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 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):

Social Capital

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?

  • Steve Golab


    Thanks for this release. It is much anticipated at FG SQUARED and with our clients. As you know, my company FG SQUARED Interactive Marketing has been running our entire business on Clearspace for two years, so I have first hand knowledge of your platform.

    Our decision to switch paradigms and go with Jive Software was a very good one. It has been a great tool for our employees to share common interests and bring their overall social capital to bear on our business. It’s also been useful to change workflow and become way less reliant on email. Overall, I agree with you that SBS is the next big enterprise category.

  • Peter Kim

    Jive SBS 3.0 is bigger than SAP, Oracle, Siebel, Salesforce, Lotus, and Microsoft…combined? Go Big indeed!

  • Greg Biggers

    Nice one, Sam.

    The ‘Social Business Software’ meme has legs and is training for a marathon.

  • Bryan | @BryanPerson

    Congrats, Sam. Glad you’re not letting Uncle Norman Naysayer slow you down!

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  • http://Website RH

    Hi Sam,
    We are very excited about seeing the new features and strategy behind the 3.0 release. Clearspace has changed the way we work and interact as a business. The social aspect of our employees is key to our success as a business. That said, one area that concerns me is what seems like the laser focus on “enterprise” as the target for SBS. Being a smaller company, but with big clients, I’d have to say that the small business community has just as much at stake in the need to keep their business social, internally and externally. It’s statements such as this on the How to Buy page that concern me most:

    Jive SBS is tailor-made for large enterprises with at least 1,000 employees. Pricing varies widely because no two companies are alike.

    Words like ‘…tailor-made…’ and ‘…at least…’ in my opinion drive the perception that smaller business need not apply. Is that the case with Jive SBS? I hope not because we believe Jive can serve both these markets and serve them well, as we have seen the success first-hand. You do strike it right that no two companies are alike and that’s no more evident than between the constant need to be enterprise but at the same time realize the large market that is small business. The statement on the How to Buy page makes me even wonder where the smaller license will fit in the new Jive SBS structure.

    Small business is a huge driver of this nation’s economy and seeing copy like that on the website makes me feel that Jive is either directly or indirectly excluding a huge chunk of business in the effort to emphasize the enterprise qualities. Where will we fall out in the mix?

  • Gordon.Taylor


    That new Jive Video is the most uplifting and awesome piece of awesome that I have ever seen, (and I like to think I’m immune to such things.)

    Best of luck with the new release!

    Gord :)

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  • Steven Groves

    Brilliant! SBS is a great evolution to the social media model as applied to business. I REALLY want to know a lot more about the Jive SBS…

  • http://Website Joe

    Are you aware that helpstream is busting your chops on their blog for Jive and your CMO not playing nice and being downright unsocial? Love to see you respond.

    If anyone can find a breakdown of all the ROI HelpStream is claiming, please call it out. Their CEO’s blog posts and PR stuff put out all appear to be general marketing “believe me” fluff and I am having a hard time finding the beef. It might be there, but they are far from being transparent.

  • http://Website mary

    Helpstream is definitely calling Jive out. They say that Jive is looking for a fight, but they do not appear to be too timid in going Jive.

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  • http://Website larry

    Jive is the leader in sbs. You need to install the software to see how useful
    it is to an organization. We used to use pure IM system from Akeni but we
    needed more social network features. The only advantage of the Akeni Social
    sofware is that it is .NET based, therefore if you have .NET, you can install
    the software quite easily. But jive has better mobile device support.

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