Tag Archives: jive

Building a Business Case for Social Business Software via @JiveSoftware #socbiz

Back in a previous life I was asked to take on two projects, an “intranet” upgrade and an “customer portal” – the requirements for both were lose and the intranet upgrade seemed fairly obvious, just upgrade from SharePoint MOSS 2007 to 2010 (or 2013 depending on timing).  For the customer portal project I partnered with the Director of Marketing to define the scope of the project and determine what our constraints might be – budget and executive buy in where the two biggest concerns which was odd to me since the CEO asked for the customer portal in the first place.  As we started down this path I quickly realized what people wanted in an intranet, and what we wanted to provide to our customers had almost the exact same requirements – the projects converged and the rest, well we got acquired so the project never launched but I met a great company called Jive Software and the rest of this article was information provided at their Jive Road Show from the spring of 2012 to help build a business case for Social Business (or Social Enterprise) software.

  1. Okay so I didn’t agree with their number 1 – the first order of business is to learn what “social” means to different people in your company.  Once you have this understanding, develop training – one on one, department or for the entire company about what being “social” means in today’s digital world.  Everyone needs to be on the same page or your project won’t get off the ground.  “We are already a social business” said one executive who sat in his office all day behind closed doors – made my skin crawl, he wasn’t even social in the sense of talking to people never mind how to be social in a digital format.
  2. (This is where Jive started) Align the social business initiative to your companies critical business initiatives – this is an important step so you can align the cost of the project to actual initiatives for the business, in our case it was creating a customer portal, increasing sales and improving the customer experience.
  3. Gain strong executive (and Finance) sponsorship – obvious but critical for any project.  Get as much money in the bank as possible – I had CEO and CFO approval, and a free 6 month pilot lined up and it still got denied (but we were also in the process of getting acquired)
  4. Select the right initial groups and engage key people early – This is why I added my own number 1 requirement – it may be difficult to know WHO the right/key people are with, well, being social!  I opted to ask the entire company for volunteers and created a team of 20 people to tell me what they wanted, what would help them in their day to day job and with their customers (be it internal or external).  If you know of someone who is completely opposed, thinks that “social is for kids” get them in on the project early – your biggest opponent can quickly become your biggest proponent (proponent…is that a word?  meh)
  5. Mindfully model and mentor through content and interaction seeding – social enterprise is all about engagement.  If your not using the software, not having conversations, sharing information it will just become a document management system, or that system you wasted the companies money on!  Help people start conversations and discussions, maybe start with how it can be leveraged within just groups or departments and then show how it can span the entire company.
  6. Design and build for engagement – provide guidance and examples for people to model their usage after until they are comfortable with the platform, at which point it will start to be natural and the growth/engagement organic.
  7. Communicate bottom up and top down – short version – everyone needs to be engaged on the platform.  If the CEO is not listening, its not working.  A platform like this can generate so much great information for the business leaders to act on.
  8. Measure – take baselines, before and after the project launches.  Know what you business initiatives were (item 2) and know how those performed both before and after you go live.  Is employee satisfaction up?  Customer retention up?  Having these metrics will continue to provide proof that transforming your business into a social business matters.
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Jive software acquires meetings.io

I am a huge fan of Jive and have also been keeping an eye on several up and coming web conferencing / meeting services – one of which was Meetings.io.  Meetings.io announced yesterday that they were acquired by Jive – now two of my favorite products will become one.  I was glad to read that Meetings.io will continue to be developed and supported as not everyone I work with is a Jive customer, but also look forward to the Meetings.io technology being integrated into Jive (Google+ Hangout type feature?) to make that platform even more collaborative in the Enterprise Social space.

Another interesting use case this expands for Jive is as a learning environment, rather than a traditional LMS you can now use (you can read more about Jive for an LMS here an https://community.jivesoftware.com/docs/DOC-61859)

Enterprise Social Media Platform Evaluations

Recently IDC released their rankings of enterprise social media / social enterprise platforms, and it was clearly Gartner like in its pay for rankings play (I used to work for IDG so maybe I believed IDC was better than that).  Having recently gone through an extensive search for such a platform I thought I would share my insights on the various platforms we considered.  No vendor has paid for anything stated in this article nor do I have any affiliations with any of the vendors (unless you count my VCP5-DV certification with VMware as an affiliation with SocialCast).  Furthermore, I did not look at company size, revenue or any other means of measurement outside of features, innovation and user experience.

Ranking Enterprise Social Platforms based on a recent effort I lead within my company.

There were 4 vendors clearly head and shoulders above the rest – Jive, MangoApps, Yammer and SocialCast in that order.  Jive, from the features we were looking at, the innovation in their new products and the user experience delivered were what I would expect from such a platform.  MangoApps is a close second, their latest version is extremely impressive and anyone looking at Jive, Yammer or SocialCast should put MangoApps on your radar now.  SocialCast and Yammer round out the top 4, with a slight edge to Yammer in terms of features.  One concern I have with both is their ability to innovate given that they are owned by much larger companies (with a slight edge to SocialCast/VMware in terms of being able to innovate new solutions).

After that there is a pretty major fall off to the next tier with only SAP Jam (really a SuccessFactors product) nearing the leaders quadrant.  Other major players hovering between niche and major players are SalesForce Chatter, WebEx Social (aka Cisco Quad), SharePoint and SocialText.  I almost left WebEx Social off the list since, best I can tell, its still vaporware but since Cisco Quad actually existed I will give them the benefit of the doubt since I was impressed with the demos I saw.  Microsoft needs to realize quickly that Yammer is the front end that SharePoint should have always had and create a compelling cost benefit for SharePoint customers to adopt it or simply lay it on top of SharePoint now and continue to sell Yammer to companies who don’t want/need SharePoint in the background.

There are several other niche platforms that might provide you with some new features/functionality that you do not have in your corporate intranet today but are lacking in terms of features or user experience and don’t bring anything new to the table that isn’t copied by the others in front of them.  Also, there are still a few old school players who bring basic profiles and forums but I don’t live in 2002 anymore – I want more than forums and glossy icons.

Time won’t permit me to get deep into a hands on review with each of these platforms but am certainly willing to speak with anyone who is working on a similar project to share my views and experiences in more detail.

The business case for the social enterprise – step 1A and 1B

I had an interesting discussion about the “Consumerization of IT” and how it is much much more than just BYOD.  Consumerization of IT, while inclusive of BYOD, is also the expectation on consumer like user experiences in enterprise applications.  Enterprise applications that have focused on UX are the leaders in their industry.  Look no further than Microsoft’s acquisition of Yammer – and Yammer isn’t even the best but Microsoft recognized that SharePoint did not match the experience we have as consumers on platforms like Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

I have been involved in implementing ‘communities’ for both internal and customer facing purposes as far back as 2004 why MySpace ruled the world and there are 2 critical steps to ensuring you have success in starting your project.  First, identify clear use cases and needs across the entire organization or function where you are looking to implement this solution.  You should always tie these to business initiatives as well – for example ‘increasing customer engagement’ or ‘increasing sales by n’ since these platforms can have positives effects in both areas.

The next step I feel is important, really more of a 1B than a 2 (and can argue with myself as to whether this should be 1A) is secure budget early.  For as many successful implementations I have seen, I have seen just as many never launch even though you did step 1A flawlessly because we were never going to get finance to sign the check.  Make sure you have a clear dollar amount, approved by your highest level finance person and the CEO.  Money can always disapeer, but make sure you have  a clear understanding with your execs on this project moving forward.

Why you need a Social Enterprise platform

Social networking is more than tweets and likes, its more than just blogs, wikis and user profiles.  Yes, those things are all tools that help achieve “social” but it is ultimately about an experience, a feeling you can give your employees to feel empowered (you know those people you hired that are experts at anything from marketing, customer service, finance or IT) to be more productive, to work better across functional and geographic teams.  I have spent months researching these platforms and there is none better than Jive (www.jivesoftware.com / http://www.jiveon.com), though MangoSpring appears a pretty good second.  Culture matters to people, being able to connect, share ideas, ask questions and for help beyond just the teams or cube mates they know.  If you don’t have any plans to implement an enterprise social platform to replace (or at the very least greatly enhance) your companies intranet you should start looking now.