This past Tuesday, Jive Software announced they are exiting the external community market. Lithium Technologies has acquired Jive-x, in a deal that moves customers’ business from one recently acquired private firm to another. As you might expect, Jive’s customers have reacted with surprise and concern about how this transition will impact their daily operations and strategic roadmaps. If you find yourself among them, taking three initial steps can help you get ahead of this change and avoid business disruption.
Step 1 – Review the Role of your Customer Community
To establish your foundation moving forward, it’s critical to determine how your customer community needs to support your overall company strategy, including your marketing initiatives, measurement and personalization strategies, and overall user engagement. Having clear, measurable business objectives for your Customer Community will accelerate your migration to a new platform.
Step 2 – Get Familiar with your Platform Options
While news of the acquisition by a long-time competitor seems shocking, it’s no surprise. Jive has made minimal investments in building their external community offering over the past few years. With Jive “officially” leaving the external market, there are three frontrunner options for Enterprise companies to consider:
Each platform has its own strengths. While it may not be necessary for you to fully move your platform now, it’s a good time to review each of the options and see how they align with your goals and roadmap. Here are some initial considerations.
Lithium is a “pure play” community offering. We have seen people in traditional community management roles choose Lithium because it offers the most mature base community features like gamification.
As a pure community platform, there are also further considerations, such as:
- Choosing a niche technology to add into your technology stack.
- Adding a platform that is owned by a private equity organization and may have an uncertain future.
Salesforce Community Cloud has evolved since its initial introduction a few years ago. It provides the majority of expected community functionality–but has some limitations. For example, you can’t support multi-threaded discussions on the Salesforce community. The advantage of Salesforce is that is can live atop your existing Sales and Service Cloud, providing a single view of the customer and ensuring community engagement data lives within your company’s CRM.
Adobe Communities is a new, but strong, community offering. The Adobe advantage is re-using your existing Adobe Experience Manager investment and providing a seamless user experience across marketing and community properties. Adobe also allows you to use analytics and personalization to drive better customer experiences across all properties based on both site and community behavior.
Step 3 – Map out Goals for the Long Term
While Jive Customers will soon automatically become Lithium customers, the company isn’t forcing customers into immediate migrations. As such, you should use this respite to perform a “magic wand” exercise: If you had a magic wand, what value and insights would you receive from your community that you’re not receiving today? How does your community align with your support initiatives? Does your community enrich and support your global marketing efforts? The answers to these questions are crucial to mapping your path forward and choosing the appropriate platform to support your needs.
Getting to Work
The three steps above will set you on a path to determining the correct long term community engagement solution for your business. Ascertaining where you are, understanding the tools at your disposal, and focusing on where you want to be moving forward are all essential to making the most informed decision. We recommend having the conversation about the goals of your customer community across your business. If your community is focused on transactional support, be sure to ask for input from your marketing team. If your community is strong on peer-to-peer collaboration and education, tap the support team to understand how they might benefit from a more prominent role.
Despite all of the recent thrash in the market surrounding Jive and Lithium, effective external communities are still critical drivers of both cost reductions and revenue generation. Now’s the perfect time to step back and see how your enterprise can achieve both.
Hero Digital has been leading companies on communities strategy and development since our inception.
If you’d like to learn more about how to address a migration from Jive-x, contact us here.