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Interview: Jive Software's Adam Mertz on how collaboration-as-a-service is changing the enterprise fabric

ITProPortal interviewed Adam Mertz, Senior Director, Product Marketing at Jive Software about the origins of the company, its plans for the future, what are its key unique selling points and on the changing attitude of companies and firms when it comes to collaborative platforms.

Who is Jive and what does the company do?

Jive Software is a cloud-based platform which connects employees, customers and partners to increase productivity within companies. By combining the power of cloud, mobile, big data and proprietary collaboration technologies, Jive wants to transform the way work gets done and improve productivity, creativity and innovation for millions of people in the world's largest companies. Jive has more than 830 enterprise customers around the world

How has the social collaboration sphere evolved over the past few years and what do you expect to see in the near future?

We are in an era of tremendous change at work. People are recognising that old business processes, like the 30-year old email system, hinder productivity. Similarly, the notion of Facebook for the enterprise where people "talk about work" actually aggravates the issue. It just adds more noise and another distraction for people to deal with.

The way we see things at Jive is different. Embracing collaboration platforms at work gets real work done - fostering creativity, productivity and ultimately improving top line revenue. Jive believes in social collaboration platform that is powered by social capabilities. It's not about talking about work, but actually getting work done. Companies now and in the future are realising this and are turning to social business to transform their organisations to work in a better way. We believe every company will do this going forward.

How do companies usually react to the concept of social collaboration?

Social for business is going mainstream. New and traditional industries alike are buying social for the enterprise because they see the businesses benefit from increased collaboration and productivity which impacts top line revenue. Enlightened leaders realise that old business process like email are bogging people down and negatively impacting creativity and clear communications. Functional business leaders within organisations are partnering with IT to find platforms that solve real business problems that transform how their organisations get work done. And they are measuring this new way to work to ensure they are getting the most out of everything they do.

Why did social collaboration come into being & why is it becoming increasingly important?

Social media in the consumer world - Facebook, Twitter and the smart phone etc. - changed everything. People realised and enjoyed a new way to communicate in their personal lives. Quickly, this new way to communicate crept into the workplace. People want and are now demanding great experiences and better, more social and seamless ways to communicate at work – just like we all enjoy in our personal lives.

Collaboration technologies are delivering real business value to companies. They are increasing collaboration, productivity and employee and customer engagement – ultimately increasing top line revenue growth by four per cent.

How do you differ from the competition?

Jive is one business platform that has works to deliver business value to its customers. The market now recognises that it's not about Facebook for the enterprise or about activity streams. Those companies that deliver the platform and product innovations that help their customers increase productivity and collaboration – ultimately increasing top line growth – will win in the market.

Collaborative working is also about flexible working, supporting the modern worker and their team. How does Jive do this?

Jive offers Jive Mobile, which allows you to take the power of social collaboration wherever you go. You can access all your colleagues, conversations, documents and activity streams from your smartphone and iPad. And it's not just collaboration with fellow employees. With Jive Mobile, you can also stay in touch and engage with partners and customers to get real work done.

How can enterprises capitalise on the growth of mobile to promote collaborative working?

Mobile in the enterprise has become a mission critical way that companies are allowing employees to get work done in a better way - anytime and anywhere. Those companies who have embraced mobile solutions to deliver business results are uniquely positioned to be more nimble and responsive to customers, partners and their internal business needs.

And companies are realising this and embracing mobile more and more each day. In the past year alone, Jive has seen a 435 per cent increase in mobile usage from its global customers, helping people be active participants in conversations, even while on the go. With the newest mobile additions to the Jive portfolio, an even larger number of customers are expected to turn to their mobile and tablet devices to access Jive.

How has Jive addressed the growth of mobile and how does it support enterprises do embrace it?

Jive is introducing a new suite of mobile apps to help people do their jobs more effectively on the go, anywhere and anytime. The new mobile social business offerings, which include new iPad, iPhone and Android apps, provide people with a fast, convenient way to create content, find experts and answers, search for information and take actions all from their smartphones and tablets. For the first time, people can generate serious work documents on a mobile platform instead of using such devices primarily for viewing documents created elsewhere.

Consumer driven social technologies have seen rapid innovation with the likes of twitter and Instagram booming over the last few years. Has the enterprise been slow to innovate?

People are enjoying great experiences and new ways to collaborate and communicate in their personal lives. It only makes sense that people would want to use the same great tools and experiences to get their jobs done at work. While the tools have been in the market for some time, it has taken businesses more time to embrace social technologies across their organisations. This is largely because the decision makers rightfully want and need to see that this new way to work delivers quantifiable business results to the organisation. Robust social platforms implemented to solve problems can deliver on this promise to generate real business value – increasing productivity by up to 15 per cent and top line revenue by up to four per cent.

Will social collaboration technologies soon play a larger part in the way that we communicate and share in the enterprise?

Absolutely. Social collaboration is the new way to work. Email has a purpose – one to one communications. But it's not designed for or an effective way to communicate from one-to-many - nor is it the right way to collaborate on documents, campaigns, projects or deals, or solve complex problems. It's a sink hole for information. Today, we are innovating into something better - social collaboration platforms that give us the robust tools to solve problems, communicate, collaborate, innovate and deliver for our organisations.

Adam Mertz is the senior director, product marketing at Jive Software

Desire worked at ITProPortal right at the beginning and was instrumental in turning it into the leading publication we all know and love today. He then moved on to be the Editor of TechRadarPro - a position he still holds - and has recently been reunited with ITProPortal since Future Publishing's acquisition of Net Communities.