Jive Software Clearspace 2.0
Jive Software's social enterprise portal
- Accurate search function, easy administration for IT staff, customisation, SharePoint integration
- Have to go into SharePoint for document revision
Version 2.0 of the Java-based community application includes several dozen significant new features. Topping the list are workable project management, document sharing with users outside the organisation, and personalised layouts. Expanded user profiles help others find expertise within an enterprise. Clearspace 2.0 integrates with Microsoft SharePoint, allowing users to search and link to documents in the portal from their Clearspace areas.
Price$ 59.00 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 4 stores)
If the many business-oriented blog and wiki solutions are starting to look like one big blur, you're not alone. Most "Web 2.0 collaboration" vendors give you a departmental wiki that works about the same as the rest, but doesn't handle large enterprise deployments or connect with information in other parts of your organisation. About a year ago, Jive Software successfully brought a lot of attention to the enterprise social networking category with Clearspace and Clearspace X, collaboration and community platforms, respectively, that provided unusual scalability and usability - plus they integrated blogs and wikis across the business.
Clearspace 2.0 extends collaboration outside the firewall, gives users more customisation options, and adds project management. But even with all these admirable changes, Jive still faced a problem: how to convince users to purchase an arguably better social product when they may already have document-oriented Microsoft SharePoint Server with its own blogs and wikis. The answer: if you can't beat 'em, join 'em — by offering SharePoint integration.
Company and community
Clearspace 1.0's clean menus and design made it stand apart. Version 2.0 doesn't mess with that success, maintaining labelled icons on all pages that point to every type of document, such as wikis, blogs, and discussions. As before, an AJAX-style menu bar makes it easy to create or browse for content, as well as check on items you've created or are working on.
Conspicuous on this menu is the new Your View, which reveals a widget-based user interface. Selecting this option dropped me into the design mode, where I quickly picked from seven layouts and further personalised my home page by dragging widgets anywhere onto my design. Afterward, I easily edited a widget's properties — such as specifying that I wanted to "watch" certain users and be notified when they add content. RSS feeds and e-mail notifications are yet other ways to keep on top of changed content.
This customisation is just one aspect of Clearspace 2.0's expanded people focus. Another way Clearspace fosters interaction is through personal blogs, which you might think of as lightweight Facebook sites. To create one, you just select the space where it should appear. Moreover, editing a blog is much like writing a discussion or document; Clearspace has rich text and plain editors, along with moderator features and extended options for posting at a certain time.
Blogs are part of an expanded personal profile where you add information that might include interests, past employers, and expertise. By searching this area, Clearspace finds other users with similar backgrounds - basically a trimmed-down expertise search feature.
Further, Clearspace can combine profiles with information in LDAP and Active Directory servers to build a useful organisation chart. I believe configuring Clearspace in this way could give people even more facts about who they are working with and how a business is structured, which might lead to better collaboration opportunities.
Inside and out
Clearspace projects fall somewhere between a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and a full-blown project manager. Because you can quickly add tasks and checkpoints to a project calendar and easily update the status of jobs, I consider this a helpful feature.
I customised my project's page just as I'd done earlier with my main home page. In the case of projects, I added widgets that displayed discussion and documents related to the project — plus a list of tasks that required my attention.
Importantly, those outside your firewall (such as partners or vendors) can collaborate on documents; Clearspace handles this with a hybrid on-premise/SaaS (software as a service) technology that uses XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol). Put simply, you put your documents temporarily into an Internet cloud and invite people in, then bring those documents back inside Clearspace when you're done.
Clearspace 2.0 makes it even easier to find content. For example, I browsed by space, content type, and tags, and used a very accurate search function. Tags, an enhanced feature, bring Clearspace in line with other social software. In essence, tags are a community-made indexing system akin to keywords. As users tag content, the files appear in a tag cloud that visually groups information by popularity.
For SharePoint integration, Clearspace's search results include documents residing in SharePoint. You can then link to these documents from Clearspace discussions, documents, or blogs. My one wish is that — from Clearspace — you could edit Office files and then publish your changes directly back to SharePoint. This limitation isn't a major flaw, but it does mean an extra step of going into SharePoint when document revisions are required.
For IT staff, Clearspace administration stays straightforward. From a Web page, I had no trouble managing spaces, granting users certain permissions, and configuring search. One new capability addresses the need for compliance. An auditing feature let me log all changes performed at the admin console.
Clearspace 2.0 makes a number of changes that further distances it from the pack of enterprise blog and wiki offerings. Still to be proven is whether this is enough to sway SharePoint users to purchase Clearspace as a complement. But with Clearspace's tight focus on people and work, compared to Microsoft's file orientation, I bet more than a few customers will run the two products. Clearspace would certainly be appropriate for departments and workgroups; the main thing you get with a large-scale deployment of Clearspace is being able to find expertise throughout the organisation.
The only creditable social software competitor I see in the enterprise space is Telligent's Community Server 2008, which is based on Microsoft .Net. Shortly Telligent will release an Intranet Edition that includes SharePoint and Exchange integration (for interacting with Community Server using Outlook) — plus some very interesting data warehouse reporting — for $US50 per seat.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 2016 Ford Mustang EcoBoost review
- 2 Synology DS216+ Review
- 3 Review: TCL C1 series 4K TV
- 4 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 5 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- PowerDVD 16 gains 360-degree video playback: Here's how it works
- Microsoft will miss its one billion Windows 10 device target
- Google is working to make every website viewable in VR
- Twitter's new stickers are more useful than Snapchat
- YouTube is bringing live broadcasting for all to its mobile apps
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTSocial Media AssistantQLD
- CCCRM Technical Consultant / DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior PHP Developer (12 month contract )VIC
- CCDatabase AdministratorNSW
- CCDeployment ManagerACT
- CCTechnical Specialist - EUCNSW
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperSA
- CCBusiness Analyst - CloudVIC
- CCSenior Test AnalystWA
- CCContract IT Assistant (Lotus Notes/PC LAN) 160722/ITA/474Asia
- FTPHP Developer (full stack)WA
- FTDesktop Specialist - Application PackagingACT
- FTAEM & AEM Forms ConsultantsWA
- CCDevOps EngineerVIC
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (JAVA/J2EE/Oracle) 160801/AP/258Asia
- CCSolution Architect - Supply ChainNSW
- CCAgile Scrum MasterACT
- CCTechnical BI Business Analyst- Informatica, Oracle OBIEENSW
- FTFull stack (back end focus) Java Developer | Defence | NV1ACT
- CCDrupal DeveloperWA
- CCDW/BI DeveloperACT
- FTSAP ESB Service Management SpecialistVIC
- CCLead Business AnalystNSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (Java/J2EE/MyEclise) 160721/AP/vmpAsia
- CCOracle Apex DeveloperWA