LinkedIn Lookup Leapfrogs Company Intranets

In April Ankit Gupta of LinkedIn learned that about 30 percent of LinkedIn users search for coworkers’ profiles each month. Wondering why, he and his coworkers survey 800 plus users about company intranets, where presumably they would have access to profile information.
But they were surprised to find that only 38% of professionals believed their company intranets were effective at finding coworker information, and 58% thought they’d do their jobs better if they could find coworkers with specific skills.
So they have created LinkedIn Lookup to address that specific deep-and-narrow painpoint.


LinkedIn Lookup source: LinkedIn

The mobile app allows users to search for coworkers with specific keywords in their LinkedIn profiles, and then to contact them by email or phone, as long as coworkers opt in.
This is a great example of a deep-and-narrow app — breaking out functionality into an app that does one thing, maps to one specific use case — based on our willingness to shift across dozens of specialized apps on our mobile devices.
This is much like the ‘workstyle’ apps that Jive has been innovating on, and released as Jive Chime, Jive Daily, and Lookup’s direct competitor, Jive Circle (see Jive breaks out of the ‘social collaboration’ platform model with new ‘workstyle’ apps).
LinkedIn is clearly using its large database of user profiles to advantage, and is backing into the enterprise market for work management and workforce communication with initiatives like this.

Jive promotes Elisa Steele to CEO

Elisa Steele, the former Microsoft and Skype executive who joined Jive in 2013 (see Elisa Steele assumes new role as Jive’s EVP of Strategy and CMO), and who was moved to the position of president ( see Elisa Steele promoted to president of Jive, Tony Zingale retires), has now assumed the post of CEO, and joined the board of directors.

I confess that even from her first role as chief marketing officer at Jive, I predicted she was joining with the intention — on her part and the board’s — to eventually assume the CEO spot, and to replace Tony Zingale, the former CEO. I wrote then:

[…] an appointment like EVP Strategy and CMO looks like a short term test of a candidate for CEO. Tony Zingale, the current CEO of Jive, may be at work on a succession plan. The company went public in early 2012 and then subsequently raised over $12 million in post-IPO venture funds. Most critically, Jive has seen a sharp drop in its stock price since August, when analysts soured on the company after disappointing results since the IPO, and where the company blamed ‘sloppy execution’ in the final stages of major deals as the rationale for poor results. It may be the board wants new leadership for Jive.

And again, when she became president, reporting to an ‘office of the CEO’, I wrote:

My read is that Steele is in charge, and after a perfunctory ‘CEO search’ she’ll be given the CEO title, especially if she can turn the red ink to black.

Note that Jive’s fourth quarter results and 2014 revenue and earnings exceeded expectations — Q4 revenue of $47.7 million, up 21% year-over-year — as announced yesterday. The market didn’t like the results for the year as a whole, with a top line of around $200 million and a loss of 22 to 29 cents per share. The company’s stock fell 12%. But she seems to have stopped the bleeding at Jive. And the next day, she’s CEO.

I recently reviewed the company’s rapid rethinking of its product strategy, and especially the introduction of what the company is referring to as ‘workstyle’ tools (see Jive breaks out of the ‘social collaboration’ platform model with new ‘workstyle’ apps), with the introduction of Jive Daily in a week from today on iOS app store and Google Play. Later in the year we will see Jive Chime and Jive People roll out. This is the adoption of the architecture of deep-and-narrow work technology, and a move away from the pre-mobile ‘social collaboration’ model.

In related news, Ofer Ben-David was been named EVP of engineering at Jive in December, leaving Vmware where he led 1000 folks as VP of engineering. Formerly he held senior research and engineering roles at HP and Check Point.

Jive is making a serious turnaround, and its Steele and her team that are driving that change.

Jive breaks out of the ‘social collaboration’ platform model with new ‘workstyle’ apps

Jive Software has taken a revolutionary move toward delivering what the company is calling ‘workstyle’ products, and starting a migration away from the conventional ‘social collaboration’ paradigm. The company has announced three new products — Jive Daily, Jive Chime, and Jive People — that represent a fracturing of the monolithic platform approach that underlies the company’ flagship products, Jive Platform (for internal communications and collaboration), and JiveX (for customer communities).

Jive Daily will be available on 18 February at the iOS app store and Google Play. Jive Daily is a workforce communications tool that allows corporate communications teams to serve relevant information in a Facebookish news feed, and supports curation and two-way communication among staff and management.

I had some prior discussion with members of the Jive product team about this direction, and I applauded it, in the abstract, and now, again, in the specific. And I like the characterization of these mobile-first, deep-and-narrow apps as ‘workstyle’ tools, in contrast with PC-first, wide-and-shallow social collaboration platforms.

Elissa Steele, Jive President, characterized the apps in this way:

Jive Daily, Jive Chime and Jive People provide intuitive, frictionless mobile experiences that help companies embrace employees’ various workstyles and drive strategic alignment as a competitive differentiator.

We’ll have to see about the strategic alignment, but going deep-and-narrow can certainly shift employee communications onto a smaller social scale, as I have written about a great deal (see The twelve posts of Christmas, part 1Social third quarter 2014: analysis and outlookContextual conversation: Work chat will dominate collaboration).

Still, the description about Daily suggests that the app is still not organized solely around the work graph, but is still reflecting a more traditional hierarchical and corporate view of how work communications are supposed to flow. Here’s how the press release describes it:

  • Improve strategic alignment: Jive Daily cascades news to all levels of an organization, with newsfeeds tailored to each user’s specific interests, team and function, allowing people to receive just the information they need.
  • Increase employee engagement: Employees can see who’s posting, and respond by commenting, liking and following from anywhere. By putting faces to names, Jive Daily makes company news personal and transparent, and establishes familiarity and trust between executives and employees.
  • Understand communications impact: Jive Daily provides actionable metrics on who’s reading and participating so company leaders can identify ways to improve communications for even greater impact.

‘Cascading news to all levels of the organization’ does not reflect an egalitarian, social-network-oriented business, but the other features seem more forward-minded.

Jive Daily costs $2/user/month according to the company’s web site.

Jive Chime — a workforce messaging app — and Jive People — a new corporate directory — will be rolled out in the coming months. The overlap between the apps — all provide means to communicate across the workforce — is fine so long as there isn’t any cognitive dissonance in how the tools work. For example, I would expect that a recent communication with a coworker initiated in Daily would show up subsequently in Chime.

More to follow.

Related: November 5 2014, Elissa Steele promoted to president of Jive, Tony Zingale retires by Stowe Boyd