Jive Just Became a Platform Vendor. What Does That Mean For the Enterprise?

Fascinating, fascinating times…

No sooner have I blogged that IBM Connections is now becoming a platform for Social Collaboration, this post crops up on ReadWriteWeb:

Last night, Jive Software released its Jive Apps SDK to developers. For Jive, this isn’t just an SDK release: it’s the beginning of a new direction. Jive assigned twice as many developers to building its application platform and Jive Apps Market as it did to developing the previous release of Jive. And that’s an indication not just of where Jive is going as a company, but where the enterprise software market seems to be headed. Salesforce.com made it clear last week that it is now a platform company vendor first and a SaaS company second. Companies such as Jive, Salesforce.com and Google are not just trying to copy the success of app stores in the consumer market, but create a whole new paradigm for enterprise software.

So, Jive is adding an App Store to enable ISVs to create sell solutions based on their products:

It makes a lot of sense for Jive to go this direction. Most of the basic functionality of social software suites is commoditized, and there are a lot of vendors to choose from. An app stores open up new avenues for innovation and Jive can take a piece of each sale. We expect to see more vendors moving in this direction.

It seems Jive are going to be pretty open about the solutions they aloow into the store too:

When asked if Jive could ever become a pure platform company and give up developing its own social software products, Zingale says he still thinks certain features (such as forums) are core to what Jive does as a company. But he says the company is completely open to having competing products in its app store. “If someone comes along with a better microblogging solution they are absolutely welcome,” he said. “I bet there are better analytics solutions that could come in, for instance.”

I think this is a great move for Jive, and could be the action that takes them from being a very well regarded self-contained social suite solution to the next stage, to a platform for social business.

2011 should be a super year for anyone working with social collaboration tools, particularly for companies like Collaboration Matters that work with IBM and Jive solutions. I can’t wait…

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!