Jive Software has upgraded its enterprise social collaboration product to make it easier to tailor group sites for specific business tasks and flag member comments to trigger specific actions.
Jive is also delivering deep integration between its software and the Box cloud storage and file sharing service, as well as tighter links with Salesforce.com's CRM suite and Chatter enterprise social networking component.
The improvements, announced Tuesday, are designed to extend the company's Social Business Platform capacity to serve as an alternative, and in theory more appropriate, medium for workplace collaboration than email.
"We want to help people and companies execute more effectively and efficiently," said Nathan Rawlins, vice president of product marketing at Jive.
Jive's product, which provides a variety of enterprise social networking tools, like employee profiles, activity streams, and microblogging, now includes a set of prebuilt templates for group sites designed to simplify their configuration.
For example, the templates, which can also be modified by users, include one for groups working on closing a sales deal and another for marketers designing a campaign.
The templates are configured to contain relevant content and pull data from various business applications, such as CRM and ERP suites, as needed, and to connect colleagues from different departments. Jive is launching the feature, called Purposeful Places, with more than 25 templates.
"Productivity increases a lot when people collaborate with a purpose," Rawlins said.
Part of the Purposeful Places feature is a native integration with Salesforce.com's CRM software and Chatter tool to display information in the Jive product like account data and Chatter activity updates.
The other new feature, called Structured Outcomes, lets group participants to label comments as needing a specific action or decision, so as to prominently inform members about things that need to get done, and specify who is responsible.
Accomplishing this is hard to do on email, because people on a thread can lose sight of who needs to do what and when, Rawlins said.
"You end up with a lot of conversation but not a lot of action," he said.
The labels can be updated to indicate that the required action or decision has been fulfilled.
Jive is also announcing that its enterprise social collaboration software is now deeply integrated with the Box cloud service, meaning that users can collaborate on documents stored in Box directly within Jive. Jive users are also able to store documents in Box from the Jive interface. People working on Box can also view and access Jive information.
The Jive-Box integration, originally announced in October, is an important step for the two vendors because it makes their respective products more attractive to CIOs and IT directors who want to cobble together a best-of-breed enterprise social system, as opposed to relying on a single vendor to provide all the pieces, Rawlins said.
Jive is making available the new features and the Box integration now on its cloud-hosted software, and will release it later for the on-premises version of its product.
Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.
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