Jive Software and Egnyte Sync Up

Enterprise collaboration software provider Jive Software and Egnyte, an enterprise file sync and share vendor, have formed a new partnership and technology integration. According to the press release announcing the deal, mutual customers may now take advantage of a bi-directional sync between the partners’ software that enables the following actions:

  • Collaborate on Egnyte files directly within Jive, with comments synced across both platforms
  • Upload content to Egnyte from Jive
  • Securely access content from mobile devices
  • View files stored in the cloud for easy accessibility, store locally to meet security and regulatory requirements, or sync with a hybrid solution
  • Easily embed links to Egnyte content in Jive’s comment and discussion fields

Egnyte has put together a short video that demonstrates these actions.

Existing, mutual customers may enable the integration at no additional charge, according to Egnyte’s blog post. The two companies are also jointly offering a special promotion to new customers who are looking to use both systems.

Jive Has Other Existing Content Management Integrations

This is not the first integration that Jive has done with a third-party content management vendor. Jive has had long-standing integrations with Alfresco, Box, Google Drive, and Microsoft (Office, Office 365 and Outlook). The Google and Microsoft integrations were built by Jive, without official partnerships being formed.
The joint Alfresco-Jive solution was launched in 2012 and used CMIS to sync documents and content actions between the two systems. Interestingly, Alfresco has a webpage describing the integration and still lists Jive as a Technology Partner, while Jive no longer acknowledges Alfresco as an official partner on its website.
Finally, Jive still has an active technology partnership with Box. Like the Egnyte integration, Jive and Box have built a bi-directional sync that pushes changes made in one system to the other.

Potential Reasons Why Jive Added Another Content Management Partner

While I have not yet spoken with anyone from either Jive or Egnyte, I can lay out some possible explanations for why they partnered and integrated their offerings.
First, the integration may have been done simply because a large number of mutual customers asked for it. That is not an unusual situation in enterprise software, and both Jive and Egnyte listen and respond well to their customers.
This partnership and technology integration may have been proposed and largely built by Egnyte, who is facing stiff competition, as well as feature and price commoditization, in the EFSS market. Partnering with Jive creates a competitive advantage for Egnyte over rivals such as Accellion, Citrix ShareFile, Syncplicity, and others. The comparative quality and depth of the press releases from the two partners suggests that Egynte may well have had the lead here. That impression is underscored by that fact that Egnyte created and published the video demonstration embedded above.
A final, possible explanation is that Jive is looking for an alternative partner to Box, which has moved up the food chain by forming deep technology and go-to-market partnerships with Apple, IBM, and Microsoft. Perhaps Box is now more focused on helping its customers integrate with IBM Connections and Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 instead of Jive. As a result, Jive would need a more active partner, which it may have found in Egnyte. Another consideration is that Box is a cloud-only service, while Jive’s partnership with Egnyte enables cloud, on-premises, and hybrid joint deployments.

Takeaways

Regardless of the reason(s) for the Jive-Egnyte partnership, it represents a win for their mutual customers, who now have a pre-built integration that enables secure, mobile-friendly content storage, discovery, sharing, and collaboration. This partnership could also have upside for the two vendors, if they can work with the other’s existing customers to sell their own offerings.
This deal also has implications for the collaboration and EFSS market segments. If nothing else, it underscores that the line between the two, which was already quite blurry, is in fact disappearing. Pure-play EFSS vendors, in particular, will have a difficult time sustaining their existing business, much less grow it, as file services continue to be pushed into collaboration platforms. Their last hope to remain independent may rest on the growing uptake of containerized, microservices enterprise computing architectures, in which they can provide cutting edge file services.

The State of Salesforce Community Cloud

It’s the eve of Salesforce.com’s annual Dreamforce event, and I have the company and its customers on my mind. I’ll be attending Dreamforce again (Disclaimer: Salesforce is covering my registration, travel and hotel expenses). As always, I’ll be taking in all the announcements at Dreamforce, but paying the most attention to the Community Cloud, individual applications and platform components that make up the Salesforce collaboration and content management ecosystem.
Before Dreamforce begins, it’s useful to think about the actual state of collaboration amongst Salesforce’s customer base. There will be marquee customers on stage this week talking enthusiastically about their cutting-edge use of Salesforce’s latest offering versions, including those that are not yet generally available. But what about the mainstream Salesforce customer and how they’re using the company’s products to collaborate?
To get a sense of that, I digested The State of Salesforce survey report that was recently published by Bluewolf, a global consultancy that designs customer-facing, digital experiences using third-party, cloud-based software. This year’s report is the 4th annual edition published by Bluewolf, who surveyed more that 1,500 Salesforce customer organizations, of varied organizational size and located around the world.
Bluewolf’s report does not investigate every bit of Salesforce’s collaboration and content management functionality in detail. Instead, it focuses on the assembled collection of those that is the Community Cloud. In two pages of The State of Salesforce, Bluewolf reports on Salesforce customers’ adoption of Community Cloud, its most common use cases and the high-level business benefits that customers attribute to its use.

Community Cloud Adoption

Of the Salesforce customer companies that have purchased Service Cloud, Sales Cloud, and Marketing Cloud, 36% have also purchased Community Cloud. That represents decent adoption by Salesforce’s best customers, especially for an offering that has only been in-market for a year. Even better, 21% of respondents that already license those other Salesforce clouds said that they plan on purchasing Community Cloud in the coming year. If that pans out, then over half of Salesforce’s most dedicated customers will be on Community Cloud within two years of its launch.
What the report doesn’t illuminate, and I’ll try to investigate at Dreamforce this week, is Community Cloud adoption by the rest of the existing Salesforce customer base. It’s likely that the bar is set much lower there and that Salesforce will need to refocus its marketing and sales of Community Cloud for the next wave of potential adopters. Selling Community Cloud as an enhancement of the other Salesforce clouds is very different than convincing organizations of its utility as an independent collaboration and content management solution.

Community Cloud Use Cases

As for Community Cloud use cases, Bluewolf’s survey found that the top three were Customer Service (25% of respondents), Partner Enablement (21%) and Internal Collaboration (17%). Given Salesforce’s current positioning as “The Customer Success Platform”, and the amount of resources it has spent to launch and grow the Service Cloud, it isn’t entirely surprising to see that so many customers are focusing their use of the Community Cloud on post-sales customer service.
What I did not expect is that a larger number of Community Cloud customers are using it for partner enablement than they are for internal collaboration. Given Chatter’s roots as an internal-only communication tool, I would have expected to see more internally-focused usage of Community Cloud than what was reported. Of course, Chatter isn’t the only component of Community Cloud, but it is the oldest and most established among Salesforce customers. It will be interesting to learn more this week about why external community support is out in front of internal use of Community Cloud.

Community Cloud Business Benefits

The final area of interest here that The State of Salesforce report provides data on is business benefits associated with Community Cloud. Bluewolf compares productivity gains and cost reductions reported by two Salesforce customer segments, those who are using Community Cloud versus those who aren’t.
Community Cloud Biz Benefits
Clearly, Salesforce customers who are using Community Cloud in tandem with one or more of the company’s other offerings are realizing higher productivity and lower operating costs than customers who have not adopted Community Cloud. No surprises here. As noted above, Community Cloud is an enhancement and enabler to the other Salesforce clouds. This data is proof of that notion’s validity.

The State of Salesforce Community Cloud

Bluewolf’s The State of Salesforce report raises as many, if not more, questions than it answers about collaboration and content management among Salesforce.com’s customers. As a result, it’s hard to derive much insight from the survey data reported other than that Community Cloud is enjoying respectable adoption among Salesforce’s best customers, and they are seeing greater benefits by using it with the other Salesforce clouds, especially for external-facing use cases. While I can gather some anecdotal stories and learn more at Dreamforce this week, another survey would be needed to get the data necessary to understand how successful Salesforce’s collaboration and content management offerings have been with, and for, the rest of its customers.

IBM connects the dots between data, cloud and engagement

At this week’s IBM Insight conference in Las Vegas, IBM brought out the big guns to demonstrate their chops in the data analytics space. Insight is IBM’s conference dedicated to their solutions around data management and analytics. While there are some highlights, other areas are still evolving.

Setting the stage and connecting the dots

Things kicked off with IBM SVP of the Information and Analytics group, Bob Picciano, talking about the important interconnection between data, cloud and engagement.

  • Data is the ‘What’
  • Cloud is the ‘How’
  • Engagement is the ‘Why’

Bob’s messaging paints a good picture of how the technology and data play a central role to the ever-changing IT organization. Engagement is the key to business relationships with customers. The CIO and IT organization need to fully understand how they engage with customers today and how that will evolve over time. Where are the opportunities? How can IT help create deeper relationships with customers? Data and cloud will play a leading role.

Relationships comes in all sizes

The way companies connect with their customers will vary greatly. To that point, there are some core themes here at Insight that mirrors the varied ways. Two of the key areas are social engagement and mobile. Ironically, traffic at the mobile booth seems anemic compared with the social engagement area, which saw constant traffic. In order for IBM to truly capitalize on the changing marketplace mobile will need to take a stronger position.

Getting social, but still a ways to go

Social media plays a central role in customer engagement for many organizations. The impressive thing is that the #IBMInsight hashtag was trending high on Twitter’s list for much of the day. As a data geek, one is always thinking about the value of those metrics. Trending at the top of Twitter is pretty impressive until you start to look at the finer details.

Running data through Tweet Binder provides a bit of clarity (report). Almost 50% of tweeters used Twitter clients for iPhone, iPad or Android speaking to the importance of mobile in social media. Looking a bit further, 61% of tweeters only tweeted a single tweet while 77.51% of tweeters tweeted only one or two times. That is not a good showing for attendees that should be well versed on the impact of social media and demonstrates there is still a ways to go.

Building an ecosystem

Walking the expansive show floor, it is apparent that IBM has worked to build their ecosystem. There are plenty of vendors that provide complementary products based on IBM technology along with plenty of consulting shops too. The interesting point here is that there are not many larger technology companies other than IBM exhibiting. This could be a side effect to IBM’s wide portfolio of services and solutions and a feeling of competitiveness among vendors. Unfortunately, it does not represent the varied needs of the average enterprise customer.

Summary in a nutshell

Putting it all together, IBM is making good waves to support the enterprise around data and analytics. They have made a good start, but still have a ways to go. The solutions still have a traditional IBM ‘feel’ and with rare exceptions span into the newer territories. There was a showing of IBM’s BlueMix platform, but not too much beyond the large enterprise perspective. Even the cloud area competed with the size of the infrastructure areas.

The reality is that turning a company the size of IBM is hard. In addition to size, there are cultures that need adjustment too. But it seems IBM has started to make good strides in some specific areas with ostensibly more to come. It will be interesting to see how IBM addresses solutions going forward and starts to truly pull the different components (data, cloud, engagement) together.

iPad in the Enterprise: Where Business Meets Consumers

The iPad is doing well among enterprise customers, and for good reason. It facilitates the interaction of businesses and clients. Two new use cases show that, regardless of what you’re using for internal communications, the iPad is where it’s at for client-focused technological initiatives.

iPhone Wins Out in J.D. Power Satisfaction Survey

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They’re probably still on a high from the sale of their billionth app, but Apple (s aapl) now has more cause to celebrate thanks to consumer research firm J.D. Power and Associates.

A recent survey by the firm found that the iPhone ranked highest in customer satisfaction among cellphone owners so far in 2009. It topped the whole survey, beating out all others in both the smartphone and regular ol’ dumphone category, too. Nothing to sneeze at for a phone that once incurred such vocal complaints. Maybe the soothing balm of the upcoming OS 3.0 features has mitigated some of the iPhone’s early perceived failings. Read More about iPhone Wins Out in J.D. Power Satisfaction Survey