Jive4_logo_2009.jpgJive Software (news, site) continues to improved its Social Business Software Suite (SBS). Version 4.0 of SBS comes with a slew of new functionality and lots of improvements to existing features. 

The question becomes, as a company on a mission to become the critical, go-to platform for enterprises, is it enough to take on this existing challenger, SharePoint, and the upcoming SharePoint 2010?

Taking on SharePoint

SharePoint challengers comes in many different makes and models, depending on what part you are trying to replace. To say that Jive is not a competitor would be naive, even if it's not exactly in the same market.

And even though Jive has recently taken steps to work with the SharePoint platform, it seems a safe bet to say that they are just covering all their bases. Because in the long run, the plan is to "transform enterprise communication and collaboration", and that means using Jive SBS, not SharePoint.

What's New in SBS Version 4

There are a number of small improvements to Jive's SBS platform including things like:

  • Improved content organization and presentation capabilities
  • Private discussions
  • New out of the box page layouts
  • Enhancements to the Dashboard, including new widgets and better configuration
  • Activity Stream improvements such as image previews, user avatars, content statistics and content snapshots

But enough about the basics, you can get a full look at these on their website. Let's look at some major features:

Mobile Support

Jive now supports both the iPhone and the Blackberry, covering the key smart devices. The iPhone gets its own native application, while the Blackberry picks up some improved interfaces.

The Jive Mobile iPhone App supports both the iPhone and the iPod Touch, taking advantage of built in features such as geo-location updates, contacts integration and its camera. You can access the full SBS platform via the iPhone for both social networking and collaboration. 

Jive SBS 4.0 - iPhone Support

With the Blackberry, or any other email enabled smart devices, you can take advantage of email notifications and use email to create content, status updates and more. In addition, collaboration capabilities are possible with the help of vCard technology.

Jive Connects for MS Office

The first Jive Connects was for SharePoint 2007. The second module comes for MS Office and enables Jive users to work on Office documents directly within the SBS environment or on their desktop.

Jive Connects for MS Office

With the help of an Office add-in, you can comment on a document and have that information stored within SBS. SBS also enables document co-authoring that includes automatic synchronization.

The Office Connector is powered by DocVerse, a Jive partner.

Bridging Module

The Bridging Module provides the ability to pull together both the internal and external conversations occurring around a brand, demonstrating that these are not two separate communities to deal with, but rather integrate together in many different ways.

It allows an organization to pull together people into a single community that are employees, partners and/or customers.

Jive Bridging Module

It is assumed that this Bridging Module takes some lessons learned from the recently released Jive Market Engagement service that pulls external conversations about a brand into the internal Jive community.

Deep, Wide and On the Road

Jive SBS 4.0 goes out of its way to cover all aspects of communication and collaboration within an organization. This includes integration with existing popular systems, like Office and SharePoint (going Deep), pulling together communities across the internet (going Wide) and enabling the mobile workforce that gets larger every day (On the Road). And it's not the wrong approach, for sure.

It's interesting to step back and watch the social computing space evolve from simple community interaction to deeper ties to content management. It's an approach that SharePoint itself is taking with SharePoint 2010, although there seems to be greater focus on content management than we see within SBS 4.0.

We constantly look at these types of solutions to see how they offer basic content management functionality. Are pure content management solutions a dying breed, destined to be replaced by solutions like SharePoint and Jive?