Clearspace looks cool

Local company Jive Software is readying what appears to be an extremely compelling team collaboration suite called Clearspace. I’ve seen a lot of job postings for Jive in the pdxMindShare newsletter, but never really looked into what they were building. Nino pointed out the the cNet review which has some nice screenshots.

Clearspace looks to be bringing together blogs, wikis, forums, and document sharing into a single product, perfect for teams. Clearspace reminds me a lot of SharePoint, but who likes using SharePoint? I’d love an alternative and this looks like a good one. Sharing information on teams is often a pain. I know my current team at work has come back to email again (yuck) as the primary means of cummunication, even after installing SharePoint. Email is horrible for team communication as messages are easily lost and ignored, and they are often disruptive to workflow. We occasionally use the SharePoint forums, but most of the time people have to send an email pointing to the discussion because it’s just not part of the natural communication flow yet (not entirely SharePoint’s fault).

Blogs, forums, and wikis are ideal for team communication because they can be viewed out-of-bound from your current workflow. You can view them on your own schedule and can much easily filter unwanted information. Say I find a great new tool (like Firebug), I can simply blog about it instead of emailing everybody. Plus I can have related conversations on the forum thread or blog comment thread that only involve the interested parties. The biggest weakness of SharePoint is that it lacks good tools for knowledge sharing. It’s ok for documents, lists, and some wiki-like functionality. But, I’m looking forward to seeing the blogs, blog reading, and wiki tools in Clearspace, and if they can really help facilitate discussion and knowledge sharing.

Though it’s not likely we’ll see Clearspace adoption on my team, because it’s currently so Microsoft tool focused, I’ll still be interested in trying it out for my own interest for use on side and future projects.

If you’re interested in more on collaboration suites, see the WordPress/Knownow agreement and the Intel SuiteTwo release.

6 thoughts on “Clearspace looks cool

  1. hey Ryan,

    I believe we’re planning on having a free 5 user license when we launch (don’t quote me on that) so that you can try it out with a small group of people. Love your quote about Sharepoint:

    “… but who likes using SharePoint?”

    AJ

  2. The discussion of Clearspace and the fact that people tend to prefer EMAIL to such more sophisticated solutions remind me of a project I worked on some years ago. At that point I was a senior project manager with good organisational skills but limited technical skills, so I used a pretty simple bit of SW call MicroSoftProject. I had everyone in my team use it. Them my boss asked all his project managers to switch to a very sophisticated product called Cascade. It did everything, hugely sophisticated, with everything you could ask for and more. One of his managers switched his team over to it, I dragged my heals.

    Six months later my projects were still ticking over, but the projects of the other manager were in big trouble. His team (professional project managers) had all learned the new software but the people they worked with (salesmen, HW installers, etc.) simply didn’t have the time. Consequently, his team used one application and everyone they worked with used another. No wonder communication fell apart and so did the projects.

    Unfortunately, my boss spent mega-bucks on the new software and it was politically impossible to admit that it was a mistake. So the other team were forced to continue using it.

    The moral I learned is that a basic bit of software that everyone is comfortable with can be a lot better for communication than a really good bit of software that people aren’t comfortable with. Everyone is busy and most people just aren’t willing to invest the time in learing a new application. So, nice as Clearspace may be, whether it adds value is another question.

  3. Robert: all good points. Three things:

    a) the importance of email came up during one of our user acceptance testing rounds.. so we’re making a big effort to have everything in clearspace email enabled meaning you can receive a notification when almost anything in the system is updated via email.

    b) simplicity is also one of the things we’re aiming for: we’re want to make it as simple as possible for someone to get up and running with Clearspace.

    c) Maybe most importantly, Clearspace is not about project management , it’s about collaboration. It might seem like a trivial difference, but the point is that we’re not competing with Microsoft Project or Basecamp which exist mainly for coordination and scheduling. Clearspace is about fostering and aggregating ideas (blogs), documenting processes, meetings, regulations, etc (documents) and discussions (forums). You can still upload your Microsoft Project files as documents and have email notifications automatically sent to your team, but it’s much more than just project management.

    On that note, I listened to a great podcast by Ryan Freitas that talked about some of the cool new things coming in the collaboration space. We’re not mentioned, but he hits on a lot of the things we’ve got in Clearspace. Check it out here:

    http://www.itconversations.com/shows/detail1564.html

    AJ

  4. “Clearspace is about fostering and aggregating ideas (blogs), documenting processes, meetings, regulations, etc (documents) and discussions (forums).”

    Nicely put AJ. I’m working on selling this inside our organization. We’re buried under a mountain of email that could all be grouped under the three technologies you bring together.

    The main benefit I’m trying to bring everyone is that the information is persistent and searchable. If someone posts a blog about our competition and there is a resulting discussion a year from now the information might still be relevant. By comparison, we send emails with competitor news a discussion ensues and then the thread is most likely deleted. A waste in my opinion because the information inside the discussion may have future value.

  5. Clearspace and Telligent are business class products, which combine the popular tools of social software such as blogs, groups, projects, tasks, discussions, polls etc. By using them for your company every day needs, you will experience the improvement of the communication between customers and your personnel, which will increase the loyalty of your clientele and your public image. This is quite important, don’t you think so?

    One of the main tasks of every business is the creation of a solid team of colleagues. When every person is a part of a team, which works on a common task, the lively interest arises and joint efforts become more and more effective.

    If you want to find the best way to solve your issues in Marketing and human resources and allow your personnel to discuss the problems together and share the ideas, Clearspace and Telligent are the products of your choice. The rich functionality and the reliability are the factors, that made Jive and Telligent Community leaders of the social community products. More than 15% of Fortune 500 companies use these solutions in their every day work.

    You have the opportunity to purchase these products at a very affordable price, just contact me. Also professional team will help you to solve any configuration or usage issue.

    You can contact me by email or MSN, and I will answer all your questions and help you to make the right choice. Be sure that prices will surprise you.

    Best regards,
    Adarsh Mehta
    mail: Adarsh.webport@gmail.com
    msn: Adarsh.webport@gmail.com

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