The Social Edge Mission

Andrew Kratz

Originally, I posted this in our Social Edge Jive Community, because we’ve been talking internally about the direction of our company as we continue to grow. I wanted to start the conversation with employees, first. But I also wanted to share my thoughts and beliefs on the purpose and mission of Social Edge to those who may be interested in our services.


First, my beliefs:


  • I Own It: I believe that our purpose is something that I need to own. I certainly want input from the team. Your views, passion and insight into what you are seeing, what you believe. But in the end, I need to own and firmly believe in our purpose given my role in the company.


  • Big Fish in a Little Pond: I have been drawn to having us be the very best in a smaller market. We waste less time and money trying to build awareness to differentiate us against competitors. Instead, we can focus more resources on offering the best services and products.


  • Got Clients? We may have passion for a business line or service, but are there clients there to consume it? Steve Jobs famously said, “…people don’t know what they need until you show it to them.” That may be true, but that “first to market” approach has larger risks we need to consider.


  • Many Voices, One Message: I am not interested in team members memorizing a sentence stating who we are. We may have a short paragraph or single sentence to explain our purpose for marketing purposes, which is fine. I am more interested in team members understanding the purpose and living it professionally via their actions.


  • Evolutionary: Over time, our purpose will evolve and change to meet the needs of the market. We need to listen and sense for those opportunities.


Why Did Social Edge Start In The First Place?


I thought a statement of origin might be a helpful starting place. In short: After being part of a successful implementation of Jive Software (replacing our intranet at McGraw-Hill), we found that other companies were hungry for advice and guidance as to how to make this leap into social business. We also learned that the market had a shortage of partners and individuals who had walked this path. We started Social Edge focused on large business clients replacing their intranets on Jive – What we knew best.


Most Noble Purpose


We work in the social business space. It provides businesses with modern collaboration and communication tools to better enable interactions between employees, partners and customers. But we know that “the clicks” through the tools are not important, but the transformation of how those stakeholders think and work. You may have heard me say, “It’s the between the ears stuff that matters.” Ultimately, we have a purpose to help advise and counsel business to transform how they work to create a better outcome for those stakeholders. We want to be their most trusted counsel in this area.


Where Are We Today?


We install a lot of Jive. Ha! We do a number of other things, but at a fundamental level, for many of you, this is what we do. I know that some of you wish we did more. Much more. Diversify into more products; Deeper, more strategic, post-launch services; C-suite level transformations, maybe. Develop products and have more of a Silicon Valley product company feel. We touch on some of those, but the 80% of what we do is install and support Jive, at this time.


For me, I look at this phase as us building an install-base for future services. We are meeting a basic market need. Because social business is relatively new the intent for many companies is still immature. We are somewhere past the R&D phase but not quite into the “this is vital to our company” phase. Some of those more strategic services just don’t have the market demand as compared to the basic request “please install and show me how to use this”. But with time and maturity this will come along. I encourage you to be curious and sense where the market is going.


Evolution Before Our Eyes?


In just under four years we have already evolved from that first notion of what the business was about. We went from one IT guy who set-up Jive once to a diverse team of 40+ with a host of backgrounds across dimensions of profession, industry and geography. This gives us capabilities to go in many directions!!


  • We are the largest provider of services to small and medium size business for Jive Software without losing our large company roots.
  • We have added community management services to help clients have knowledgeable staff by their side each day.
  • We have become known experts in external communities (JiveX) to complement our deep Internal community experience.
  • We have just started to become a reseller of Jive Software.
  • We have expanded our technology tools and services to assist clients with migrations, upgrades and the creation of small, purposeful add-ons for their community.
  • Our design services have become something we are known for across the Jive eco-system.


All of these services and expertise came to fruition based on sensing the environment and needs, leveraging our skills and expertise, and executing on these market demands. This journey will continue in an organic way, we are not static.

If we’re going to continue to be a strategic partner to Jive and our clients, we need to keep listening and learning from both. But more importantly we need to lead our clients on their social business journey using the expertise and collective knowledge built on more than 250 implementations of Jive communities.


Start Your Engines!


So this is where I’ll start. On a substance level I expect this to evolve as we listen to our clients, thought leaders and our own experiences. All of these services and expertise came to fruition based on sensing the environment and needs, leveraging our skills and expertise, and executing on these market demands. This journey will continue in an organic way, we are not static.