Jive Software Clearspace 2.0

Jive Software's social enterprise portal

Jive Software Clearspace 2.0
  • Jive Software Clearspace 2.0
  • Jive Software Clearspace 2.0
  • Jive Software Clearspace 2.0
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Accurate search function, easy administration for IT staff, customisation, SharePoint integration

Cons

  • Have to go into SharePoint for document revision

Bottom Line

Version 2.0 of the Java-based community application includes several dozen significant new features. Topping the list are workable project management, document sharing with users outside the organisation, and personalised layouts. Expanded user profiles help others find expertise within an enterprise. Clearspace 2.0 integrates with Microsoft SharePoint, allowing users to search and link to documents in the portal from their Clearspace areas.

Would you buy this?

If the many business-oriented blog and wiki solutions are starting to look like one big blur, you're not alone. Most "Web 2.0 collaboration" vendors give you a departmental wiki that works about the same as the rest, but doesn't handle large enterprise deployments or connect with information in other parts of your organisation. About a year ago, Jive Software successfully brought a lot of attention to the enterprise social networking category with Clearspace and Clearspace X, collaboration and community platforms, respectively, that provided unusual scalability and usability - plus they integrated blogs and wikis across the business.

Clearspace 2.0 extends collaboration outside the firewall, gives users more customisation options, and adds project management. But even with all these admirable changes, Jive still faced a problem: how to convince users to purchase an arguably better social product when they may already have document-oriented Microsoft SharePoint Server with its own blogs and wikis. The answer: if you can't beat 'em, join 'em — by offering SharePoint integration.

Company and community

Clearspace 1.0's clean menus and design made it stand apart. Version 2.0 doesn't mess with that success, maintaining labelled icons on all pages that point to every type of document, such as wikis, blogs, and discussions. As before, an AJAX-style menu bar makes it easy to create or browse for content, as well as check on items you've created or are working on.

Conspicuous on this menu is the new Your View, which reveals a widget-based user interface. Selecting this option dropped me into the design mode, where I quickly picked from seven layouts and further personalised my home page by dragging widgets anywhere onto my design. Afterward, I easily edited a widget's properties — such as specifying that I wanted to "watch" certain users and be notified when they add content. RSS feeds and e-mail notifications are yet other ways to keep on top of changed content.

This customisation is just one aspect of Clearspace 2.0's expanded people focus. Another way Clearspace fosters interaction is through personal blogs, which you might think of as lightweight Facebook sites. To create one, you just select the space where it should appear. Moreover, editing a blog is much like writing a discussion or document; Clearspace has rich text and plain editors, along with moderator features and extended options for posting at a certain time.

Blogs are part of an expanded personal profile where you add information that might include interests, past employers, and expertise. By searching this area, Clearspace finds other users with similar backgrounds - basically a trimmed-down expertise search feature.

Further, Clearspace can combine profiles with information in LDAP and Active Directory servers to build a useful organisation chart. I believe configuring Clearspace in this way could give people even more facts about who they are working with and how a business is structured, which might lead to better collaboration opportunities.

Inside and out

Clearspace projects fall somewhere between a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and a full-blown project manager. Because you can quickly add tasks and checkpoints to a project calendar and easily update the status of jobs, I consider this a helpful feature.

I customised my project's page just as I'd done earlier with my main home page. In the case of projects, I added widgets that displayed discussion and documents related to the project — plus a list of tasks that required my attention.

Importantly, those outside your firewall (such as partners or vendors) can collaborate on documents; Clearspace handles this with a hybrid on-premise/SaaS (software as a service) technology that uses XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol). Put simply, you put your documents temporarily into an Internet cloud and invite people in, then bring those documents back inside Clearspace when you're done.

Clearspace 2.0 makes it even easier to find content. For example, I browsed by space, content type, and tags, and used a very accurate search function. Tags, an enhanced feature, bring Clearspace in line with other social software. In essence, tags are a community-made indexing system akin to keywords. As users tag content, the files appear in a tag cloud that visually groups information by popularity.

For SharePoint integration, Clearspace's search results include documents residing in SharePoint. You can then link to these documents from Clearspace discussions, documents, or blogs. My one wish is that — from Clearspace — you could edit Office files and then publish your changes directly back to SharePoint. This limitation isn't a major flaw, but it does mean an extra step of going into SharePoint when document revisions are required.

Admin tracks

For IT staff, Clearspace administration stays straightforward. From a Web page, I had no trouble managing spaces, granting users certain permissions, and configuring search. One new capability addresses the need for compliance. An auditing feature let me log all changes performed at the admin console.

Clearspace 2.0 makes a number of changes that further distances it from the pack of enterprise blog and wiki offerings. Still to be proven is whether this is enough to sway SharePoint users to purchase Clearspace as a complement. But with Clearspace's tight focus on people and work, compared to Microsoft's file orientation, I bet more than a few customers will run the two products. Clearspace would certainly be appropriate for departments and workgroups; the main thing you get with a large-scale deployment of Clearspace is being able to find expertise throughout the organisation.

The only creditable social software competitor I see in the enterprise space is Telligent's Community Server 2008, which is based on Microsoft .Net. Shortly Telligent will release an Intranet Edition that includes SharePoint and Exchange integration (for interacting with Community Server using Outlook) — plus some very interesting data warehouse reporting — for $US50 per seat.

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?