There is no single collaboration platform that will be all things to all people.
There. We said it.
Surprised? If you’ve been living and working in the growing and changing “digital workplace” for the last 10 years, you are probably not surprised at all. There are many scenarios that would dictate the need for a particular tool, and many factors that play into that need, such as job type, industry, job field, or even just human personality. So it is no wonder that companies often find themselves questioning whether they are using the right tool, and even switching tools on a fairly regular basis.
With the recent acquisition of Jive Software by ESW Capital and the Aurea family of companies, Talk Social to Me has fielded more than a handful of phone calls from companies who are wondering if they should consider changing vendors when their contracts are up. We love Jive’s product and especially its people, who are some of the best collaboration pros in the industry. But we also are acutely aware of what happens during an acquisition, and we realize that many decisions are now out of the hands of the Jive team that we know and trust.
So You Want to Switch From Jive to Workplace by Facebook
Workplace by Facebook is one of the most talked-about enterprise social products on the market right now. It combines the slick, easy-to-use and mobile-friendly aspects of consumer Facebook with traditional enterprise functions like SSO, directory integration, and security. Companies like Starbucks are launching Workplace to unite everyone in an organization, from store managers to the CEO.
However, Jive and Workplace can’t be compared as apples to apples; if Jive is the astute eldest sister quietly studying to earn her full scholarship to Harvard Medical School, Workplace is the younger, happy-go-lucky, computer-programming and barrel-racing cousin who is wicked smart, doesn’t succumb to peer pressure, and is voted “Most Popular” at school.
Companies considering migrating from Jive to Workplace need to consider some significant differences in the products and account for them prior to making the move. For example:
- Spaces, sub-spaces, and projects that can be nested in Jive don’t have an analogy in Workplace. Workplace has a flat group structure—meaning that groups cannot have sub-groups. Migrating from Jive will require admins to optimize for this flat structure and use active directory permissions or group access permissions to control membership.
- Tiles, widgets, and banners that are highly customized in Jive don’t have an analogy in Workplace. Workplace is a SaaS tool, which means that customization on a per-group level is minimal (Workplace is cloud-native, its code gets frequent updates; there are no upgrade windows and the updates appear like magic). The good news? Group admins can spend time working and promoting community behavior rather than fidgeting with HTML tiles and creating custom header graphics. The bad news? Workplace’s feed-based system makes static content more challenging to keep static, requiring admins to think about what information gets pinned and what information can stay in the feed.
- Deep linking of content and moving content is available in Jive, but the content model is different in Workplace. Many Jive users made a habit of @mentioning a piece of content, which was made incredibly simple because Jive offered suggestions of people, places, and content to mention as you typed up your posts. Additionally, in Jive, moving posts from place to place was easy to achieve. In Workplace, posts live where they are first posted and cannot be moved (though they can be ‘shared’ across groups). And, while you can copy and paste a link to another post by using the URL of the post’s timestamp, the process is more cumbersome. This requires a bit more intention on a user’s part when posting, and really lends itself better to organizations using third-party document storage for content storage (rather than storing everything in Jive as a repository). Workplace also has integrations with various content services to address this—more on that below.
Ready to Make your Move?
Here is a handy guide to get you started thinking about what a move might require. Keep in mind that we subscribe to the “It doesn’t have to be complicated” methodology in work, life, and all things community management. We do recommend a clean, clear, simple plan that puts the onus on users to move their own content, if desired and appropriate (in our experience, up to 90 percent of content in an old ESN doesn’t get migrated, and that’s by choice). This can take two-to-three months assuming you communicate expectations up front and support users with webinars, office hours, and personal consultations as needed. We don’t recommend licensing a third-party tool to automate data migration, and we don’t recommend spending hundreds-of-thousands of dollars with an outside firm to run this “change management” process. You can tackle this yourself—we have faith in you. While moving some of your stuff over will be a manual process, it doesn’t have to be a cluster. Here are some easy steps to make your switch successful:
- See ya (wouldn’t wanna be ya!). Start with an evaluation of your groups in Jive and perform a group clean-up. While some folks might have great intentions when they started their group, competing priorities can cause a group to fall by the wayside. As you switch from Jive to Workplace, now is a great opportunity to “clean up” the community and hone in on the active groups that will need more attention. To get started, in the Jive Community Reports, run a “Places Activity” report. With this report, you can easily get a quick look at the activity in the groups as well as when they’ve been created. Remove inactive groups, or groups with little activity in the last three months. You now have a list of the best groups to migrate proactively to Workplace.
- This is your captain speaking. When you have a clear idea about top groups and your timeline to move, conduct an information campaign about the move to all users. Update the Jive homepage to announce the move and use a countdown timer to add a sense of urgency. Create announcements in Jive to reinforce the message, and begin directing users to the new community on Workplace if appropriate. You may want to email—yes, email—all Jive group admins with the news, just in case they haven’t logged in in a while. The more clear your communications are, the less likely your users are to come back and say, “I didn’t know.”
- What’s the word? Your group admin communication strategy is going to be important for helping employees get on board with your switch from Jive to Workplace—in mind and spirit! Reach out to the top group admins and make sure they are aware of the change that is coming. As leaders of their group, the group admins are your contact point for each group and should be leveraged to help facilitate the move; your job is to support them, and ask them to directly support their users. Offer them special training opportunities so that they can get on board faster. While Workplace is easy enough to learn (#becauseFacebook), a training session might be best focused on the idea of “How do I use this for WORK?” since many users encounter the “Facebook is for Fun” hurdle. To get started, you can find a list of your Jive group admins in the Jive Places Activity Report.
- Get your move on. Let’s face it—no software company is ever going to spend time, effort, and money making sure that their platform is “easily migrate-able” to another platform. Sure, there are some possibilities, but the outcome sometimes ends up looking messy in the end. When moving items from Jive to Workplace, here are some options:
- For files that were uploaded into Jive (PPT, Word, Excel, videos, images): When making the switch from Jive to Workplace, you should consider carefully which files you want in your Workplace group and why. Workplace is not intended as the “be all, end all” document repository, but you can upload files into your group for easy accessibility. It is often a good idea to keep frequently-used files such as FAQs, team norms, templates, or schedules, within your group. Simply upload the original file into your Workplace group. If you are not sure where that file resides, you can download it from your Jive group by first viewing the file, then clicking on the attached file to download.
If you have many files that you need to keep track of and organize, Workplace has content integrations with Box, OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, and more. You can post a link from one of these platforms right in your Workplace group and metadata or image previews will appear, depending on the platform and permissions of the shared document.
- For content created within Jive posts (documents, questions, discussions, blog posts): These items must be saved as PDFs in Jive by using the Actions Menu, then saved or uploaded into your Workplace group. For some items, this may make sense. For others, such as discussions/questions, it doesn’t really make sense to bring over an older conversation. However, some discussions yield great information that you might want to keep for posterity. For example, great discussions can often become transformed into a group FAQ—if any of your discussions fit this description, then go ahead and save them for future use. Even a manual copy/paste of important discussions could suffice if you need to catalog the conversation. Again, if an individual or group admin believes that a piece of content is important enough to keep, instruct them to take the liberty of migrating the information in whatever way they think is best. This reduces the burden on program administrators and helps users learn the new tool.
- Polls and Events: You cannot “view as PDF” for these two content types in Jive. If you need to save the content within a poll or event, use your browser’s “Save” or “Save as” options to save the item as a PDF. If you are saving a poll, be sure to click on “show results” before you save the poll.
5. It’s not “Meow” or “Ruff-ruff!” Remember that Workplace is a different animal than Jive. Intended for easy conversation and collaboration, Workplace allows you to pick and choose which groups you want to be involved in and adjust your notifications accordingly. There is no “front page” on which to surface numerous links to other content or places—these items must now be shared within the feed. It definitely serves a different purpose than Jive, delivers a different experience, and keeps the activity focused on the conversation and connecting.
The Bottom Line
When companies have asked us about switching from Jive to Workplace, we have started every conversation with, “What are you trying to achieve by bringing your employees together in a single online hub?” There is no correct answer, as our advice completely depends on the business goals and values that a company hopes to achieve. And, the strategy that a company created when launching Jive five years ago may need to change to take advantage of an evolving workforce and new technology offerings. Making the switch from Jive to Workplace can be one of the steps on this journey but, at the same time, sticking with a current Jive implementation may be the least disruptive choice if your organization is not ready for a cultural and transformative digital shift. It always depends; no two companies are the same.
If you’re interested in making the move or learning more about how you might consider switching from Jive to Workplace, let’s connect! We are happy to listen and share ideas on how you might benefit from the move.
About the authors:
Carrie Basham Young is the Principal of Talk Social to Me and holds the unofficial world record for having the most collaboration tool browser tabs open at one time (7: Yammer, Jive, Workplace, Chatter, Slack, Socialcast, and G-Suite). You can typically bribe her to wax poetic about your company’s collaboration strategy over a strong Americano or a glass of Bordeaux.
Melissa Rosen grew up with rotary phones with long spiral cords, quad roller skates, and TVs with rabbit ears. She still reads books, but nonetheless finds social media applications fascinating and is convinced of their value in the workplace. Melissa has worked as an internal community manager for the last seven years. Helping employees find a better — and more enjoyable — way to get their work done is always the highlight of her day.