HiveLive, a B2B social software platform provider, brings the social web to businesses by providing them with customizable tools like user profiles, blogs, discussion forums, wikis, and RSS which they can skin, edit, and secure easily, and without any coding. The platform is based on a building block called a "Hive," whcihc can be configured to support a range of community activities, like concept brainstorms, product feedback, design reviews, voting centers, and much more.
Recently, HiveLive announced a new partnership with Responsys, a marketing firm whose client list includes some big-name brands like Apple and Salesforce.com. Enterprise 2.0 is sure to follow.
Responsys may not be a name you know, but you're sure to recognize those of their clients - besides Apple and Salesforce, Responsys provides services to brands like Avis Europe, Continental Airlines, Deutsche Lufthansa, Land's End, VeriSign, E-Loan, Harley-Davidson, Kendall-Jackson, Wells Fargo, Orbita, RSA, Petco, AOL UK, 20th Century Fox, Corel, philosophy, Avery Dennison, Lego, and more.
What Responsys offers their customers are on-demand email and marketing solutions that can be anything from web sites to email to mobile. With the new partnership with HiveLive, they can expand that offering to include enterprise social networks.
The partnership between these two companies is another step forward for the combination of social tools and big business. Companies are beginning to realize that the way that they should be communicating with their customers today is not through traditional marketing messages which try to convince customers of the company's value, but by allowing customers themselves to be a part of the process. Online communities, like those that will be provided by HiveLive, will offer opportunities for companies and their employees to connect with their customers in a more collaborative, cooperative way.
This "Enterprise 2.0" trend fits nicely alongside the move many companies are making towards becoming more transparent. A year ago, Clive Thompson wrote an article for Wired entitled "The See-Through CEO," about the shift in corporate values - Secrecy is dead, being "liked" is important, and customers are becoming working partners," the article states. "The new breed of naked executives also discover that once people are interested in you, they're interested in helping you out - by offering ideas, critiques, and extra brain cycles," writes Thompson.
Jeffrey Clayton, VP of Strategic Alliances at Responsys agrees, acknowledging that these new methods "dramatically boost customer engagement and sales," and by partnering with HiveLive they will give their clients "another way to reach their customers that builds on the power of community."
HiveLive claims to be "the first community platform to seamlessly integrate social networks with information networks," but in truth they compete with other similar offerings like Jive's ClearSpace, Drupal, and Ning.
ClearSpace, a roll-your-own platform, may offer HiveLive some good competition as it's based on Java, a technology that tends to be easier to integrate into enterprise IT, whereas HiveLive is based on LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP), like much of Web 2.0. HiveLive should have an advantage over Drupal and Ning, though since Drupal requires coding and Ning doesn't offer the permission levels and granular control that HiveLive does.