Jive Software, an enterprise Web 2.0 company that makes wikis and blogs for businesses , added a social networking feature and announced its Clearspace platform would integrate with SharePoint, a move analysts say acknowledges Microsoft’s growing market share in the collaborative technology space.
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“Around 80 percent of our customers have SharePoint,” Dave Hersh, Jive’s CEO, told CIO. “You have to recognize it exists. They’re strong with work flows and files. But SharePoint is not good at working with web content, and we are. We can harness the collective wisdom of people and connect them in the right way.”
Jive made other moves with this release too. It added a social networking feature to their Clearspace platform that allows employees to have profiles detailing their expertise and where they fit into the organization. Clearspace will also have a user-interface (UI) that users can add widgets to (of, say, projects or their calendar), what Herch calls an “iGoogle for businesses.”
In addition, Jive acquired Jotlet, a company that focuses on calendaring.
Analysts say the SharePoint move reveals the conundrum many Web 2.0 companies such as Jive face in the collaboration space. While analysts contend Jive’s blog and wiki software offers better usability features than what Microsoft offers in SharePoint, it’s still tempting for customers to keep all their eggs in the SharePoint basket.
“Jive is very Apple-esque,” says Jonathan Edwards, an analyst with Yankee Group. “They appeal to the end-users because its [blogs and wikis] are so clean and better looking. They’re easier to use than what they offer in SharePoint. The problem a company like Jive will run into is Microsoft will say, ‘we can do that too.'”
SharePoint’s marketshare for enterprise collaboration is staggering. A recent Forrester report showed that Microsoft sold nearly 85 million seats (or, licenses) of SharePoint, and predicted that they’re poised to dominate the collaboration software space for years to come.
Oliver Young, a Forrester analyst, says that Jive can stay competitive in the enterprise collaboration space by adding new features faster than Microsoft does with SharePoint, an achievable goal given Microsoft’s slow development cycles.
“Microsoft is on a three- to five-year development cycle,” he says. “In the world of Web 2.0, three to five years is a lifetime. The trick that enterprise Web 2.0 guys [like Jive] have to pull is innovating at a faster rate, but also giving customers value at the same time.”