Jive integrates enterprise social suite with Google Docs

The company already had 'connectors' for Gmail and Google Drive

The new Connector for Google Docs lets users create, call up, co-edit and add comments to Docs, Sheets and Slides files from within the Jive suite's interface

The new Connector for Google Docs lets users create, call up, co-edit and add comments to Docs, Sheets and Slides files from within the Jive suite's interface

As it fights to remain a leader in enterprise social networking (ESN) among giant rivals, pure-play vendor Jive Software has been furiously integrating its suite with the most popular business software, now adding the Google Docs productivity applications.

With the Connector for Google Docs, users will be able to create, call up, co-edit and add comments to Docs, Sheets and Slides files from within the Jive suite's interface. Jive users will work on the same live documents residing in Google data centers, so all changes and comments will be visible right away to people accessing the files from within the Google environment.

The decision to build this new "connector" came from the realization that the use of Google Docs has been growing very quickly among its customers, said Clara Liang, Jive's chief product officer.

"Jive believes in offering our customers the ability to integrate with whatever tools they're using," Liang said. The support for Google Docs deepens Jive's integration with the Google Apps email and collaboration suite, since Jive had been previously linked with Gmail and Google Drive.

ESN products that can't be incorporated into users' daily workflow are more likely to be ignored and eventually abandoned, so Jive has been busy linking its suite with third-party business software for years. It's integrated with Salesforce.com, Cisco's WebEx, Box, Dropbox, Evernote, as well as with the on-premises versions of popular Microsoft products, including Outlook, Lync, Office and SharePoint.

Last month, Jive announced a plan to mesh its suite with Microsoft's Office 365 cloud suite, and on Wednesday it's rolling out the first piece of that project: an integration with Outlook.com.

Jive also announced on Wednesday improvements to its JiveX external collaboration suite, which is designed to build external, customer-facing online communities and support sites. New features include the ability to assign "role badges" to participants in the external community site, so that visitors can identify their expertise, such as community administrators, moderators, experts and champions.

JiveX will now also let visitors rate replies to questions, to give others a sense of which are the most useful. The product has new analytics designed to give managers stats on the value and return on investment of their community sites.

Jive's iOS and Android apps are also getting a makeover. The iOS app has been redesigned so it's easier to view content and pictures, offering better "handling" of long comment threads, according to Jive. The Android app now lets users follow content, people and places.

Jive made the announcements at its JiveWorld 14 conference in Las Vegas. The new products and features will be rolled out to users of the cloud versions of its Enterprise and Essentials Plus suites next month at no extra charge.

Jive is considered a pioneer and one of the leaders in the ESN market, which features fewer pure play vendors than years ago due to consolidation. Right now, Jive's main rivals are the ESN products from larger vendors with deeper pockets, like Microsoft, IBM, Salesforce.com and Tibco.

Founded in 2001, Jive went public in late 2011, but its shares are trading in the $5.80 range, way off from their April 2012 peak, when they topped $27. Second-quarter revenue grew 23 percent year-on-year to $43.4 million and the company's net loss was $14.6 million, about $3.2 million narrower than in the year-ago quarter.

Forrester Research ranked the company as a "leader" among enterprise social software vendors in a recent report, saying that despite the "crowded vendor landscape, Jive continues to thrive by emphasizing user experience across all devices." Jive customers include T-Mobile, GE Healthcare, Eli Lilly, Prudential, Genentech, Vodafone and Nike.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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