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Jive and the battle for the social enterprise

The company launches Social Business Software 3.0, a suite of collaborative apps. Ultimately, though, Jive will face off with Oracle, IBM/Lotus, and Microsoft.

This was originally posted at ZDNet's Between the Lines.

Jive Software wants to be the backbone for all things collaborative in the enterprise, but it could run ultimately into tough competition from the likes of Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM.

On Tuesday, Jive launched Social Business Software 3.0, a suite it calls an enterprise-class armada of collaborative apps. Jive SBS 3.0, available by the end of the first quarter, is designed to focus on employee engagement, marketing and sales, customer support, and innovation and to foster collaboration internally and externally.

Jive SBS 3.0 will also add centralized views, analytics, detailed reports, video, social bookmarking, and an enhanced user interface.

Oliver Marks has a lot of detail on Jive SBS 3.0, which is roughly the company's rebranded Clearspace suite. Marks writes:

Jive's proposition is that they are now increasingly competing against Microsoft and IBM, with the "pure play" smaller vendors no longer able to compete against these larger players. Jive now calls itself the (Little) big company based on their claimed 70% year on year growth, 2,500+ customers and operations in five countries.

SBS 3.0 is essentially a suite of social business applications designed for Global 2000 enterprises based on extensive consultation with clients. It aims to allow people from inside and outside an enterprise to connect, communicate and collaborate, reducing the cost, time and risk required to produce business results by improving performance.

Here's the Jive stack (statement):

Indeed, Jive is taking enterprise 2.0 to a new level of maturity, but the company is a tweener. Jive has more resources than a start-up and has the heft to penetrate enterprise accounts, but it doesn't have the sales armies enjoyed by IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle. Jive has some runway in the collaboration space, but it will hit a ceiling.

Ultimately, Jive will face off with Oracle Social CRM, IBM/Lotus, and Microsoft's Sharepoint environment. All three of those companies are entrenched in enterprises today. Marks adds that Jive's biggest challenge will be to wean people off e-mail, which today is really the collaboration software in the enterprise.

Simply put, Jive has made its move, but it's unclear whether much of what is called enterprise 2.0 will be features in larger enterprise suite.

The end game: Jive is likely to be acquired by a larger fish after it makes some hay.