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A New, New Way to Social Success

Back in 2011, Jive Software rolled out a marketing campaign “A New Way to Business”, a message designed to evangelize the growing importance of being a social business. I loved this campaign because it clearly laid out the case for social transformation by counter positioning legacy business processes with the “social way” to sell, market, and service customers. Jive made social business real, and its benefits quantifiable.

Jive rode this message to a successful IPO in late 2011, but less than a year later its stock price was down below the initial IPO. Some analysts began to question Jive’s longer-term prospects. Here’s one quote from BMO Capital Markets via an article from TechCrunch:

The next round of corporate buyers are taking a more sober look at the ROI from social platforms.

While Jive succeeded at defining social business and taking the early leadership position, more sophisticated buyers started to look at other options in the mature social business market. In particular, in the past 6 months Acquia started to see an influx of unhappy Jive customers, looking at Drupal Commons as a replacement. There are three common trends we’re seeing:

1) Total Cost of Ownership. Most Jive implementations have been heavily customized, and are expensive to support. Jive was not designed to be a platform, and customers needed to do heavy customization to get it to meet their requirements. Social platforms almost always need to be customized to meet the needs of specific companies and brands, and this is where Jive customers struggle. Combine that with Jive’s high subscription fees, and you’ve got a solution that has become too expensive to own for many organizations. Drupal Commons is open source, and since its just a Drupal distribution, it can be easily customized by Drupal developers.

2) Content, Community, and Commerce. Jive communities are often disconnected from other digital customer touch points, resulting in a fragmented customer experience. Delivering an integrated digital experience requires the ability to integrate social business into the customer journey across websites, mobile devices, and customer communities. For example, a modern commerce experience seamlessly blends persuasive brand content with peer reviews and social recommendations. Easily possible with Drupal, which does this out-of-the-box. With Jive, it would require custom code and multiple products.

3) Product Roadmap. Like many proprietary software companies, Jive’s roadmap is murky, and customers are starting to question the product direction. Jive keeps adding new features and making company acquisitions to differentiate it against competitors like Lithium and justify its high prices. Jive is driven by a product roadmap that is careful architected to grow revenue, not meet real-world customer need. Drupal Commons is open source, with a large vibrant developer community committed to evolving the product to solve real-world customer requirements. Drupal Commons customers are forever freed from "the tyranny of the roadmap", and are free to evolve the product without being dependent upon a vendor.

I applaud Jive for being a catalyst for moving the social business vision forward. Jive’s marketing is terrific, and they continue to help educate executives on the importance of social business processes in sales, marketing, customer service, etc. But then Jive fell into the trap of adding complexity and cost to its products in order to hold onto its market leadership position. Incorporating social business processes into a companies’ digital presence should be easy, but Jive is making it harder and more expensive. And now its customers are looking for a New, New Way.

And that’s Drupal Commons. It’s ready to use, out-of-the-box. Digital marketers and community managers can quickly focus on engaging with customers, prospects and partners. It’s agile and flexible, because it’s built on open source and open APIs, and is backed by one of the largest development communities in the world. It unifies content and community, eliminating unneeded cost and complexity associated with social business point solutions.

If you are a current Jive customer looking for the New, New Way you can get started here http://commons.acquia.com/.

Comments

Posted on by DIm (not verified).

Hi,
I think Acquia needs to add more developers to Commons.
thanks

Posted on by drupal_developer (not verified).

What about Drupal's cost of ownership? What about all the modules that never got ported to D7 by their maintainers, or were simply abandoned? What about the effort it takes to roll a custom theme? What about members of the community unsure about the "murky" direction of Drupal 8 moving to Symfony 2?

Look, I love Drupal and am a long-time Drupal developer and member of the community, but don't you think we suffer from many of the same pitfalls that you list in your article? Yeah, our software is free and open-source, but dealing with the issues I listed aren't free.

Posted on by Tom Wentworth.

Thanks for your comments.

Certainly implementing Drupal Commons as social community platform isn't free. But being open source means that companies who adopt it aren't locked into a vendor roadmap. There is a level of transparency in the Drupal community that simply doesn't exist in proprietary software companies.

Also in the case of Jive Software, it means companies aren't locked into a platform that is difficult to customize, in a supported way.

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