Vendor Profile: Jive

The Intranetizen team are often asked advice about intranet vendors that supply software and hardware solutions to run your intranet. Whilst we have 35 years of blue-chip intranet experience between us, in common with many intranet practitioners, we have relatively limited experience of the 200+ software systems that companies use.

To help you, to help us and to help the vendors themselves, we’re running a series of posts of over this coming week showcasing five intranet companies. We’ve supplied them with the same standard set of questions and will publish their answers in their own words to ensure equity! All the images have been supplied by the company themselves and are reproduced with permission.

Today, we showcase Jive.

In a brief paragraph, who are you?

Hi, I’m John Toker and I’m part of Jive Software’s strategy consulting team. I help customers across EMEA get the most out of their social business initiatives.

Jive is software for collaboration, sharing and connection. It powers internal social networks for employee collaboration, and external communities for customer engagement and support.

Briefly describe your product’s history? Why did you start it, where does it come from?

Jive was founded in 2001 by Bill Lynch and Matt Tucker. We were one of the first providers of collaboration technology in the Web 2.0 community and Jive Forums was one of the most widely used products for threaded discussions and online communities in the technology industry. Some of our earliest customers included the BBC, Apple, Oracle, and Sun among others. Today’s Jive was built using the base code of this product.

Jive is software for collaboration, sharing and connection. It powers internal social networks for employee collaboration, and external communities for customer engagement and support.

Describe your typical customer – what kind of company, what size, what are the kinds of problems they need to solve?

Jive Social Intranet Infographic

Social Intranet Infographic from Jive. Click to enlarge

Our customers come from lots of different industries and they range in size from a few hundred employees through to several hundred thousand so it’s a bit difficult to say we have a ‘typical’ customer. Generally our customers are united in that they are using Jive to change the way they work – from employees working together better, to improving customer service and marketing & sales.

You can hear more from some of our customers here.

What do you see as your product and company’s USP?

We are recognized as the leading independent social business software vendor in three of Gartner’s Magic Quadrants and the Forrester Wave.  See http://www.jivesoftware.com/resources/analyst-coverage

Which feature(s) of your product do your customers rave about most?

We have a wide variety of customers using Jive for different purposes – so the simple answer is it depends. When our customers first use Jive they rave about the simple things like the user experience, or the ability to connect, communicate and collaborate in the ways they’ve always wished they could. Over time they let us know about the great results they achieve.

Which feature(s) of your product do you feel are most under-used?

Being part of Jive’s strategy consulting team I’m bound to say that we’re pretty good at helping customers find and use the appropriate functions and features of Jive! One thing I’d like to see used more is ‘gamification’ – or specifically the introduction of game dynamics to the enterprise – I think it’s still pretty new but if introduced appropriately can really help drive adoption and engagement.

How much customisation does your product typically need / how much to you recommend your customers make?

Jive works out of the box so our customers generally don’t require much customisation. As you might expect, some will need things like single sign on (SSO) or integration with SharePoint, but it’s also possible to get up and running with Jive with no customisation at all.

See for yourself:


What advice would you give a company planning to invest in a new intranet platform? / what are the most important factors to consider?

My personal top three are:

  1. The intranet is a business tool. The team that makes the decision on the choice of platform should be made up of a mix of people from the business with some support from technology – not the other way round.
  2. Link the project to your company’s critical business initiatives – things like being more efficient or increasing revenues. This way you can link the intranet project with a solid business case that shows how you will deliver a return on the investment.
  3. Choose a technology that meets the requirements of your users. A lot of companies have spent years using unintuitive tools that hinder the ability for employees to get their job done – it doesn’t need to be like that. Think about the end users of your intranet, think about their context, their needs, their goals, and what motivates them – then design around them.

What’s your cost model? Free; one-off; per seat per month charging; something else?

Per user, annual subscription.

Who are your main competitors?

According to Gartner, from a ‘social software in the workplace’ perspective, it’s IBM and Microsoft. There are lots of other challengers and niche players but we’re in the all-important leader / visionary quadrant.

What do you need from *your* customers to deliver intranet success?

We want our customers to look at their intranet as a business tool instead of a piece of technology. A new intranet is about people, culture, behaviour and change management as much as it is features, functions and technology.

A key question we need to answer is ‘what does success look like for your intranet?’ Is it enough that usability is improved? Or perhaps it’s enough to feel you are getting value from it? Ideally, we’ll be working together with our customer to define metrics that demonstrate real, measurable business value.

What does the future have in store for your product?

We’ll continue to raise the innovation bar while making enterprise-class social business even easier to deploy and use.

Our next version includes:

  • custom, personalised activity streams
  • advanced gamification
  • secure virtual communities (opening collaboration within your intranet to partners or even customers)

The future will also involve a continued focus on extending our mobile, big data and intelligent recommendations, apps and cloud capabilities.

What does intranet 2015 look like?

I think the intranet of 2015 will be more of an experience than a destination. Employees will interact with the ‘intranet’ in a variety of ways – on web pages, in activity streams, in their email, in desktop apps, in line of business systems, or on their mobile device. It will be seamless, easy and intuitive – but also intelligent, personalized and helpful.

Who should Intranetizen readers speak with to find out more about your product?

There are a few different places to start:

If you want product information, everything is on our website, www.jivesoftware.com

If you want hear what our customers are talking about we have the Jive Community

If you’re ready to give Jive a test drive, you can ‘Try Jive’.

Finally, if you want to hear case studies from customers in person, get hands-on training, speak to Jive experts and partners, the best opportunity to do so happens in October at JiveWorld.

What question should we have asked? And if we had, what would the answer have been?

I guess a timely one might have been – what do you think about the recent acquisition of Yammer by Microsoft?

From Jive’s position, as the leading social business provider, it’s a really positive development. It’s clear validation that social business is now a mainstream market, and a must-have technology for major enterprise solutions providers.

The big question I have though is how are Yammer and Microsoft going integrate? There are going to be obvious, massive technical challenges, but there are also commercial questions and a really big one for me is how do they integrate the businesses culturally? Yammer, the trendy west coast startup just got assimilated by the suits from Redmond. It will be interesting to watch how it all plays out.



We are very grateful for the time taken by Jive to respond to our questions and hope you find their answers informative. The full set of reviews can be found here. We intend to run this series again in 2013 – get in touch with us if you’d like to participate.


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