Social collaboration and community are essential parts of digital life inside the enterprise and in departments such as customer service and support. In this episode, we talk with Elisa Steele, CEO of social collaboration vendor Jive Software.

In this role, Elisa is responsible for leading and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company. Prior to that, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Products, where she was responsible for Jive’s vision and end-to-end global marketing and product functions. She also served as Jive’s CMO. Prior to Jive, Elisa was corporate vice president and chief marketing officer of consumer apps and services at Microsoft, including brands such as Bing, Internet Explorer, Lync, MSN,Outlook.com and Skype, among others. Prior to this role, Elisa was the chief marketing officer at Skype, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Yahoo! and senior vice president of corporate marketing at NetApp.

Video Transcript: Enterprise Social Collaboration with Elisa Steele, CEO, Jive Software

Michael:

(00:01) Welcome to episode number 143 of CXOTalk, I’m Michael Krigsman and today we are speaking with Elisa Steele who is the CEO of Jive Software and we’re going to talk about enterprise collaboration. Elisa how are you?

Elisa:

(00:21) I’m good. I’m excited to be on CXOTalk. Hi Michael!

Michael:

(00:25) Hi, well thank you so much. You’ve had such an interesting career. You’ve done so many different things and this topic of enterprise collaboration is such an important one, so I really appreciate you taking the time.

Elisa:

(00:39) You bet.

Michael:

(00:40) So Elisa, let’s start by tell us briefly about your career history, the things that you’ve done just so that we have some context about you.

Elisa:

(00:51) Sure I started my career in sales actually and then moved so marketing and honestly from the very beginning of my career I have always been very interested in how people work together. And over the course of my career like all of us technology has changed incredibly, so it changes the way that you communicate, it changes the way you work with team.

(01:15) And so I’ve always been fascinated with this idea about collaboration, and of course as many of us have gone to different types of schools and education, and graduate school, collaboration becomes more and more important. And so, here I am now, it never really knew I would be where I am now, but you know leading a company, a team of people who really believe in how to help people work really strongly together to achieve great things.

(01:45) So I feel lucky now that every day I wake up to come to work, it’s really about something that’s been a passion of mine for a very long time. And I’ve worked in tech on different positions in different companies and have had exposure to so many different types of technologies and avenues of how to communicate with mass audiences and the consumer world or with smaller and more focused work groups in the enterprise world. So I’ve had the you know, opportunity to be exposed to a lot of different things.

Michael:

(02:17) And I know that you were CMO at Yahoo and other places, but tell us about Jive. Give us a sense of the size of Jive and your market so give us context there.

Elisa:

(02:35) Sure so jive is about a $200 million public company. We offer, sell and evangelize services that help people work together across diverse locations, diverse work groups, different types of work processes and we provide software and really cool technology to help people do that on any device wherever they are.

(03:00) We’re about a 700 person company, we believe in the power of human centricity, and using technology connect the best ideas in the world. And we have locations all around the world. We have people at our company who work from all different locations, and we are probably the best used case of our technology. We wake up and use it every day and use it to connect with fellow Jiver’s around the globe as well as our customers.

Michael:

(03:30) So as CEO describe your role.

Elisa:

(03:37) Well as CEO I feel that I’m the champion for all things related to the company and our success. Sometimes the champions are the customers, sometimes it’s the champion of our employees and of course, it’s the champions of our shareholders and I like to represent and I like to dig in deep, where we have issues, challenges and problems to solve.

(04:08) We’re a very flat company from the standpoint of we all work together on the key things that we are trying to drive, so as CEO I want to make sure that all the different teams have the resources, the tools, the empowerment to work on what they’re doing and create the best that they can and really have the vision and the inspiration to move the needle.

(04:34) I believe in decision making at all levels in the company. I believe the people who are the closest to the work and closest to the customers know the most, and should be empowered to make those decisions and move the ball forward on the line. So every day I wake up as CEO, I want to champion people’s success in the company, and I want to champion our customers to succeed in what they are trying to achieve.

Michael:

(04:58) So that’s a key part of what you do is focusing on the activities that the folks inside the company are doing and making sure that those activities are connected to customer needs.

Elisa:

(05:11) And that they’re the right thing, so I think you know myself along with the executive team create focus for the company’s so that we are really working on the things that we think are meaningful to create the best results.

(05:25) And as CEO I think it’s super important to be connected to the market. What’s happening with the market, how are people changing, what is it that is the next thing to be able to help people solve operational problems and be the best at that.

Michael:

(05:42) So as you’re speaking with your customer, what are some of the key collaboration issues that you observe?

Elisa:

(05:53) You know I think in today’s world in general even talking before Jive and what we do with our customers, today’s world in general has dramatically and significantly changed and it’s going to change faster and faster every time we have access to new technology.

(06:09) So we’re seeing these shorter turnaround times for change, and in our business because we are all about productivity, getting work done, being engaged, driving to the right mission, those technology changes matter a tremendous amount because people form habits of how they connect with people and how they get their work done.

(06:29) And what we want to do at Jive is always give them the ability to have access to things that helped them do a better job. And so as the world continues to evolve around new technology, Jive thinks about and we think about how do we help people to have access to the right technology at the right moment.

(06:50) We also have a changing workforce in a pretty major way, because of technology we can all be remote. Look at this interview, we’re doing you know there’s hang out interview with people from wherever and all over the place, you know contributing to today’s show. And you don’t have to be in the office, you don’t have to be in a certain location. And so we have employees and workforces spread all over the world. We have multi-generational workforces, who have different habits of how they grew up and what they are comfortable with.

(07:22) And we have different styles of work. People learn differently and they interact differently, and so technology can be used in ways that are more adventitious for one individual’s style versus another individual style. So, if you put all of that out I really believe that when we talk about and the industry talks about the future of work, I think it’s really right now today that is so different. And if you haven’t been able to really learn, and adapt, and embrace new technologies with how you interact with people then you’re probably not able to keep pace.

(07:56) And so it’s a fast-moving industry, testing and trailing all of the time, and I think because of the change in the workforce that means that we change the nature of the way that we work on our business and with our customers, I think that technology enables us to actually be more acceptable to our customers and have more unique, genuine, authentic dialogue.

Michael:

(08:19) So you know all of this it’s so interesting to hear you describe this, this digital world that is so geographically dispersed which means that we’re bringing all of these different kinds of people and different roles and different locations together. And so what does all of that mean from the standpoint of effective collaboration and collaboration is the backbone of accomplishing anything in any organization.

Elisa:

(08:48) So there’s a pretty significant challenge going on in the workforce around what people may call talent wars and we’re all competing for that talent to be able to contribute to your company, your mission, your objectives. And to do that you’ve got to provide an environment which people can be their best and they feel that there’s not a lot of friction in how they can actually achieve their goals. It’s super important to stand up as employees, spending time as a full-time employee in your company is shortening and shortening. That creates productivity issues.

(09:25) So the environment for collaboration, the environment for an individual to be able to get their work done with ease and simplicity is critically critically important. We also know that as companies are moving forward to stay connected with their customers, everybody is digitizing their business. The front office, the back office, everything in between.

(09:50) And to be connected to your customers in a way that’s very intimate but in a digital world, not only on massive social public networks, but how do you connect with your customers in a way that’s meaningful through digital technology.

(10:06) You know today about 30% of companies are working with their customer communities through digital technology is a very low percentage. But these companies that are really doing it well, can actually demand a premium in the marketplace because customers feel so much more connected that they get value, they drive engagement with other customers, they learn faster, they’re more affiliated with your products and service. And companies reap the benefits from that from being able to have a premium relationship, which leads to higher margins, higher ability to retain customers.

(10:44) It’s predicted by a couple of analyst firms that by the end of 2017 there’ll be 80% of companies with digital communities for their customers, because it is becoming really critical to that adventitious and that high-value relationship.

(11:00) So I think this world of how do we communicate in this digital world that’s really exploded in the consumer world, and its exploded in the back office of companies. Now the next thing I think is all about how you use this digital technology to bring your customers in and have a very meaningful relationship, not only between the brand and the customer but the customers of the same brand.

Michael:

(11:24) So the notion then is how do we use these types of technologies to create intimacy with our customers and to help our customers create intimacy with their customers.

Elisa:

(11:40) That’s right and value that is exchanged that creates you know creates a positive business result and brand affinity, and that value sometimes is around productivity. Sometimes that value is around early understanding of technology. But mostly that value is about how do you help that leader in that company solves their key business problems. And if you can do that in a digital, smart connected way then they are going to stay pretty darn close to you.

Michael:

(12:11) And so how does collaboration technology help do that?

Elisa:

(12:17) You know collaboration technology I bet most of your listeners and viewers would agree it’s changing all the time, and in this industry there’s always new technology that you can go try. This is a time where I think that the merging market, which has been very different in the past as just a view players, there’s an opportunity for increased innovation, increased pace because of all the entrants that are coming into this market.

(12:47) Everyone needs and wants to be able to work in a better way. What do I mean by that? You know, I really believe that because of technology breaking down barriers, the lifestyle we lead every day is what we expect at work now. We don’t expect to you know, go home, have our personal life, hang our hat at the door when we walk into work, and now we have our work persona.

(13:13) It’s actually all integrated, because sometimes we are working from home, sometimes we are working from in our car. Sometimes we’re in the office and we are connected to some part of our personal life, whether it be our kids or significant others that we’ve got to connect to. We ‘re constantly using technology all day long.

(13:32) So I believe in this concept that lifestyle has translated to our work style, and if you can create a work style in your organization that really welcomes that concept and brings people into it, you’re going to get higher productivity, you’re going to drive more employee engagement.

(13:53) You know how much economic waste is in our economy of disengaged employees? There’s actually a 2-to-1 ratio between disengaged employees and engaged employees. Of course, we all want people who are engaged working on our brand and in our company, and in our mission.

(14:10) So once you have the right employees who’s engaged, you’ve got to be able to stay connected and to be able to give them the environment to really give their best at work every day, and then you’re going to get that high-value relationship.

Michael:

(14:26) And obviously collaboration is a key part of it, so for you as CEO I’m assuming this is something that you must be thinking about all the time.

Elisa:

(14:38) Well the thing I live it actually I really live it all the time and it’s why Jive was such a great fit for me, all the different companies that I’ve work for in my career and thinking about what I want to do next. It was really about for me personally, culture. What’s the environment that I want to work in that is really compatible with my style, and can bring out the best in how I want to work with people.

(15:06) And jive as I mentioned, culture is extremely special. It’s very open, we work together across all of our functions, across all of our levels in the organization to solve problems, solve our customers problems and to you know create excitement and plans for the innovation that we are doing inside the company. And we work in small teams, and we work in larger departments, we work across the company and that’s where you know, I get a lot of energy from that. I have a lot of passion around that.

(15:38) And I believe companies who really embrace this culture to attract the best talent, are the ones who ultimately do better. As a matter of fact, as most companies do we survey our own customers all the time. Every stat you look at in the marketplace of other you know third parties doing studies around the future of work; you’ll see all the kinds of trends that I’ve talked about today.

(16:07) But specifically we also want to know well how do our Jive customers actually use the product and get business results, and we’ve recently completed a survey that is absolutely you know insightful for us as our customers who use our product every day, report back on average there is almost a 30% increase in productivity in their company. They report that there is almost 30% decrease in their ability in terms of time in on boarding people and getting them ready to be able to do a really good job for their company.

(16:44) And this is super important because if you’re adding productivity and your decreasing the actual time that it takes people to be productive, then you are really driving the right business results.

Michael:

(16:55) So Jive is a public company but you’re not the size of a General Motors or an Intel and if we think about very large organizations that face these cultural challenges to such an extreme degree, how can collaboration or what can these companies do to help drive culture and harness it in the way that you’re describing. It’s just so much difficult in a larger organization.

Elisa:

(17:29) It is and it isn’t. So this is a great question to talk a little bit about because culture, I don’t think is defined by size. It’s really defined by leadership, and what does leadership want out of the company and what do they encourage in terms of behaviour that is around that culture and supporting that culture.

(17:48) We see companies, we see huge companies PWC, Cisco, many other big companies use jive across their entire enterprise, and use Jive as a hub for people to be able to get their work done across many different systems. Jive is a place where people can go to find the things that they need to get their job done. It’s a place where they can collaborate and connect with small workgroups or larger departmental news. And in companies that have leadership that really embraces that culture, it’s extremely valuable and people are very very engaged.

(18:27) We also see the same behaviour in smaller companies, because we don’t really look at it at the market in a traditional way in terms of this size company needs this size of solution, because what we see is multiple size companies have the same types of issues or problems they want to solve around connecting their workforce, uniting their team against the mission, and then creating value with their customers by driving digital strategies.

(18:55) So even at the smaller end of the market we have companies like GoDaddy and many other companies in the growing part of the market, Mapout is another example where they’re using technology like Jive to get their work done every day and connect and unify that workforce.

(19:20) It is a competitive advantage to have everybody working on the right things that are going to advance the company’s agenda, and so I think it’s not about size it’s about culture and it’s about leadership.

Michael:

(19:32) That’s a very interesting point, and so what are the leadership attributes or the steps that a company should take in order to align the culture as what you we’re saying to get people inside connected and to bring customers closer to the company and bring the people inside the company closer to the customers.

Elisa:

(19:57) I think about three things really. One is that the culture of the company needs to embrace different work styles. There’s really an important change in the workforce that’s going on that we talked about earlier on around multi-generational, multi-location, diversity of thinking that companies really need to be able to embrace so they can have that level of you know connection and diversity in the workforce. So embracing those different diverse work styles and then giving them the tools to be able to work across that together.

(20:30) The second is to empower and engage employees, so it’s not just enough to kind of individually give the tools, but how do you empower your employees to be able to use those tools to make decisions, move things forward and have empowerment.

(20:44) The third is to engage customers on customer’s terms not on your company’s terms. I think the world has completely changed in how brands are managed. It’s not really about who you think you are, it’s who you truly are in the minds of your customers. How do they see what you’re doing of value or not of value, and they really own the connection to your brand. You have to do deeply understand how customers are perceiving you, and then drive your strategy, and your company strategy and your brand around making sure that you have great insights there.

(21:21) So I would say individual work styles, super important. The engagement of employees that at every level from team to group, to department to company, and then how you’re digitizing and creating customer connection, your customers, and that creates a community of interest that then can be used to help your prospects understand your special value propositions that is unique and differentiated.

Michael:

(21:50) So focusing on collaboration this way creates a kind of coherence inside the company around the identity of what the company is but that needs to recognize how customers see the company.

Elisa:

(22:11) Absolutely, I think you know there’s a real understanding in the market today that customers, you know the shift of customers having so much accessibility to your brand, to your company, to your other customers has change the ways that companies need to manage and create strategy.

(22:35) It’s all about how technology has exploded. It’s all about the fact that you can go to a public network and you know right your opinion as an individual customer or consumer, and that can actually impact others views of your company and impact your own company’s actions. So this shift from the company really owns how they are going to message, is really moving to the customers and your prospects on how you’re perceived. And it becomes so much more transparent in the marketplace that you’ve got to take it into account in terms of how you manage the business.

Michael:

(23:16) Elisa we have a question from Twitter from Arsalan Khan and this is an interesting one and he asks what kind of cultural barriers do you see among your customers when they’re trying to embrace collaboration.

Elisa:

(23:34) I love this question, this question is actually the heart of understand how to break through the barriers, because you can have the best technology. You can have the best product, and you can even have all of it available to your employees and then it doesn’t work. Why is that? Is because of either two things, one, the culture doesn’t support it and two, the people don’t embrace it. So it’s really all about the people

(24:07) And what we’ve found is that customers who have leadership orientation around all the things we’ve talked about today, embracing the work style, driving a more transparent culture, making sure that their workforce is aligned to their mission, driving to the transparency that the modern workplace expects today. That is super important to be able to adopt and drive the right technology in your organization.

(24:40) Otherwise what happens people do one or two things. So either find the technology and the stuff they want anyways and it will be siloed off in a particular area in the organization, which means that doesn’t have as much power. Or two, they don’t stay at the company, and they move onto a place that really makes sense for them. And so it’s super important in the collaboration business that technologies don’t just focus on that technology. You’ve got to innovate and have the best approach to that.

(25:11) You also have to understand people, and how people react and change. The best ways we found on that either is the culture is compatible from the get go, or there’s a champion in the organization who really believes in the model and once the culture to evolve. That tends to be someone pretty high up in the organization. It could be a CEO or someone from the C-suite who is really driving the transformational change that that company is trying to achieve in their world. So it’s always people plus technology; it can never be one or the other.

Michael:

(25:49) So you raise a really interesting point and when companies are building a community or trying to foster collaboration there’s always the fear that we’ll build it and no one will come so that adoption won’t be there. And so what are the things that a company that is trying to build a community that needs to do in order to encourage adoption and broad dissemination and use of this collaboration technology.

Elisa:

(26:20) Yeah, I mean we found that once teams start to adopt the different way to work that it can be very visible in the organization and others start to participate. Is really getting to this use case of a particular solution that is going to address the business problem that company is trying to solve, and then having a change management programme and capabilities alongside the technology.

(26:50) Now once the transformation starts to take hold, a lot of our Jive customers say this to us, you know they say, I could never go back to the way I used to work. Because what they’ve found in working this way is that they get much greater results, much greater fulfilment, much greater connection. And many times when our customers may be move on from one company to the next company, one of the first things that they try to champion is to bring Jive into that company.

(27:19) Because just as our habits of the past kind of bring as long to today, once you develop a habit in how to work this way that’s extremely empowering and very productive, you don’t want to give it up.

Michael:

(27:33) Makes sense, once you do it you don’t want to go back. So a few more comments from Twitter, so Christopher Kelly says congratulations on your growth and being on the Deloitte 500.

Elisa:

(27:48) Hi Chris thank you!

Michael:

(27:51) We have great participants with CXOTalk. And Bob Rothman asks an interesting question, he says how do you align people when diverse points of view are so strong and they’re coming from a great place.

Elisa:

(28:10) Did you say that was Bob?

Michael:

(28:11) Bob Rothman.

Elisa:

(28:13) Okay Bob that’s a great question and I think I’m going to tell a story for that one. You know, when people work together there’s always a different level of communication in different types of team, and when you work very openly a very interesting thing can happen, which is the team, the best ideas actually rise to the top.

(2834) I have an experience where we were doing a big idea jam around a certain topic and there was hundreds of people involved in this idea jam, and it was very very visible. And you know the whole concept of an idea jam you know is like a hackathon or a half-day in engineering, you want to actually take the best ideas and do something with them.

(29:00) Maybe it’s not to create a product but you want to take action, you want to drive a new program, you want to make an executive decision. And people get involved and there is so much diversity of opinion and you’re exactly right. Some of the ideas can be actually non-productive or unproductive and you start to see, oh my gosh what if that affects you know the whole group that is participating here, groups with that idea and what the heck am I going to do about it.

(29:29) And what I see time and time again, whether it’s this idea jam that I’m referring to all whether it’s what you would call ‘bad behaviour’ or you know difficult situations, people actually self-correct and they bring the best ideas and people tend to rally around those ideas and then lift them up.

(29:52) And this is what I think that is so inspiring about open technology and sharing ideas, and about working in this kind of manner is that people can really get unified to how they are going to move forward, because of the fact that there is diversity of opinions. If you put that altogether and then drive a decision around it, you tend to get most people on board.

(30:14) I think this is an incredible way of management and I think it’s an incredible way of hearing diverse opinions, so everything can be considered before a decision is made. I do believe it super important that in today’s culture to be able to say, this is what we are considering and you go through all of those motions of diversity and opinion and the thought and all of that, and then you have to have a clear process of who is making the decisions and then how you move forward and execute together. But when you do it that way, your teams come long versus feeling like well, what about my ideas.

Michael:

(30:49) So it’s a matter of having the right environment along with the technology and that kind of sense of inclusiveness where the diversity of opinion matters, but at the end of the day we are going to go for the idea that seems to be the best idea.

Elisa:

(31:06) And on the flip side of Bob’s question is true to, which is ideas were hidden in organizations before, how could you find ideas in the corners of organizations, they’re in remote locations, they’re in other areas of the company you couldn’t, because you couldn’t lift them up to be so visible and be so apparent to others, and now with technology you can do that.

(31:31) We have so many stories in our customer base of ideas that were never known to the company that then solved really critical problems once the organization developed a different way to work. We have one customer who tells us a story about an entirely new revenue generating product line because the way that they change the way that they worked and they were starting to bring forward ideas that wow, like these are ideas that we actually want to execute against.

(32:01) We have another customer who tells us a story about a systemic technology problem that was in the company for many years. And after using and embracing these work styles and different ways to work, they would actually literally be able to solve this problem with a particular remote team, who came up with a unique idea to solve it. They executed it, and after several years of having this issue, they were able to solve it you know within a matter of months with focus. But it was never surface before because this particular team never even knew that they could contribute to solving that problem. So I think it works in both directions, optimizing to the best decisions.

Michael:

(32:41) You know it’s interesting that you brought that up, because the next thing I was going to ask you about is the use of collaboration for innovation, which is basically you just described.

Elisa:

(32:53) Yeah I mean collaboration is technology about getting work done and access and ease. User experience is incredibly important to us we’re really, I think a really interesting company in terms of the mix of we have an enterprise strength, it really a hard core technology for the enterprise. And at the same time its consumer friendly and user experience, so that users have a really simple and accessible way to use the product.

(33:28) So, yes I think it’s used critically to get work done. It’s also used to create great ideas and to share ideas, and for innovation. Many of our customers use our products for the story I said Michael, but also to go beyond that on how do we use it to innovate together, where we are bringing ideas together from all over the organization and by the way outside the organization, and going back to why are companies more and more developing customer collaboration areas and using external communities. Because customers have great ideas to. When they are engaged and working with you in a relationship that I described earlier, they’re actually bringing ideas to the table for your company as well.

Michael:

(34:19) Well that kind of co-creation or co-innovation, or co-partnership is if you can do that with your customers you know in terms of buying signals, there’s no better buying signal, because if you are collaborating directly with your customers they’re in it with you.

Elisa:

(34:39) I think you said it perfectly Michael, and I think that’s one of the core reasons why the market sees this business growing so much over the next year, two years because if you are not actually doing that today you’re either thinking about it, or you’re going to see your competitors doing it and you’re going to start to do it as well. But I think we are only on the beginning, only on the beginning of this journey.

Michael:

(35:02) So let’s talk about user experience and you mentioned that is extremely important at Jive, so maybe you can share a little bit of your thinking, and some of the things that you’re doing at Jive around that.

Elisa:

(35:15) Sure, Jive was a pioneer in this industry in a really great way, really developed this whole concept and category in business to be able to look socially and openly, and all the things that we talked about.

(35:30) With that said, it’s really not about having feature and function and being able to to have all of these different things that you can do with the platform. It’s actually about can it solve my problem in an easy and simple way. And so we’ve really evolved our strategy from all of the things that we can provide from the feature innovation standpoint, to how do we make those features and innovations available in a simple, beautiful, smart interface.

(36:03) Because, remember I mentioned the concept of our lifestyle has created an impacted our work style, we absolutely expect why would be go to work and think, okay, now we want to work with crappy applications, we want to work with beautiful applications because we work with them all day long on our phones and on our tablets, and on our computers in our personal life. So that’s what work is about, so why wouldn’t we want it as easy and as simple at work.

(36:33) So our philosophy on user experience is that it needs to be simple, a needs to be beautiful and elegant from the standpoint of interacting with the technology and it needs to be smart so that it delivers content and context to Michael, who is running his business that’s different in the content and context that it delivers to me or one of my colleagues.

(36:58) And so we’re using technology to make sure that experience is simple and beautiful, but at the same time it’s totally relevant to you and delivers the content that you need on the timelines you need it, because you have different needs in your job than I do.

Michael:

(37:15) So we’ve only got about seven minutes left, but this is a very important point and can you elaborate a little bit on this notion of content and context, and especially in the enterprise with collaboration. So what is context mean in the enterprise in this way?

Elisa:

(37:36) Sure I have different roles in my job depending on what I’m working on, and what teams I’m working on. So if you think of everything starting at the core of what that person or knowledge worker’s identity is. They’re going to be interacting with things all day long that creates different context for them.

(37:56) I may be working in my small workgroup on a particular project that’s due next week. At the same time, the CEO has you know put out a vision for the company that I need to understand so that I can connect and work to that. And there may be some tasks that I need to complete with HR or with IT or with other functions in the company that are cross functional to the identity that I have in my team group.

(38:22) So the context of what content I need every day, is going to be depending on what role I’m playing at that part of the day. So what we deliver is an experience and content that puts you in those roles, so that you can quickly be able to access what you need to either get that task done or what you need to be able to connect with the right individuals.

(38:49) So that’s what I mean by content and context that the technology is smart enough to be able to serve you the content and the experiences, and the people that you need to work with versus what they’re going to serve, what we’re going to serve to somebody else as well in a different context. Some of it is going to be similar in terms of company news, leadership, communication, cultural information, and some of it is going to be very different because it’s cross departments

Michael:

(39:23) So this is one of the keys to the success of collaboration, right is this notion of delivering the content in the right context for that person when they need the information.

Elisa:

(39:37) I think is critical to drive the right level of connection and engagement, which then leads to productive collaboration. So some content is shared by other organizations, and some content may be one of our most valued pieces of content is shared really by my team or by me, and so once that content has surfaced and I’m trying to create the ability to do the next thing with that content, I want the right people to surround it. So it works both ways; so content coming from other areas of the organization or outside the organization, and content coming from me and my team.

(40:15) So the capability to be able to work as an individual, centered on my identity, then being able to work in my team environment, which is my close-knit team of probably a small nature, my department, across those departments and then with my company. Being able to switch those roles and clearly having access to information, tools, and context and all of those roles helping me get my job done, using the technology in a really easy way and most importantly connecting me with the people I need to be connected with.

Michael:

(40:48) And so when those conditions are in place where all of that is happening, then the organisation has the ability to surface interesting things, important ideas that may be out of the limelight but can be useful to somebody else inside the company.

Elisa:

(41:08) Yeah we call that you know the ability to you know, see the surprise and then being able to you know take advantage of that, like ‘wow, I didn’t know that was going on over there. I’m going to connect that with what I’m doing, and now I have an even better way to advance my work, my teams work all the organizations work. So it’s always a great surprise and an innovation, where you then get those ideas surfaced were before they were hidden in places where we didn’t see and we couldn’t take advantage of them.

Michael:

(41:47) You know I have a lot of questions left to ask you, but we’ve only got three minutes, so definitely come back. So how is collaboration as you been describing it different from just people talking.

Elisa:

(42:07) So I think it’s multiple things, so I think there’s the right connections, the right communication, and then the right collaboration. And we’ve talked a lot about collaboration today and really it’s about those three things; connection, communication, and collaboration.

(42:21) Connection is super important because you know we talked a little bit about the macro trends of workforces working from all different places and the diversity of many different aspects of it. You’re not always going to be sitting next to the people that you need to work with. So getting and knowing the right connections is critically important.

(42:43) Communicating in a way that’s both – we kind of talked about content and context, which is which is just in time for me to be able to get my work done. I also need the ability to talk to you real time, whether it’s through you know work application or instant messaging applications, or life talk I need that real-time connection. All of that then you know how I had better collaborate in the right team.

(43:08) So I think it really about those and we call it the three Cs, and really driving the right capability across those. Some of it is about the technology infrastructure and that is super important, but it has to be that I can connect with the right people that I need to get the work done first.

Michael:

(43:27) Okay, wow there’s so much that’s here. So let’s just finish off by can you offer advice to enterprise buyers who are looking at improving collaboration connection inside their organizations. What advice would you have for them?

Elisa:

(43:48) Yeah I mean the first piece of advice I would say if you’re looking at, how do I improve the way we communicate and collaborate inside, and how do I improve the way that we create the right relationships with our customers. Then you really first have to determine how you’re going to pull together the right team across your organization to go and investigate that together. Because that is super important and how people work across different functions and making sure that there is a cultural appetite for being able to change the way people you know get work done today.

(44:24) And you’re going to find that your employees want this, and so you want to work with a team or a company that really has been through this and knows how to guide you through the journey.

Michael:

(44:35) And how about one last last question, what advice do you have for companies that are going down this path for encouraging adoption of this new way of working.

Elisa:

(44:50) Find the passion points for employees needs to change in the company and let them work on it with you. Because what happens when employees own the changes is that they go faster, they go better, and it’s a benefit to everyone.

Michael:

(45:12) So the key is to get by in and make sure that they the employees forms the change that you’re not forcing it at all.

Elisa:

(45:21) That has to be part of it. The same thing on the customer side by the way. Find your biggest issue with your customers and ask them to help you solve it with them that they can interact with each other, and suddenly it’s not a problem. It’s actually something that people are working on together. It’s not only going to get solved faster, but it’s going to create very meaningful relationships along the way.

Michael:

(45:41) Okay, Elisa Steele, thank you so much. This has been wonderful it seems that the conversation has gone by so quickly and we have learned a lot about collaboration and communication inside the enterprise.

Elisa:

(45:56) It’s been really fun Michael, thanks for being a great post.

Michael:

(45:59) So everybody, we have been talking with Elisa Steele, who is the CEO of Jive Software. This has been episode number 143 of CXOTalk. Thank you so much, and we are having a special episode on Monday at 10:30 Eastern time with Robert Tas, who is the Chief Marketing Officer at Pegasystems, so please come back on Monday and of course will be back again next Friday. Thanks everybody and Elisa Steele thank you so much.

Elisa:

(46:28) Thank you.

Michael:

(46:29) Bye bye.

Companies mentioned in today’s show:        

Cisco:                           www.cisco.com

Jive Software:             www.jivesoftware.com

PWC:                            www.pwc.com

Yahoo:                         www.yahoo.com

Mapout:                       www.mapout.ch

GoDaddy:                    www.godaddy.com