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Notes from the Road: JiveWorld12

Posted @ 10:46 am by David Kilimnik | Category: Gamification, SolutionSet, Technology | 0 Comments

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Jive Software’s annual conference known as JiveWorld. This is nothing new of course. SolutionSet is Jive’s most experienced implementation partner and, as the lead of this practice, I have attended each JiveWorld since they started doing the conference four years ago. JiveWorld is a big annual event for us; we have tons of our customers in attendance, we spend time with the executive team at Jive, and of course hope to meet prospective clients. It’s also in Las Vegas, which adds the element of, well, . . . Vegas and all of the things that you’d expect with that. This year we had a team of 12 in attendance from SolutionSet. We learned a lot, spent quality time with our customers, made some new friends, and had couple of fun nights that I won’t soon forget.

“Social” is no longer a differentiator

One trend that has become apparent recently is that “social” is no longer a differentiator in enterprise software. Jive Software has built their business on being a pure play social platform and, indeed, they are the market leader in providing a robust, scalable, platform for businesses to build their communities and social networks. Three years ago, this was a revolutionary value proposition and it represented the establishment of a new category of enterprise software. Without a doubt, this category is real and it’s here to stay. In the last twelve months we have seen Jive become a publicly traded company and we have seen Microsoft fork over $1B to acquire Yammer—two major events that cement and validate the role of social software in the marketplace.

However, today saying you are social is a bit like saying you are “web.” Social is an expected and necessary part of just about every enterprise software on the market today. CRM systems have added social features (like SFDC adding Chatter), CMS systems are now social (just about all of the major players have commenting and forums now), and eCommerce systems either have native social features, or easy integrations with review and ratings platforms such as Bazaarvoice.

So for Jive, the pure play social platform, it’s clear that they need a place to go and a way to differentiate and it’s clear that having social features is no longer enough to compete.

Gamification is cool though

Gamification on the other hand, is where “social” was about three years ago. Gamification is the idea of applying game dynamics—competition, incentives, rewards, and status—to business situations. While this idea has been around for a long time in the form of loyalty programs (fly more on an airline to earn more points and special treatment), and office contests (earn extra PTO by losing the most weight of anyone in the office), an industry has formed around it based on the coining of the term “gamification” as well as the emergence of several platform providers who offer gamification as a service. Players like Badgeville, Bunchball, Gigya, CrowdTwist, and others all offer the ability to define users, missions, status levels, point systems, and leaderboards. These are SAAS-based services, which can be integrated to your “main platform” of choice—be it a CMS, an eCommerce system, a social platform, or a custom app for web or mobile.

Bunchball is Jive’s go-to-market gamification provider, and there is a pre-built integration between Jive and Bunchball, known as Jive’s “Advanced Gamification Module.” In many ways, Bunchball was the belle of the ball. While many of Jive’s customers have already figured out the basics of establishing their communities, they see gamification as the next “need some of that” thing, even if they don’t yet know exactly how they will use it. There is a special magic to this point of maturity, where customers feel they need gamification, but they are not yet being pressed to quantify a business case or to prove the business value. It’s a time when the features and functionality are in themselves differentiating, and it’s up to customers to make a small investment, experiment, and prove the success. Many companies feel they better do that quickly, or risk their competitors cracking the code on gamification before they do.

Our friends at SAP had a large presence at Jive World. In a demonstration of the phenomenon I’m pointing out, we have seen them turn their focus from establishing a community (2-3 years ago) to now having a very mature and successful community built on Jive, and wanting to add elements of gamification. Gamification will be a huge part of their social strategy moving forward. As a side note, the SAP Community Network is a fantastic representation of what can be done with Jive Software. It has close to 2.5M users worldwide, and is integral to supporting SAP’s vast network of customers and partners. We know this one well since we helped build it.

Purpose-Built, Mobile-First Social Apps

For Jive and Jive’s customers there is an important point, which is that social features are not enough. Business applications will all be social, so there is a necessary and healthy return to focusing on the business value of an application and focusing much less on features and functionality.

In our own practice we have seen this for some time, and I believe that SolutionSet will continue to play a critical role in adapting a generic platform like Jive to the specific and valuable business needs for customers. T-Mobile, for example, uses Jive for external customer support. It’s tremendously valuable for customers to answer one another’s questions about their mobile devices, rather than to pick up the phone and call the support desk. Indeed, T-Mobile estimates something like a $20M annual savings just in call deflections and reduced customer support costs. But T-Mobile’s support community is very different from what you get out of the box with Jive. While all of the core capabilities are there, Jive is not a purpose-built customer support app. SolutionSet was instrumental in building the interface, guiding users to the answers to their questions, and in designing an entire experience around the idea of a T-Mobile customer with a specific question about a specific handheld device. In this instance, professional services close the gap between what the product offers and what the customer needs. We’re very good at this and we will keep doing it.

Jive will also continue to address customer needs and business value with their product. I think that they are now forming a strategy around this and that it will be to create specific, purpose-built social apps for business. Rather than slicing vertically by industry, likely they will productize by business function. For example, they could create an on-boarding app for new employees, a customer support app such as what we built for T-Mobile, an ideation app for crowd-source product development, and so-on. Furthermore, it’s likely that these purpose-built apps will be designed with mobile devices as their primary form factor.

Companies with slightly newer DNA are doing this from day one. Emerging player DoubleDutch, for example, has built a business around their social app for trade shows and events. They offer a white-labeled mobile app for trade shows, which allows attendees to customize agendas, connect with one another, “check-in” to breakout sessions, post status updates, geo-locate people with similar profiles, and to earn rewards by attending specific sessions or meeting with specific vendors. It’s a very cool app—and this company has no need to point out that they are a social application that was built for mobile first. These two facts are given and all of the differentiation is on the app specificity, the value of the delivered experience, and the marketing value of the captured activity data.

Jive’s first foray into the development of these purpose-built apps is a product for sales teams called “Jive Present.” I’ve seen it—it’s a very slick iPad app that is purpose-built for the soldiers of field sales. These folks live on the road, meeting clients, doing product demos, and making PowerPoint presentations. Jive Present is an app just for them, and from what I’ve seen it’s impressive. It’s natively developed for the iPad. It allows sales personnel to collaborate with other parts of their organizations to get questions answered, it allows marketing teams to push new content out to the app, and it has a local file storage system on the device to ensure that there is no awkward fumbling to find internet access in the sweat-inducing minutes before an important presentation. Demos and presentations are run directly from Jive Present. This is an app with a quantifiable business case. An organization investing in it should be able to measure their success in increased conversion rates and a healthier top line.

I like this app. I think it’s the right response to a marketplace where social is no longer a differentiator, where social apps need to provide quantifiable business value, and also where mobile is the primary form factor. I hope that Jive builds a library of applications like this; at least while the strategy makes sense.

I love attending Jive World. It’s three days of concentrated time with customers, prospects, and with one of our most valued business partners. I learned a lot this year, which I think will help me provide better guidance and advice to my customers and to my team. This is a market that changes fast; and I can’t predict now what trends and topics will be hot in twelve months for JiveWorld13. But I’m excited to find out and excited to keep working with Jive Software.


Author: Dave Kilimnik leads SolutionSet’s Social Business Practice.

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