June 30, 2011
Matt Tucker, co-founder and CTO, is responsible for the long-term technical and strategic direction of Jive’s products. Along with Bill Lynch, Matt founded Jive Software in 2001 and has helped build the company from just two people to where it is today. Matt is an active member in open standards communities including having served on the board of the XMPP Standards Foundation.
Prior to Jive, Matt worked as a software engineer at an internet startup in San Francisco called 4charity.
Matt holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Iowa.
How do you define social media?
Social media is the set of technologies in our consumer lives that have transformed the way we communicate and engage with our friends and family via sites like Facebook and Twitter. For businesses, there is social business software and we tend to use the term social business, rather than social media.
What’s driving the shift to social business?
Over the past decade, there has been a profound lack of innovation in the tools we use for communication and collaboration in our work lives. Most of us are still stuck in email and Microsoft Office or with enterprise software that is really hard to use and provides a terrible user experience. There’s a reason that shows like “The Office” or cartoons like “Dilbert” exist. It’s because work sucks. Most of us understand that and implicitly understand that we need better tools and new ways to work together.
Social business represents a revolution in how employees inside companies can communicate and collaborate, and also how companies communicate with their customers and partners.
How are companies using social business software to grow? What problems are they tackling?
On average, sales reps spend 20 percent of their time searching for information. That’s money left on the table. Social business software connects sales reps with the experts, content, and information they need to collaborate so they never sell alone. This makes their sales teams more efficient. They share best practices and get the latest field or competitive data as quickly as possible which significantly impacts revenue generation.
Sometimes companies are simply looking to provide tools that will get the next generation of employees really engaged. Recent college graduates have grown up using Facebook, Twitter and that whole set of technologies which make it easy to interact with their entire social network. If they get into a company with ten-year-old technology, they are just not satisfied. For them, social software is about enabling tools and user experiences that employees now expect.
Innovation is another major challenge companies can and are addressing with social business software. Rather than having an in-person once a year customer advisory board meeting, they’re gathering real time customer feedback and ideas by sharing the latest road map and product plans. This makes the iterative innovation cycle much, much faster.
So, companies usually choose a business driver and set a goal of driving very specific results. After they see the results, social becomes a ubiquitous communication and collaboration layer and they keep finding more and more challenges to take on with the social approach.
What kinds of results are Jive customers seeing with social?
We recently surveyed our whole customer base to try to quantify the business impact of social business adoption. The feedback clearly indicates a material impact on business performance.
First, social business software can make employee communication profoundly more efficient, enabling interaction with a much wider variety of employees much faster. Surveyed customers showed impressive results, including:
- 30 percent increase in employee satisfaction
- 27 percent less email volume
- 32 percent reduction in time to find answers
- 37 percent increase in project collaboration and productivity
CSC is an example of a customer that has seen great results. They have 92,000 employees in over 90 countries, so barriers like time, distance and siloed organizations were complicating and lengthening their proposal process. Their Jive-powered community attracted 25,000 users in its first 20 weeks and made locating internal experts to facilitate collaboration easier. They shaved days off the bid and proposal process which has lowered customer acquisition costs and driven broad process efficiencies.
Second, social business software greatly improves interaction with customers and partners. In our survey, companies saw:
- 42 percent more communication with customers
- 31 percent increase in customer retention
- 28 percent decrease in support call volume
- 34 percent more feedback and ideas from customers
- 27 percent increase in new customer sales
SAP is an example of a customer that uses Jive to power its 1-million strong collaboration network for software developers, business process experts, customers, and partners. Their social business community achieved a 5% reduction in product release cycles and a 5% increase in partner sales.
Similarly, Intel was able to increase engagement and reduce costs by shifting half of its partner events to the web. Intel’s business is primarily channel driven so enabling a large-scale online partner community has significantly reduced the huge costs ($500k+ per event) associated with enabling 200,000+ partners around the globe.
Are there companies that should not pursue a social business strategy?
If your customers or your partners are on Facebook, Twitter and other consumer social sites, then you should be too. You should have a social media strategy. But, every company should be looking at a broader social business strategy.
Social business software is the most important new enterprise software category in at least a decade because it will touch every employee and be a part of every customer and partner interaction in every vertical. There is no pocket of the enterprise that is not adopting it and any company can benefit from implementing social business software.
However, some companies are more ready than others to adopt social software, for a couple of reasons. One is general readiness which is based on things like the company culture and age of the work force. These impact how quickly people are able to change the way they work together. The second is the size of the problem that the company is trying to solve. The larger the problem, the more worthwhile it is to address with social business.
What’s important in a social business strategy?
First, choose the right problems to tackle first so that it is successful and embraced inside your company. Select a couple of really hard problems that social can have a massive impact on. That will drive change and how people are willing to interact with one another. Innovation is an example of a big problem that is a critical piece of some companies’ entire strategy. Making innovating faster and better by speeding iteration cycles leads directly to top line revenue and to growth.
Second, keep in mind that implementing a social effort is not just a matter of choosing a technology and deploying it. There are a set of cultural and process changes to factor in as well. Social truly is a new way of getting work done so it means adopting new ways of working together as employees and new ways of interacting with customers and partners.
Does social require people in different roles or just in the same roles doing different things?
There are some new roles that are created inside of companies for social. There is a community manager that helps run and nurture the implementations of social business software. Customer support folks will need policies and guidelines on how to engage with employees, customers and prospects on the company’s social platform as well as on Facebook and Twitter. You shouldn’t need a lot of training to get started, but it is a different way of getting business done so you need to go about it the right way.
What trends do you think we’ll see in B2B social in the next few years?
The first trend is that Facebook is at over six hundred million users and racing toward a billion. This has already transformed our consumer lives and we are at the early stage of the impact that social will have on business. I expect there is going to be massive growth in the next two to four years in social business and 2011 will be an inflection point for mainstream adoption in the enterprise.
The second trend is that social is becoming a platform inside companies. There have been massive investments in ERP, CRM, and different content management systems in recent decades. Social business software is becoming the layer that connects all of those different systems with people. It’s a much easier and faster way to interact with all that content. So in the enterprise world, social as a platform or layer across the enterprise is one of the biggest trends we’ll see over the next couple of years.
A third trend is that social business will come to where you are already working. Social represents a profoundly new way to get work done and people don’t change overnight so there has to be a way to transition into this new way of getting work done. So, bringing social tools to Microsoft Office or your email where you already work is a really important trend.
All of these changes will mean that work will be good again. It will be as easy and fun to interact with people in your work life as it is in your personal life. Most of us spend the majority of our lives at work so if we can make that truly better, that’s a mission we get pretty fired up about at Jive.