We were very impressed with Jive's new collaboration service ClearSpace, the technology that powers ClearStep, when it launched in April. Making the feature set there available to the public to discuss the use of social software inside the enterprise is a very good idea.
ClearStep is divided into sections for discussing the use of online communities generally and internal collaboration in particular. There are sections right now concerning building, maintaining and measuring social media campaigns. Jive's software makes it easy to follow particular subtopics, users, documents and other feeds as well.
Keeping the Conversation Rolling
One of the biggest challenges with social networks focused on a particular topic is keeping the conversation active. ClearStep does a great job of pointing users to new information that they'll find of interest through features like recommended users with interests similar to your own, a personalized home page displaying the latest updates from topics of particular interest to you, lots of RSS feeds throughout the site and a user profile architecture that is the best we've seen on any site we've looked at lately. Hover over any user name and you'll see a profile like the one on the right pop up on your screen.
ClearStep As Marketing
ClearStep is a great example of a marketing campaign that could deliver very real value to potential Jive customers. It's a site that even non-customers will want to check out, perhaps passing the link on to even more people - some of whom will become customers.
Jive reports that it has 15% of Fortune 500 companies as customers already, meaning that there are plenty of potential ClearStep users. Will existing customers be interested in discussing general collaboration questions with the world at large on ClearStep? We suspect they may. Early priming the pump will be key in showing new users that ClearStep isn't a ghost town and a thriving conversation there will show-off Jive's best qualities when conversation in their software is active.
There is a clear need for a well architected place for Enterprise 2.0 type conversations to go on. A new report from McKinsey today found that only 21% of companies are "very satisfied" with the way they are using Web 2.0 tools. Barriers for other companies include "management's inability to grasp their potential financial returns, unresponsive corporate cultures, and less-than-enthusiastic leadership." Those are just the kinds of problems that can be tackled with a good, broad conversation at a site like ClearStep. Participants may be hesitant to have those conversations on one vendor's servers, but barring that concern we expect that many people could appreciate the opportunity to connect at ClearStep.
You can register for a ClearStep account and check it out here.