Otherwise it looks a great product.
Excuse me, I should start at the beginning. I’ve been doing a roundup and tyre-kicking of community platforms, for several reasons. My favourite in the enterprise-class group has long been Jive Software, which as commented here has just experienced a product version change of a substantial type. Indeed it’s changed even its name.
Among the solid marketing blitz (pretty good materials in there) and the nice useful improvements (YouTube-lookalike, social bookmarking) there’s a couple of silver bullets in the shape of an analytics module and an “insights” module. The first one has the potential to serve and munch all that usage data any community manager craves, not to mention the managers behind them (it tracks every action by every user and makes it available for analysis). The second seems simpler but extremely powerful (it either tracks a set of words or helps identify the hot topics). Plus of course it’s built to be accessed as a service from any other app, and to integrate whatever widget you care to throw at it.
The complete product looks as solid as you can ask for. I’ve been tinkering with the beta (for some reason they were allowing an unlimited version to be downloaded instead of a time-limited demo, which is nice) and found very few limitations. The interface’s peculiar but effective. And I imagine the API’s are up to the rest.
The content, conversation and user management are nothing you can’t find among its competitors (I’m still an Invision Power Board customer) but the power of a modern, safe, accesible Java architecture feels nice and can make a difference in some environments. And the analysis features are a clincher, or so it seems from the webcasts (the modules are not available in my install).
On the other hand, I’ve been definitely made unconfortable by the fixation with calling a “community” a “marketplace” that pervades their new presentations and webcasts. OK, so we all believe that markets are conversations so (if we feel the need) conversation venues might be called marketplaces… but it still feels like trying to nail a new name on an old concept in the hope of avoiding the commoditisation that’s falling on most social media tools.
Well, whatever. I still hope to be able to attend the next webcast, with customer use cases from Cisco and Nike (although it overlaps with Lithium’s own interesting offering for April 9th)… and I hope Pete D., the account manager, has deigned return my third message by then :-D. See you there.