TL; DR: In today’s digital age, modern businesses worldwide have had to confront a number of new issues surrounding the organization and connectivity of their human resources. Those issues include outdated legacy systems, more geographically dispersed workforces, and the diversity and growing number of applications used by employees in different departments. The challenge is to bring teams together to foster communication and engagement that optimize productivity and employee satisfaction. And Jive Software’s collaboration platform delivers the answer. We recently sat down with VP of Product Marketing Katherine Evans, who told us how Jive’s solution is helping enterprises boost organizational efficiency, facilitating collaboration and knowledge discovery, and allowing users to work in their preferred applications — all in one central location.
At the turn of the century, organizations had to learn to navigate the internet’s rapidly growing connectivity jungle. Businesses found that it wasn’t enough to adopt new technologies; they had to carefully arrange innovations into pre-existing organizational structures. The challenge was to try not to get choked by the rapidly proliferating weeds of what were supposed to be game changers.
And Jive Software hit the scene at exactly the right time.
“Organizations were seeking a way to enable their entire workforce to connect, communicate, and collaborate,” said Katherine Evans, Jive’s VP of Product Marketing. “The most forward-thinking executives and CIOs saw that a lot of important messages were getting forgotten in inboxes and key documents were getting lost in massive digital archives.”
Jive’s goal was to help companies realize their potential and streamline communications by igniting dialogue throughout their organizations.
“We wanted to turn disconnected businesses into cohesive teams,” Katherine said. “We did that by building a seamless collaboration platform.”
Today, Jive’s cloud-based software creates and manages open collaboration platforms that millions of people in successful companies use to align teams, improve productivity, communicate efficiently, and engage more deeply.
Addressing the Siloed and Dispersed Modern Work Environment
Organizations have had to confront many new organizational challenges as the internet and the proliferation of web applications have enabled more people to work remotely.
“The workplace continues to evolve at a rapid pace,” Katherine said. “Executives need to solve a number of problems that didn’t exist just five years ago.”
And Katherine told us application overload, geographical dispersion, and “corporate amnesia” are three of most vexing of those issues.
1. Application Overload is Real
Many businesses have found themselves buried beneath a mountain of applications, some of which are useful if you look at their surface value proposition. However, many can create nightmares from a business organizational perspective.
“There has been an explosion of single-purpose apps, which have created offices that are full of siloed messaging platforms and tools,” Katherine said.
Employees use many applications in the course of an average work day. And, as Katherine noted, many workers can become confused as to which app they used to find a piece of content or have a conversation.
“About 29% of an average employee’s time is spent searching for the people and information they need to get their work done,” Katherine said. “We think that’s insane, and it’s our mission to put a stop to it.”
2. The Pros and Cons of Geographical Dispersion
An increasing number of businesses have discovered the benefits of employing remote workers. This model allows organizations to employ the best and brightest workers in their field regardless of their location. Employee satisfaction levels also increase with the freedom that comes with working remotely.
The downside, however, is that collaboration and engagement among team members become tricky when they’re dispersed around the globe.
“Executives have to ask, ‘How do I assemble a team when my business is highly virtual and mobile? How can I get people who never see each other to collaborate?’” Katherine said. “Those aren’t easy questions to answer.”
3. Recognizing the Symptoms of Corporate Amnesia
The longer employees are on the job, the more they learn — and often, when they leave that job, their ex-employer loses all of their institutional knowledge.
“Whether it’s because of people moving onto new jobs or finished projects being tossed aside and forgotten, organizations waste a lot of time reinventing processes,” Katherine said.
Katherine calls this phenomenon “corporate amnesia.”
“Knowledge is an organization’s key asset, but when companies let knowledge slip through their fingers and disappear, they can’t go back and retrieve it,” she said. “They end up resolving the same problems and restrategizing the same projects over and over again.”
Jive’s goal? To act as the cure for corporate amnesia, making knowledge and expertise discovery a breeze.
Turnkey Collaboration Solutions That Deliver the Cure
These three problems all result in the same negative consequence — losing a lot of time dealing with disorganized, leaky organizational tools and structures. Jive’s interactive intranet cut the time it took businesses to find knowledge and expertise by 34%, according to an independent survey of its customers, Katherine said. The study also showed that the software boosted employee productivity by 15% and cut onboarding time by 30%.
And Katherine noted that this time savings can come in many forms.
“CIOs love that we help them modernize their complicated, multi-system infrastructures by eliminating apps they don’t need and extending the utilization of their most powerful solutions,” she said. “Employees love that we let them continue to use their preferred tools, so they can get their work done without having to learn entirely new apps and programs. Meanwhile, the organization is capturing all of this information, so anyone can search and find it.”
Whether employees show up at the corporate main office or work miles away and stay in touch via Slack channels, Jive takes all the information they input and makes it easily searchable for future use. An employee in one city who may not even know the names of employees in another city can discover people, content, and expertise by using Jive’s search functions.
“This really drives better decision-making and business practices,” Katherine said. “Of course, it increases user productivity, too. If you can find the person you need, it will make your day easier.”
And Jive is only making its solution more powerful.
“We’re leveraging AI and natural language processing to intelligently connect workers with the right people, content, and knowledge,” Katherine said. “Right now, we’re building a tool called a work graph that tracks all of the content with which users interact, then surfaces that information when the relative criteria is searched. As we improve our solutions, our customers will see their time savings increase exponentially.”
Why Customer Communication is the Heart of the Company’s Mission
The purpose of Jive’s products is to help businesses construct and maintain well-organized, efficient, and thriving communities. So it makes sense that the company has built a thriving community with its own customers.
Jive took the same ingenuity it pumped into its internal collaboration tools and developed an external communication solution that Jive now leverages as a customer portal.
“We’ve used that portal to gather a large group of community managers who come together and share information,” Katherine said. “They discuss best practices and help us understand how our customers are using our solutions. If we were only talking to one customer at a time, we might learn one or two things. But when we talk to a group of customers gathered together, we learn a lot very quickly.”
Assembling a community of customers has helped Jive continuously improve its product.
“The feedback we get is the heart of our business,” Katherine said. “It’s the pillar that supported us at the beginning and the engine that continues to drive us forward.”
Jive: Leveraging Its Own Tools to Foster Innovation and Connectivity
During her tenure at Jive, Katherine learned that it’s not like most other offices.
“What makes us really unique is that we use our own product,” she said. “We test it ourselves every day, which is a huge advantage.”
Whether it’s Jive’s marketers or its developers, everyone at the company experiences the product’s collaborative work environment first-hand.
“Oftentimes, we experience specific pains and successes before we even hear about them from our customers,” Katherine said. “That really hits home and helps us move quickly to enhance Jive’s best features and work on issues that need improvement.”
Jive recently merged with Aurea — a company with a widely dispersed workforce.
“They didn’t care about where people worked, they just wanted to bring the best minds together in a virtual collaborative environment,” Katherine said. “Now, we work with top talent from everywhere, not just the people sitting at the desks across the office. It’s way more interesting and fun. And it’s all made possible with our software.”