It looks like a busy April for Jive Software. Not only did they announce the release of Clearspace 2.0, their social productivity software, they also announced their acquisition of Jotlet, a web 2.0 social calendar solution, to be integrated into Clearspace in the future.
Originally released last year as a people-oriented alternative to Microsoft's SharePoint, this new version of Clearspace was inspired by a customer demand for "Facebook for the Enterprise".
In this new version, Jive has added a 100% customizable home page for each user, which Jive CEO compares to Google's "iGoogle" feature. In the following video, Jive CEO shows us how each employee can customize their view so they can use Clearspace in a way that is relevant to them.
Taking a Page From Facebook and Basecamp
In a style similar to Facebook, Clearspace 2.0 allows you to view a detailed profile of your co-workers and gives you a list of what they have been up to on the site, whether responding to blogs or editing wikis, much like Facebook's much hated/loved "Mini-Feed" Feature.
Taking a note from fellow social productivity software Basecamp, Clearspace 2.0 has detailed product management features such as milestones and tasks and even allows users to collaborate with people outside the firewall.
Finally, in a nod to those who still can't let go of SharePoint, this release has full integration with Microsoft SharePoint servers.
Clearspace 2.0 has been met with nearly universal praise . ZDnet calls the new release a "clear improvement" and remarked at "how easy it is for people to set up workspaces to reflect the things that are of interest to them."
Competing With SharePoint
While it will be hard for the 7 year old Google financed Jive to compete against their giant neighbor to the north (Microsoft), Clearspace Chief Strategy Officer Sam Lawrence has often mentioned they want to be the "Apple Computers" of social productivity, calling SharePoint a "clunky...Frankensuite" and pointing out how much more pleasant it was to use Clearspace.
Climbing the Ladder of Success
The release of Clearspace 2.0 and its positive reception is yet another in a long line of successes for young, Portland based Jive. According to them, they have seen a 325% increase in sales in the past year and can count big names such as Nike and Sony in their client list.
In February 2008, they were given a Codie Award for "Best Collaboration Solution" and in March, Jive was named on KM World's 100 "Companies That Matter".
In addition to Clearspace and Clearspace Community, Jive also releases a standalone forum product, Jive Forums, and an enterprise Instant Messaging server, Openfire.
In the end, this kind of software is only as useful as the people who are using it want it to be and the biggest challenge for companies will be getting their employees to switch to yet another system instead of using file systems, "old-fashioned" email or, as this USA Today article points out, to getting employees used to the idea of having their company information on the Internet.
At least with Clearspace, everyone can look good doing it.