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The chief executive of up-and-coming enterprise social networking firm Jive has said the company’s offering is stronger than that of rivals because it is a dedicated service.

The chief executive of up-and-coming enterprise social networking firm Jive has said the company’s offering is stronger than that of rivals because it is a dedicated service.

Tony Zingale told Computerworld UK that while Jive faced large competitors such as Oracle and Salesforce.com engaging in business social networking, “what they offer in social networking is a bolt-on”.

“If you want a purpose-built service that does the job properly, that’s what we do,” he said. “We’re not trying to be one of the big ERP or CRM vendors, we’re just focusing on our area.”

Jive, which is 10 years old but in the last four years transformed itself from a discussion forums company into a social networking brand, may consider launching as a public company on stock exchanges later this year.

The US-based company has a raft of large UK customers, including Bupa, BP, T-Mobile and Cancer Research, and 15 million people access its systems globally. Around half of its business is creating “external facing” communities for companies’ customers, and the other half making communities for companies’ own staff.

Jive claims it can save companies millions of dollars by improving productivity through collaboration and through cutting travel, as well as retaining customers better through external-facing communities.

“We surveyed our customers and a third said they were much more productive through social networking than email, which can lose enormous amounts of time and be difficult to manage,” said Zingale. “Proper, professional communities that are secure and scalable really enable business.”

Jive’s software is browser-based, and around 60 percent of its customers run it through the cloud, in Jive’s datacentres, and 40 percent run it on premise.