I've always liked Jive Software. My company, Alfresco, is used in conjunction with Jive's products in a range of accounts, and so I've had the chance to talk directly with Jive's customers. They all say the same thing: Jive's "lightweight" collaboration provides heavy-duty benefits at a significant cost advantage.
Now Jive is getting $15 million from Sequoia to expand and grow its business. It couldn't have come at a better time.
It turns out that all that "Enterprise" collaboration software (stuff like Lotus Notes) is just too heavy for many enterprises. Look at the Enterprise Content Management market: $3 billion or so and growing at a snail's pace, largely because of its cost and complexity.
But then you have Microsoft Sharepoint offering lightweight collaboration portals, and it's growing at a torrid pace. Why? Perhaps because it's not a heavyweight enterprise application.
Did you get that? Complex, enterprise-class software is no longer enterprise class. It's just expensive shelfware. Enterprises have finally started to ask themselves why their work software is rubbish compared to their lightweight consumer software. You know, the stuff they get for free.
Back to Jive. The company does many, many things right. I just wish it would extend its toe-dipping into open source with a full dive. It's half-way there. It just needs to take the next step so that its lightweight alternative to enterprise software adds the added benefit of freedom from lock-in and, more poignantly for the company, a bigger distribution network.