When was the last time enterprise software was interesting?
For half of you, the answer is “never.” For some it might have been when CRM finally grew up in the late 90s. Others, maybe when email came to work. Remember that? It was around the time when only people on CompuServe accounts could email each other. And it was a consumer app. You’d email with friends. Then everyone started talking about using email at work. Some were excited you could instantly get information from one person to many people. Some were worried email would unleash hell on earth. Regardless, when it came to work, it touched absolutely everyone at the company and changed the way they worked.
When I interviewed at Jive
It was four years ago. I sat across the table from the founders while they explained their vision. They were convinced there would be–yet again–a big change in the way people would work with each other. And they had been at it for four years already, profitably and 100% bootstrapped. They had a forum product, a knowledge base, some open source instant messaging software and this vision. They believed that in the same way the open source community worked together or in the same way people openly worked with each other in Support communities, that all employees within companies would also work in this open, connected way. They had their sites on building the next big enterprise software company, not some built-to-flip startup.
You can imagine, since I go big always, that this was one of the big things that attracted me to Jive.
When Clearspace launched
It was after two years of heavy R&D. I remember calling tons of customers listened to their ideas, gathered requirements, and ultimately did a whole lot of visualizing of what a brand new, game-changing product would be like. In the end, it was a massive bet. Did we leave all our successful, profitable products in the dust and go with something new that didn’t even have a proxy in the market? That decision was made working closely with our customers who even sat through countless user accepting tests to help us arrive at something remarkable. I remember how excited we were when CNET broke the story on the cover of News.com. Clearspace was a massive hit. It attracted a whole new level of customers, employees, partners and ultimately Sequoia who invested in our company . They loved our vision and believed the enterprise software landscape was ready for a change, too.
Today the vision becomes reality
With today’s launch of Jive SBS 3.0, we launch two things: (1) the largest enterprise software category since ERP, CRM, and messaging combined, and (2) a brand new solution that finally brings the vision of uniting customers, partners, and employees together to change the way they work with each other.
With this release, Jive sets the course for the SBS category. You can read all about what’s new from our CEO, Dave Hersh. But let me share some other things that are or will be new (besides our product, company and website):
Ever been to a meeting when the CEO asks for the status of a project, initiative, the temperature of the company, the issues surrounding critical things? Those answers have always been a qualitative and a few people’s perspectives. With the SBS market, once companies have the know-how and the people connected, they can actually measure these things quantitatively. No more opinions, now it’s just facts. Expect a whole new set of management metrics, insight and productivity thanks to SBS.
A social business needs new leadership, not the same old “managers.” Remember when you were the expert? Now you’re not. You’re part of a team. And you should be a good coach. Get ready to be outdated really fast unless you learn new skills.
Social Process and Decisions
Now that SBS is the new inbox and employees are doing their work in it everyday, companies need a new way to make critical decisions and reinvent more effective processes for competitive advantage.
No more hiding behind the success of others. No more hemorrhaging of people know-how when tens of thousands walk out the door (did you see that our government “forgot” how to make Trident missles?). No more taking the credit.
The toothpaste is out of the tube
Don’t believe that SBS is the biggest enterprise category in 15-20 years? No problem. With every new category, there’s always the naysayers. There’s always the other vendors who see it as sprinkles they can pepper their unrelated apps with. These are all the normal ingredients for disruption. Just look into the social web and then into the workplace and you tell me: Is SBS the next big enterprise category?