Enterprise 2.0 Forum : the Jive side of Swiss Re project

(French Version)

The Enterprise 2.0 Forum to be held on 17 and March 18 in Paris at the Meridien Montparnasse will present some case studies. The Swiss Re project is one of them.

So I’ve contacted Jive Software for an interview to check Jive situation today (rather good as the Gartner Magic Quadrant tends to show) but also their view on that project.

Hypertextual owes quite a lot to Jive. As part of my job, I invited back in summer 2008 Devan Batavia (VP Sales EMEA) to give us a presentation on their product, then Jive Clearspace today Jive SBS (Social Business System).

It was a revelation. All the problems of knowledge management, innovation, productivity in a global enterprise and complex environment, all these problems that I was intimately involved with in my everyday job, all appeared in full light in one of the most relaxed and most professional presentations that I have ever witnessed.

To such extent that it has inspired my own presentation Enterprise 2.0 and allowed me to put order in my blog and my ideas and shed light on an irrefutable truth : my subject is Enterprise 2.0.

Devan has politely declined the interview and rerouted me to Nathan Rawlins to answer them. Nathan is Sr. Director of Product and he is in charge of steering the revolution of the Social Business. A bit of Jive promotion of course, but many ideas and comments that are worth visiting …

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1) Could you please provide the readers with some feedback on you and on Jives ?

Jive is number one in Social Business Software (SBS), with the most extensive solution, the largest implementations, and unmatched expertise in delivering value.

Jive SBS is driving the biggest change to business practices in decades. Jive SBS takes all the things people love about social networking software, collaboration software, and community software and makes those work for business.

This is why many of the brands that drive the global economy – including Cisco, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Intel, NIKE Inc., SAP, Swiss Re, T-Mobile and Yum! Brands – and thousands of other companies all Jive.

2) Tell us a few words on the Swiss-re deployment project that will be presented at the E20 forum by Anu Elmer, Swiss-Re VP Communications

Swiss Re provides highly customized service based on the unique risk profiles and objectives of its customers. Like most global companies, the teams at Swiss Re were becoming increasingly virtual and travel budgets had been cut.  The current economic climate both increases the demand for Swiss Re’s services and places a premium on the firm’s ability to respond effectively to increasingly complex customer requirements. The business problem was clear: quicker and more efficient exchange of expertise was needed to better service new and existing clients.

The multiple collaboration tools the company depended upon-including email and other web-based tools-no longer satisfied their needs.
The Jive SBS platform – implemented under the name “Ourspace” – has enabled a more efficient exchange of specialized expertise and information which has enhanced innovation in response to client needs, reduced proposal development costs, and sped the delivery of services to key clients.

3) In terms of implementation project, what are the difference with an E20 project and the roll out of any of the above systems ? Is there any specific issue to bare in mind with E20 implementation ?

End-user adoption is paramount in the rollout of social software. That happens when interactions and connections are front-and-center. This is why adding a few social features to existing applications doesn’t support a successful social strategy. Traditional systems are focused on documents, records, or processes, not people. As such, when social initiatives are implemented, the old practices of “roll out the platform and mandate its use” won’t work. People need to feel drawn to the community.

Quite frankly, that is what is behind the success of Jive SBS. We hear again and again from companies that Jive SBS is the application people love to use, the application that makes them proud to be part of the company.

4) Some people recommend to have different collaborative platforms within the same company, some other a single one. What is your recommendation ? Don’t we lose some centralization benefits when multiplying the platforms ?

When it comes to social interactions, trying to have many platforms is a losing game. If users have to hop from system to system and stitch together conversations, they are going to stop using the systems altogether. This doesn’t just apply to internal conversations. What we have seen from our customers is that once they get collaboration happening internally on Jive SBS, the next step is they want to collaborate with customers, partners, and suppliers in a similar way. That’s why we’ve introduced the unique capability within SBS to bridge conversations across different communities, giving businesses the ability to maintain separation where necessary and foster open collaboration wherever possible.

5 ) Towers Perrin has just released a great study about people engagement in the company. This study shows that 40% of the workforce feels disengaged. Do you think E20 can help in improving workforce engagement ? How ? Have you witnessed such engagement improvement with ESSP during your studies ?

This goes back to the point in question three. One of the main reasons people are disengaged is they feel disconnected. They feel like they don’t understand where the company is going. They feel like they don’t have a voice.

That is where Jive SBS comes in. SBS lets anyone in the company have a voice. Not only does it help surface questions and concerns, it gives a platform for broad discussion of vision and direction. It gives employees something highly personal to rally around. As people feel connected on a personal level, they become more engaged.

6) Many middle manager feel unsafe with ESSPs. These bring disintermediation, and make manager feel like they are losing control of the work in the team. Do you think that 1st and 2nd level managers jobs and type of activity is at stake with the advent of the E20 ? How can they contribute ?

Successful managers will take advantage of social collaboration to help them build happier, more engaged, and more productive teams. Instead of worrying about disintermediation, they will embrace a more open dialogue that leads to better ideas and less confusion.

7) Broadly speaking, one can say that there are 2 types of Enterprise 2.0 activists. The revolutionaries and evolutionaries. The formers believe that collaborative platforms are disruptive technology that will deeply change the organisations. The latter think this is a incremental evolution that will just fill up some communication holes that are not covered in organisation 1.0. Where would you stand ?

Think of it this way: Facebook didn’t take off because it filled in a few gaps email didn’t cover. Facebook took off because it made it possible for people to interact more like they would if they were in the same room.
Chris Brogan has said the social media is our attempt to be human at a distance. Similarly, the potential of social business goes far beyond making it a little easier to collaborate. It makes it possible for employees to work together in fundamentally different ways — ways that are innately more human.

8 ) From all the studies you made with all types of organization, is there any standard anti-e20-persona that emerge ? Any over-enthusiastic-e20- supporter persona ?
Anti-e20 persona: those that are afraid of change
Over-enthusiastic e20 persona: those that just want to shake things up

9) Who would you think is the best C-Level sponsor for an Enterprise 2.0 project ? CEO ? Head of HR ? COO ? CIO ?

We’ve seen great sponsors with just about any title. It’s less about title, and more about vision. An executive that gets that this isn’t just a new technology, but rather a way of changing the way that business gets done—that’s the executive that is going to be successful.

10) My 9 years old boy keeps on asking me what I’m blogging about. What would you reply in a simple sentence ?

I’m blogging about changing the way business gets done.

Thank you Nathan and keep on making the social software revolution !

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