Cisco hopes to make a splash in the enterprise collaboration software suite with its integration with Jive. More than a splash, actually. It wants to take on Microsoft.
Microsoft responded by telling Cisco, in so many words, "to bring it on."
There's another big player in the space, though. We can't forget: IBM, which entered the picture with its HootSuite integration in December.
Why's IBM one to watch?
"If you're going for a feature-by-feature checklist, yes, IBM is right up there with the leaders," said Alan Lepofsky, enterprise collaboration analyst for Constellation Research.
Head-to-head, Lepofsky sees the three matching up this way:
- Both Microsoft and IBM can approach things via integration with email (Exchange and Domino), with Google also having a Gmail angle, but not as good of a social story
- Jive and Cisco don't offer native email, but they do integrate with Outlook
- Microsoft naturally has strong Office integration
- IBM has Notes/Domino, Connections, Sametime and IBM Docs. Connections has blogs, wikis, communities, file sharing, task management, etc. Sametime has chat and web conferencing. IBM Docs is like Google Docs, but has some very advanced co-authoring features, like assigning tasks to specific words, sentences or paragraphs
"What IBM is lacking," Lepofsky said, "is that consumer appeal. For example, consumers can use Outlook.com, Onedrive and Skype, but IBM does not have a hook into the consumer space."
HootSuite's Social Dashboard
IBM's major boost no doubt came with the HootSuite social media dashboard integration. The IBM integration signaled its first push with a major IT player. IBM Connections was already ranked highly by Gartner in its Magic Quadrant for Workplace Social Software along with Jive, Microsoft (SharePoint and Yammer) and Salesforce Chatter.
Luis Benitez, product manager for IBM Connections, boasted about the IBM-HootSuite social dashboard that provides a multi-column format and an all-in-one social view for enterprise employees.
"From what I've seen it's the only capability like this that exists out there today," Benitez said. "It really combines consumer social media and enterprise social media in one interface. For those companies managing social inside their firewall and outside their firewall, this gives them significant capability that didn't exist before."
Benitez told CMSWire the social software here avoids the "20 browsers open at once" problem and gives people "everything in one place."
Internal Social Meets External
Each provider has started to jointly sell this integration. If you are an enterprise user of HootSuite and your company has an integration with IBM Connections, it is a free application.
Kevin Zellmer, HootSuite global director of enterprise business development, told CMSWire that HootSuite enables IBM Connections users to blend their internal and external social activities seamlessly.
"As a joint user of both systems, a user can now share comments, links and information from both Twitter and Facebook directly from their HootSuite dashboard into a specific Connections Community," he said. "No one else has this same experience. No one makes it easier."
Regardless of where users comment -- HootSuite's dashboard or IBM Connections -- the information and conversations are synced via the API integration.
Joint IBM and HootSuite customers expressed interest in merging both internal and external social, Zellmer said.
"Until this release they had no ability to do so," he said. "Prior, customers would have to switch from their HootSuite dashboard to their Connections Community page and then cut and paste back and forth. Now, there's a smooth transition and little to no reporting capabilities."
HootSuite is now working on updates in beta and will have a general release in Q3, Zellmer said. It has three other IBM integrations in development and is working to integrate those into this current integration.
HootSuite was established in 2008 and has more than 500 employees globally. It has more than doubled the number of employees it had in January of 2013 (200). In 2008, it started with seven employees at Invoke Media.