IBM Connections versus Jive Software

If you are selecting social-collaboration software for your large enterprise that hasn't committed 100% to Microsoft, then you might encounter this question: IBM Connections or Jive Software?  The similarities between both these longstanding products are many. 

So many similarities...

  • Both are among the marketshare and mindshare leaders
  • Both are based on Java
  • Both are complex products with a wide range of functionality
  • Both involve fairly long implementation cycles
  • Both require considerable professional services help
  • Both have large ecosystems of implementation partners
  • Both are expensive products to procure and implement
The list goes on but you get the idea...

Interestingly, the customer satisfaction ratings are also similar. See this chart from an RSG customer survey on enterprise social-collaboration software. 

Customer Satisfaction ratings for IBM Connections and Jive Software

Figure 1: Customer satisfaction for IBM Connections and Jive. Source: RSG Social-Collaboration Survey. 

And some differences...

You have to look carefully for some nuanced differences

  • Product innovation tends to be faster at Jive
  • But as a company, IBM is on a more solid footing
  • The user community around Jive appears more active
  • IBM's support organization has a larger global footprint

Based on RSG's conversations with large enterprise customers, we can identify several other key differentiators.


Thus far, it's a close call. We have to look beyond to something larger to decide. Your Use Cases. 

  • What specific applications are you most interested in? 
  • Discussion forum-oriented use cases? 
  • Document-centric collaboration? 
  • Innovation Management? Social Q&A? 
  • Or you looking to move the needle on collaboration with external partners?
  • What specific business processes are you looking to socialize? 

Think of one of the great tennis rivalries of our time. Federer vs. Nadal.  At the French Open, you'd bet on Nadal. But at the Wimbledon, you'd back Federer. Ditto for Jive or IBM Connections. Think of the arena in which they will play and pick accordingly. 

Of course, there are other players besides Rafa and Roger. And, our Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software research evaluates two dozen other vendors. 



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