Jive World 2013 Experience Report
Jive World, as such was a 2-day conference, but it really was a week long of learning! Starting with bootcamps & hackathons as part of the pre-conference agenda, leading up to two long days of intense sessions and finishing with a lot of informal meet ups, networking and partying!
First couple of days after returning from a fantastic #JiveWorld in Las Vegas and couldn’t be a better time to put down some of my thoughts from the conference.
I have to admit, I do not go to a lot of conferences, but Jive World was in pure sense a complete #socbiz experience. If you’ve been in this #socbiz industry (or related fields such as community management, knowledge management, enterprise 2.0, etc.), you would be familiar with some of the key objectives and challenges organizations face in this space and the expectations people have when it comes to conferences! Enter Jive World, and voila you get a complete package! Jive World felt a lot more like a practitioners conference than a vendor driven event hearing only about the awesomeness of their product. Don’t get me wrong, yes, of course Jive had many sessions including some of the key note sessions focused on highlighting their product roadmap and new functionality, but if you were there, you would know that a lot of the other sessions were focused on learning how to solve key business problems around collaboration and community management. To me, that really was a big take away from Jive World.
On that note, let me talk about specific aspects which really made Jive World a great conference
- Opportunity to meet Jivers (read… a lot of Jivers). And here I’m talking about a lot of product engineers and the likes and not just the sales/senior folks! It’s like you can talk to that guy who built that particular feature in Jive. It’s not even funny the kind of questions I’ve got answers for, from these nice and really helpful Jivers. It’s one of the best opportunities one can get to know more about a product and get all your questions answered.
- Breakout sessions focused on practitioners learning. There were dedicated tracks at the conference focusing on community engagement & adoption, collaboration use-cases, customer success stories, social business bootcamp, executive alignment & coaching, and of course functional tracks focusing on sales, marketing, communications and strategy.
- Opportunity to meet, interact and learn from industry stalwarts. Re-emphasising that it was more of a practitioner’s conference was the presence we saw this year, of industry leaders including Dion Hinchcliffe, Alan Lepofsky, Gil Yehuda, Rachel Happe and many more. Not only were they speakers on some of panels, but also, available throughout the conference to meet informally.
- Tons of diverse networking opportunities. Irrespective if you are a Jive customer/vendor/partner/practitioner, you got so many options to meet like minded people at a variety of places at the conference including but not limited to Demo Theater, Solution Showcase and Apps Marketplace, Sponsor Expo Hall, Breakout Sessions, Hackathons and not to forget the early morning Runners Club & Yoga sessions!
- Perfect mix of attendees. Well at least from what was evident, there was a excellent attendee mix — vendors, partners and customers. It was also good to see the diversity with a great balance between no. of men & women in list of speakers and attendees. And last but not the least, a good tempo between formal & casual — dressing, interaction and everything else!
- Fun & informal networking. Starting with the welcome reception party, to the beer and lounging at hackthons, and the partner/customer specific dinners, to the closing party at Hakkasan Club. Classic example of learning made fun. Oh and not to forget meeting old friends and making new ones in such a short span.
- The JiveWorld mobile app & game series. This is one of the key contributors to why Jive World was #socbiz conference in truest form. The Jive World mobile app was such a complete package. It really was the only thing one needed through the conference. It had everything in it. There will always be room for improvement, but the fact that one hardly saw any papers/flyers/brochures distributed about the conference says a lot! As they say, these days if you need anything, there is an app for it! On the other hand about the game series; Off-late we have heard so much about the Gamification concept and the role in plays in a community and the larger social business landscape. Jive World was a classic example of how to apply game mechanic to specific objectives. The game series was beautifully designed with so many missions focusing on different objectives and suiting such a diverse variety of attendees. There was something in it for everyone and many got into it thanks to the game series. It was not just about points, badges and leaderboard, but really about engaging all the attendees into the conference.
Having said all that, let me share my picks around Jive’s product functionality & roadmap
- StreamOnce — THIS to me is the single most important game-changing functionality coming soon. It’s going to be so powerful that we are probably to naive to even estimate the impact it will have in this space. It’s also one of the first of its kind feature (from what I know) that will fill one of the biggest gap in the enterprise social ecosystem. It was a tad disappointing to not have a lot of people talk about it — typical case of less awareness. Of course, me working with StreamOnce from before they got acquired by Jive, helps me see the value a lot more.
- Real Time Chat & more — For long a lot of customers have been asking for Real Time Chat and other advanced collaboration functionality such as A/V conferencing, screen-sharing, broadcasting, etc. And RTC fits nicely into that bucket. RTC is another great example of how Jive has managed to nicely weave the acquired products into their core platform. If you get a chance, meet Denis Mars and you will know why and how RTC will have a huge impact on some of the choices you make as part of your enterprise collaboration app ecosystem.
- Purposeful places — making Jive groups more meaningful. Whether its about introducing place templates, integration to other apps, the new tiles concept (extremely improved widgets?), and lots of smaller improvements such as status updates & dedicated activity pages within groups and many more.
- Impact metrics — Jive has taken impact metrics to the next level with detailed insights on the reach, impact and sentiment analysis of your content. The bit about referrers & viewers that further helps one understand how and why your content got a better reach and visibility is pretty nifty.
- New & improved profiles — Jive has taken profiles one notch up. Not only improving the UX with new layout and making it more dynamic with lots of visual stuff, but also with an added functionality around skills & expertise. This is a big step forward. This makes it similar to what we have already seen on LinkedIn, but considering most organisations already have some skills/resource management application within their ecosystem, it will be interesting to see how well customers can integrate and leverage that data.
- Producteev task management — Another good example of how Jive has nicely integrated one of their recent product acquisitions into their core platform. With Producteev, Jive nicely fills the gap around social task management. I am yet to explore this myself, from the initial looks of it, seems very powerful. Not only this makes Jive’s task management capability stronger on the web, but also adds this to the mobile experience, which is a big win.
- Entirely new mobile experience — Lots of interesting developments coming to Jive’s mobile experience. Firstly a new universal iOS app with an improved UX, a clean & crisp UI, significant improvements in mobile web experience, changes in architecture to support BYOD and an entirely new Android app in the making. We also saw a sneak preview into the mobile optimised responsive design that Jive is working on. All in all, it feels good to see Jive has taken the feedback seriously and are working to ensure in this extreme mobile world, they are focusing on building better mobile experiences.
- Resonata & improved analytics with JBA — We have seen Jive focus on analytics in recent past and again the acquisition of Resonata in last year. Another area I’ve not personally learnt a lot about, but the Jive Business Analytics (JBA) looks very promising with its focus on behavioural reporting and easy-to-build/use reports and easy integration/export to variety of BI/analytics tools that enterprises are already using.
In addition to the above specifics, there’s one thing that seems to be coming out clear with Jive’s strategy and that’s the focus on going for best of breed apps to build a better enterprise app ecosystem. All in all some exciting times ahead.
So we all know, there’s always room for improvement and so was with Jive World. Though I may not have any strong feelings about things that didn’t go wrong, there are a few things which surely can be made better! So here are just a few points to ponder on:
- Time. We all agree that we could always do with more time. With all due respect in organizing the event of this scale, it might be good to look at more free time or time that people can use to engage in more informal networking. Maybe make it a 3-day conference with fewer sessions on each day giving more time. The pre-conference bootcamp & hackathon were great too! We could do with more of similar stuff in future. We end up picking our time to spend between Solutions Showcase, Demo Theatre, Breakout sessions, informal chats and more… I, personally felt like I needed more time to make the most of it all.
- Demo Theatre. I was one of the speakers at it, so maybe my suggestions come from that perspective. Demo Theatre was a great concept and we probably should look at exploring it to make as a dedicated track next year. It can be THE place to learn all the innovation by Jive customers (or otherwise) in partnership with Jive. These are solutions and at the end of the solutions is what matters in addressing key business challenges. Its this that helps customers understand how to apply Jive in creative means to solve their key business issues.
- Jive World Mobile app. I know. I know. It was one of the better mobile experiences I’ve had at any conference, but then there’s so much more we can do, no? After having discussed with Ryan Rutan and others I know the developers behind it are already taking notes and looking at bettering it for next year. So yes, lets aim higher!
- Expectation setting. This is a tricky one. Being an enthusiastic Jive customer that I am (like many others), we end up getting to learn a lot about the upcoming features and Jive’s roadmap and in the process, a lot that I learnt at Jive World was something I already knew. Not to say its any less exciting, but it might be great if Jive could keep a few things as surprise just for Jive World, to be unveiled only at Jive World!
- Food. Well, the food was alright. And since I am not sure what better means in this case, I probably shouldn’t be complaining but happy to hear what others feel. The food quality was good, just not sure if variety and timings were the best!
Alright, with this I will close this post here and look forward to hearing everyone else’s experiences from Jive World this year!
Hope to stay in touch touch and see you all again very soon!