Cisco Does A Song And Dance With Jive

May 1 2014 08:04:38 AM Add/Read Comments [3]
Today Jive Software and Cisco announced they are partnering to provide integrated collaboration and unified communication (UC) solutions.  There are two main components to the announcement:

1) "By combining Jive's industry-leading enterprise collaboration platform with Cisco's real-time technologies like WebEx and Jabber, the result is a complete communication and collaboration offering"

For customers using both technologies, a seamless experience between both styles of work will be a welcome benefit. For example, being able to launch a WebEx meeting directly from with a Jive Community or start a Jabber conversation directly from Jive's activity stream.  

However, the combined offering will not make them unique in the collaboration market. Other vendors which already provide a seamless experience between collab and UC include:
- IBM with IBM Connections and IBM Sametime
- Microsoft with Office365, Yammer and Lync
- Citrix with GoToMeeting and Podio
- with Chatter, although so far we've only seen the result of their DimDim acquisition provide chat, they have not yet released integrated web-conferencing
- Unify (formerly Siemens Enterprise) has invested heavily into Ansible, their new collaboration and UC platform

Also, new entrants to the market are coming at a rapid pace, including:
- A team of former Yammer executives runs Fuze which provides web-conferencing with a heavy focus on working together, not just having meetings
- LogMeIn is pushing their popular web-conferencing product into the enterprise space and working on integration with their file sharing and collaboration too Cubby

2) "Cisco and its partner network will now resell Jive solutions as a fully integrated component of the Cisco collaboration family."

I don't see much of a downside to this for Jive, as having an extra channel can only lead to more sales. However, I don't predict this with have a large (think doubling) impact on their revenue either. Cisco's channel has already proven to be unsuccessful at even selling their own collaboration solution, as WebEx Social (which began as Cisco Quad) never really gained much steam in the market. Also to complicate things, in March Cisco announced a similar partnership with Google, saying they will be working on integrations between WebEx/Jabber and Google Apps for Business. So which product will the Cisco channel by pushing, Google Apps or Jive Software?

Outstanding Questions

In 2012, Jive acquired unified communication company What does the deal with Cisco mean for that technology? Will they be focusing on Jabber and WebEx instead?

Will the WebEx/Jabber integrations work with Jive's on-premises deployments, or just their cloud versions?

Last year Cisco acquired social task management vendor Collaborate. This product competes directly with the company Jive acquired, Producteev. Jive has invested heavily in Producteev, so where does that leave the Collaborate product? Perhaps Cisco acquired it mainly for the URL


This type of integration is not new to Jive, as they have done similar deals with Box for file sharing and Bunchball for gamification. This allows Jive to focus on their strengths, while their partners fill in the other areas of collaboration. For Jive customers the addition of WebEx will be a welcome feature. Jive already offers excellent integration with Microsoft Outlook and Office, the addition of web-conferencing and chat will only make the platform stronger. For example, in use-cases such as customer support, an agent may be able to switch between answering questions in a Jive Community and directly providing answers via either a chat or web-conference. 

Similarly, for Cisco discontinuing WebEx Social will allow them to focus on the communication aspects that they are known for and let Jive focus on the collaboration tools. But what does this mean for WebEx Social customers? How smooth will the migration be to Jive, or does this open the door to move to another competitive product. Nike one of Jive's original customers made a big splash when they switched to become a lighthouse customer for WebEx Social. However, some departments at Nike remained on Jive, so perhaps there will be a full migration back for them, or will they look at alternatives like Microsoft? How many customers move from WebEx Social to Jive and how many move to competitive offerings remains to be seen.

Cisco's sunsetting of WebEx Social is another example of how it requires more than just having a good product to be successful in the social business market. Last year VMWare sold off their Zimbra and SlideRocket products, which at one time were speculated to become part of a VMWare branded collaboration offering combined with SocialCast.