Sharepoint 2010 launch, a number of questions will be answered. In particular, does Sharepoint match the best of breed social enterprise applications that keep entering the market?When the dust settles after the
Probably not. More so, the future more likely will be a mix of Sharepoint technology fitted with applications from companies like Jive Software, the social business software provider which today announced a social layer for Sharepoint.
Sharepoint is a beast to some and a darling to others. Like any entrenched technology you have to live with it, no matter how contrasting your technology may be.
Jive Software seems to be in that place, right in the middle. Their technology has received high acclaim. But they are a small company. At this point, their best option is to integrate with Sharepoint so users may get the benefits of its social capabilities.
Jive will offer companies a social layer that rides across Sharepoint's content silos. These include the Jive Sharepoint Connector, which allows users to connect between Jive Social Business Software and Microsoft Sharepoint. Users may connect content and activities that originate in either Jive or Sharepoint through a single stream.
Jive is banking on the power of the social graph. The premise being that people have become accustomed to using technologies that leverage a social graph, use multi-threaded discussions, blogging and user-defined tagging. These are applications that have a time dimension, a river of news, or what is now being called an activity stream.
What's in contrast are the architectural differences between Jive and Sharepoint, a document-based software where content is stored in data silos. In a not so subtle way, Jive's press release states that:"CMS solutions were not architected for rich dialog around content....Conversations and activities often occur "off the grid" in email vacuums."
The press release goes on to say that most organizations have several generations of legacy documents with valuable content being lost or invisible.
Jive maintains that its software will serve as a unifier, allowing companies to "socialize," content and unlock what is trapped in these data silos. Search can only dive so deep into the silos. It is the relationships and interests that will foster the connections with content authors and their networks.
Those are pretty lofty goals. Activity streams, especially when aggregated, do illuminate conversations but what about the legacy documents? Will this unifying layer surface information, creating an ecosystem of experts and related information?
What we do like is the idealism and pragmatism baked into Jive's plan.
On the pragmatic side, there is the standard integration with unified searches reflecting both application environments. Jive's plan is designed to comply with corporate data and security policies. It includes "semantically rich" IT business rules to define how and when content is distributed.
On the idealist side, we can see the pure, unadulterated, passionate view about the effects that social technologies can have on the enterprise.
We will see how this mix works. There is no doubt that Sharepoint and Jive are in the same space. It's just their contrasts that are so striking:
"....administrators strictly define what, how and when content gets socialized out of Sharepoint hierarchies."
Socialaized out of Sharepoint hierarchies?
That sounds like what you get when you mix corporate IT and the social web.