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Jive talking about a new CEO

Stuart Lauchlan Profile picture for user slauchlan November 4, 2014
Jive's turned in some good numbers, but took the market by surprise with a surprise stepping-down by CEO Tony Zingale.

Jive took the markets by surprise yesterday, turning in some decent revenue growth of 25%, a reduction in losses and, biggest shock of all, the CEO announced he’s stepping down.

Tony Zingale

Let’s take those in order. Total revenue for the third quarter was $46.6 million, up 25% year-on-year and comfortably exceeding Wall St consensus expectations of $44.31 million. Non-GAAP net loss for the third quarter was $2.7 million, compared to a net loss of $7.3 million for the same period last year.

It’s a fitting note for CEO Tony Zingale to step away from the top chair and hand over to CMO Elisa Steele, who becomes president and acting-CEO as part of the Office of CEO until a formal replacement can be found. This is expected to be in the first quarter of 2015.

While the lack of replacement hints at a hurried decision to leave, Zingale insists that this is a long-time planned move:

I've been Jive CEO for five years now and I've always had in mind as a member of the Board of Directors an effective and appropriate succession plan Even before Elisa joined Jive, I had my eye on her when she was at Skype and other places in the Valley. Since she's been here for 10 months, we've been partnering really closely on Jive's vision and strategy, product direction, branding, you name it.

We just felt that, the time was right to make this transition, as we end this year on a high point, as you said in your opening comment about the third quarter, as well as planning for next year, both our strategy and operating plan for the year, such that Elisa as part of the Office of the CEO would be accountable to the Board of Directors.

Zingale will be staying on board as Executive Chairman:

As we look ahead, I will continue to be engaged with the business in my new role as Executive Chairman focusing primarily on strategic customers and partner relationships. I will also provide strategic input to the Office of the CEO, as we execute the overall transition process.

I wanted to stay involved, hence the Executive Chairman role which is not a typical in the Valley, to be involved in strategic customer relationships and partners that I've been involved in for a very long period of time.

Zingale says that his time at the helm has provided insight into the needs of those customers:

Companies today increasingly recognize one of the most fundamental challenges they face in driving greater levels of engagement across their employees as well as with customers and partners. The volume and diversity of data and information consumed by individuals in the work place is continually expanding and it's imperative for companies to find solutions that can cut through the noise.

Solving this problem and bringing users not only the most relevant information, but also the tools to generate better outcomes with that data is a key strategic focus for a growing number of organizations.

A major challenge to solving this problem is the growing number of disparate systems, where relevant information is housed. Whether in traditional systems like Microsoft Office and SharePoint On-Premise or next generation cloud-based solutions like Office 365, Google Docs, Salesforce, Box and Dropbox.

The market is looking for an enterprise wide platform like Jive that can integrate with these systems and serve as the central hub that can pull the most relevant information from today's hybrid IT enterprise, giving users a common platform to work better together.

Customer focus

It’s a theme picked up by Steele who argues that Jive is getting better at articulating a value proposition to clients:

We've really doubled down over the last handful of months on our go-to-market strategy around portal, social internet and external communities, but what we've done in addition that, is we really created a more strategic layer of the messaging for the company and our value proposition to be more crystal clear.

We've also gotten very specific and tactical around those three focus areas to have very specific use cases that have a more clear defined buyer and a business problem that Jive is helping solve in those enterprises.

Elisa Steele

She adds that Jive addresses a specific cross-industry need:

It's become a business imperative for brands to engage and interact with their customers online in order to be competitive in today's digital age. High quality digital engagement is the essential for brands of all sizes, their relationship management, call deflection, brand affinity and overall customer experience.

We see customer demand across different size companies with a growing interest among mid-market companies who face the same needs are larger enterprises. As we've broaden our go-to-market efforts to these companies, we are capturing demand in a larger, addressable market opportunity.

As an example, she cites a recent win with SideCar, a San Francisco-based transportation network company that connects people for drive shares:

Where customer engagement is critical to their business success. SideCar's JiveX community, which they call the "Garage" is arguably one of the most important elements of their business, providing a shared voice among their corporate offices, network of drivers and their valued customers.

SideCar chose JiveX over other competitors for its ease of use, great mobile experience and simple and flexible configuration. Within the first month of the launch, 60% of their active driver community participated in the Garage.

Overall JiveX is bringing their community together encouraging and empowering their drivers to be ambassadors to their brand and helping build up their following with a quickly changing competitive environment.

And that competition is getting tougher, she concedes:

The competition in this market depending on how you define it, is definitely more active. We have lots of applications and platform vendors, adding social features to their environments.

The difference in Jive and how we are creating value in the market is that we are creating that social value around collaborating, around developing technology around people and how people get work done, all of the work that they need to get done happens in Jive.

It doesn't matter if it's happening in Microsoft, it doesn't matter if it's happening in Google. It doesn't matter if it's happening in other applications, maybe some of the smaller application vendors, everything seamless integrates back to Jive. This is super important because many of the social features that are out there today, work within the document, work within a task or work within a process, but they don't come together.

That's where Jive's value and that's what customers, our customers see value in Jive because there is really no such thing as a one vendor environment in enterprises today, and Jive can really be that place that brings it all together.

My take

Our Derek attended the recent Jive user conference in Las Vegas and was struck by the relatively low-key presence played by Zingale. That's that niggle explained then. We watch with interest to see how things roll out in what is an increasingly competitive cloud collaboration market.

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