Does anyone need another enterprise collaboration tool for helping get closer to the customer? How about if you had a collection of tools in one space that are people centric rather than task or functionally bound? This is the set-up for looking at HiveLive, a vendor I stumbled across as part of a sideways related conversation I had with Jeff Nolan, one of my Irregular colleagues.
HiveLive claims to take a people centric approach to architecting a set of solutions into which customers can dip to suit their own circumstances. The main parts of the system are Live Leads, LiveLoyalty, LiveInsights and LiveAnswers, each of which is designed to meet the broad needs of a particular community requirement. (see illustration above.)
HiveLive is built this way because while the company believes that most business purpose communities are unique, it needed to ensure that customizing is as easy as possible. In an effort to overcome what is usually a good amount of hand coding, HiveLive allows users to configure by mouse click to create both the functionality and required look and feel. This is not too dissimilar to building sidebars in blogs using widgets except that it covers the whole of the application. HiveLive provides a series of templates which can be cloned to quick start their efforts or the buyer can start from scratch.
The key to managing these types of environment is in fine grained access control and here, HiveLive provides the 'hive' administrator with as much control as is needed. The entire site can for example be made private to invited members, areas can be cvlosed off or shared as the need changes. The only requirement is that users must be registered to the system in order to gain any meaningful access. People who create spaces in the 'hive' choose who can participate to to what extent.
One of the early customers is Serena, a community for developers working on business mashups. At first glance it looks like any other website but includes a variety of elements like blogs, wikis, forums and private areas within the community framework that are all highly accessible and easy to use.
Pricing for HiveLive ranges $2,500 to $5,000 per month depending upon a matrix of scalars including number of seats, page views, any shared revenue arrangements. The company expects to sign initial 1-2 year deals.
I had a quick canter through the service, which is only offered as a hosted service at this time and can see obvious comparisons with Jive Clearspace and possibly Wordframe. This is a segment of the collaboration market that is set to grow rapidly over the next couple of years as enterprises realize that creating a viable customer community requires a rich set of capabilities that anyone can use.
HiveLive's people centric approach makes for good marketing and its 'fill in the form' approach to building a community framework certainly makes it easy to get off the ground.
Offering the solution set in bite sized chunks should make it an attractive way of trialling community building at low risk. However, all these attributes will mean nothing if it can't overcome the marketing clout of Microsoft and IBM and break out as a category killer. But that doesn't mean it will not make a significant impression on the enterprise market. Right now there is plenty to go at and we're very much in the early stags of seeing how this will work out among enterprises that are experimenting with different takes on community.