Social Business Moving to the Cloud - Myth or Trend?

Simon Scullion

We're seeing growing adoption of cloud-based platforms for communities and social intranets, but can we call it a trend? Are we seeing companies switching from on-premise and hosted installations to Software as a Service (SaaS).


What are we seeing?

The demands faced by organisations through increasingly remote and distributed teams, flexible workstyles, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) are all driving the need to have applications easily accessible from outside of the firewall. It has become a business necessity.


Over the decades, enterprise IT has shifted in its approach from "this doesn't exist, we need to build it". We've moved through the "buy vs build - but we need to customise to meet our needs" phase, into one prepared to embrace the SaaS/Cloud value proposition of "innovation without the pain".


Skepticism of cloud is quickly evaporating as clients can no longer ignore the business value of major SaaS companies such as SalesForce, Workday, Marketo and of course Jive. This scepticism was often founded on security and data privacy concerns, to which SaaS companies have listened. Learning from and partnering with the best security minds and cloud architects, they've worked to ensure that their data centers, provisioning and systems are secure, compliant with regulations, and often exceed the same standards of a company's own datacenter.


Jive's commitment to a quarterly release cadence in the cloud is leading to organisations re-evaluating their deployment choice. With the rate of upgrades to the latest release increasing, a growing proportion are choosing to make the step and migrate to the cloud. Even larger enterprises, where an upgrade is often a costly and resource-intensive effort, are taking a longer term look at the cloud as the way to go, re-evaluating business requirements around customisations, often looking to simplify during upgrades and working towards becoming "cloud-ready".



What about external communities?

This isn't limited to internal facing social intranets, we're also seeing a strong uptake of cloud-based JiveX communities, which we're able to implement and launch faster than ever before - in weeks rather than months - delivering measurable business value without placing significant additional demands on existing IT teams and resources.



Consumer Expectations

Impressive upgrade rates in the consumer space, for example Apple's recent iOS 8 release reaching 46% within just 5 days, are continuing to shape our expectations. Can we look to bring some of that much-needed agility to the enterprise application space?


With Jive in the cloud we're seeing the regular upgrades, bringing a manageable mix of new features, enhancements and fixes. Jive are doing well at allowing Community Managers and system admins to deal with the important change management and training aspects for their communities through both communications and intelligent choices about which new features are enabled by default.


But why the cloud?

That said, it is fair to say that we are still seeing resistance. There does remain a lot of unfounded scepticism, particularly around security. And realities of regulated industries, regional legislation and data requirements continue to pose complex challenges.


In response Jive is delivering with enterprise requirements in mind, enhancing the cloud platform with features such as e-discovery and records retention. Another example is the recent Cisco and Webex integrations made available to Jive Cloud customers via the platform's integration framework.


Companies are coming to the realisation that security meets their base requirements and staying up on the innovation cycles provides significantly more business value than the couple of so-called "must have" customisations that would have previously dictated going with an on-premise solution.