users

Jive Software next week will ship a suite of corporate social networking tools tailored for various activities such as employee collaboration or brainstorming that will pull together both internal and external users.

Slideshow: Where IT pros do their social networking

Jive Social Business Software (SBS) 3.0, is the latest iteration -- and renaming -- of the company's well-known Clearspace social networking tools. Jive, however, has sharpened the focus by crafting the tools around four "centers" -- employee engagement; marketing and sales; customer support; and innovation.

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The company is attempting to capitalize on software it first introduced in 2007 and has developed as a legitimate alternative to bigger platforms for corporate social networking from Microsoft (SharePoint) and IBM (Connections). (Compare collaboration products)

What was an ad hoc platform that required users to bend the tools for their particular use, Jive is now offering a foundation tailored around certain tasks with the flexibility to add other capabilities and build custom applications.

The centers in essence are a set of modules that sit on top of core collaboration capabilities such as discussion, polls, blogs, wiki, documents and workflow. Specific centers also feature unique tools. For example, the innovation center includes a plug-in for voting.

The chief addition to the platform, however, is a technology called bridging, which allows companies to blend internally and externally generated content.

"Companies are asking can we make these conversations more visible and more transparent," said Mike Gotta, an analyst with the Burton Group. "They want to know how to get employees, partners and customers to connect."

Gotta says the idea of templates, customization and adding vertical capability is not new in the software world, but that it is new to social and community platforms. But he says social networking tools have to go in a lateral direction by offering more integration with existing systems using APIs or REST in order to get information from social sites into other applications, and the tools have to offer more analytics on the information collected.

To those points, Jive has beefed up the analytics in SBS 3.0 to help users understand what is happening in their social networking communities and what changes are occurring. In addition, they can now plug that information into business intelligence systems.

The platform's Insight module gauges sentiment about a topic and extracts what people are thinking about certain topics. And Jive also has added social bookmarking and video capabilities to SBS 3.0.

SBS 3.0 is priced at $59 per user per year for all four centers or based on the number of page views for public facing social networking site. The centers can be purchased separately.

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This story, "Jive refines corporate social networking tools" was originally published by Network World.

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