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How to Combine Jive and SharePoint to Create an Enterprise Social Collaboration Solution

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SharePoint is a widely deployed system within the enterprise and continues to uniquely provide benefits to large companies. However, the emergence of cloud-based social collaboration platforms like …

SharePoint is a widely deployed system within the enterprise and continues to uniquely provide benefits to large companies. However, the emergence of cloud-based social collaboration platforms like Jive have left many IT professionals wondering if they should replace SharePoint with Jive, or try to make SharePoint more social through custom development.

But the argument shouldn't be one platform versus the other - both Jive and SharePoint can seamlessly work together to create a "best of both worlds" solution that meets the needs of IT leaders and end users alike.

In this whitepaper, you'll find out how Jive can become your new social intranet while maintaining SharePoint as the powerful backend. We'll walk you through the entire process - from making the intial case to your team to the technical aspects of integrating both platforms.

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  • 1. } { How to Combine Jive and SharePoint to Create an Enterprise Social Collaboration Solution Whitepaper: How to Combine Jive and SharePoint to Create an Enterprise Social Collaboration Solution | Page 1
  • 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS The Great Debate Between Jive and SharePoint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Making SharePoint a True Social Business Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Getting IT Buy-in for Jive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 How to Approach the Jive + SharePoint Integration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 How the Jive for SharePoint Connector Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 FIGURE 1: On Premise Jive / On Premise SharePoint Installation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 FIGURE 2: Hosted/Cloud Jive Instance with On-Premise SharePoint Installation . . . . . . 6 FIGURE 3: SharePoint Integration Options for Jive for SharePoint Connector . . . . . . . . 7 Maintaining Security with Both Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Customer Use Case: Higher Education Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 APPENDIX SharePoint to Jive Communication Details . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 SharePoint and Jive REST/Authentication Communication Diagram . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Whitepaper: How to Combine Jive and SharePoint to Create an Enterprise Social Collaboration Solution | Page 2
  • 3. The Great Debate Between Jive and SharePoint The emergence of cloud-based enterprise collaboration platforms like Jive has caused a massive disruption within IT departments across the globe. The fact that teams now have the ability to launch enterprise-wide IT systems without any involvement from IT has imposed a new set of challenges for IT professionals to address. They have built their careers as the protectors of information, so when a system like Jive presents itself as an alternative to SharePoint – a prominent system within enterprise IT organizations – they’re inclined to reject Jive and stick with what they know keeps corporate assets safe. Yet they are not getting much support from Microsoft, as they have not released a roadmap for Yammer integration for on-premise instances, and SharePoint 2013 does not offer the rich social collaboration that companies expect and Jive offers. Having said that, there are things that SharePoint does much better than Jive and others that Jive cannot do at all. So if you are looking to have a complete social collaboration solution for your enterprise, the answer is obvious – you need an integrated solution that combines SharePoint and Jive. Making SharePoint a True Social Business Solution Many SharePoint administrators claim that SharePoint can do everything Jive can do; they just need to develop and configure SharePoint. Yes, SharePoint can be customized to offer more social aspects with quite a bit of development, but it almost never makes economic sense to launch a project to develop a capability in place of a product that has already been proven and brought to market. Attempting to develop SharePoint to mimic Jive would be like trying to develop a native email application because you don’t like Outlook. Not only is it ridiculously expensive, but you now have to provide support and upgrades to keep up with the same features that Outlook will develop and deploy over time. The same logic prevails here; no shop has the ability (nor is it cost effective) to develop a social business platform that is as rich as Jive. And with four releases each year, it is economically and logistically impossible to keep up. The “we can build it all in SharePoint” argument often distracts from the true issue, which is that an enterprise does not have to run Jive or SharePoint exclusively; both are needed, and both can run smoothly together. SharePoint provides rich features that Jive doesn’t, and it shouldn’t be ignored. There are so many things that SharePoint uniquely can do that add value to the enterprise. Anytime you need a robust workflow, document security, record management, integration with InfoPath, and a host of other features, SharePoint is the industry standard. The Jive integration to SharePoint is simple, powerful and robust – providing powerful search, tagging, and discussion tools (and lots more) against content that is often difficult for many in the enterprise to access. This means that SharePoint can now become a very powerful backend to the friendly, easy-to-use Jive user interface. Whitepaper: How to Combine Jive and SharePoint to Create an Enterprise Social Collaboration Solution | Page 3
  • 4. Getting IT Buy-in for Jive The last part of the puzzle is how to get the SharePoint admins to support Jive. The argument is easy and has two parts. First, instead of thinking that they will lose their position as the gatekeepers to IT, explain to the SharePoint developers that by allowing users to take control of their Content and Places (Space/Group vice a Brochure Site), they will have more time to develop the exciting applications, workflows, and lists that SharePoint does so well. The second part of the argument, that we are seeing many SharePoint developers explore, is that fact that Jive is a new technology in the same space. By learning how to develop in Jive and SharePoint, they can make themselves highly valuable to not only their current company, but any company running both applications. Learning this new skill could make them one of the proverbial “pink unicorns”1 as we refer to them at JCS. How to Approach the Jive + SharePoint Integration So now let’s say you’ve made the decision that you want both Jive and SharePoint to maximize your company’s productivity – how do you implement the solution? It is not as easy as configuring the Jive for SharePoint connector and launching, because this can be confusing to users. Users will be confused about where to put documents (Jive or SharePoint) and why. Most SharePoint intranets are composed of static brochure sites, with little information, and many levels and “rabbit holes” that users get lost in. In addition, before SharePoint 2013, the native search in SharePoint was not very effective. If a company had been using SharePoint as an intranet, and they launched a Jive instance without moving the intranet to Jive, there was much confusion. One of the biggest issues to address within the joint Jive/SharePoint solution is the starting point for end users. Jive naturally lends itself as a starting point because it has a home page. But if you have an existing SharePoint brochure site, you’ll now have two home pages in existence. Some users are very comfortable in SharePoint and they want to continue to work there, and others will gravitate towards Jive because it is far more user-friendly. This argument is very similar to the Apple vs. Windows issue. One is good at some things and the other is good at other things, but they can be used in the same enterprise structure. So how do you implement a successful collaboration environment and maximize the ROI you get from each system? In our experience, the right way to do this is to make Jive the new intranet and use SharePoint as the powerful backend. This enables any applications, web services, or other previous development projects to continue to be used. It also allows the very expensive SharePoint developers to use their time to develop more complex solutions for the enterprise instead of maintaining brochure sites. The question then becomes how to connect SharePoint and make it easy for users to work in the system they need to and still see what is going on in the other system. The Jive for SharePoint connector allows users to do just that. 1 “Pink Unicorns” are creatures of myth and legend; often discussed but rarely actually observed. They possess mystical powers of healing and influence. An IT employee comfortable with both Jive and SharePoint and skilled to wrest the best value from either qualifies as a “Pink Unicorn”. Whitepaper: How to Combine Jive and SharePoint to Create an Enterprise Social Collaboration Solution | Page 4
  • 5. How the Jive for SharePoint Connector Works The Jive for SharePoint connector shows documents uploaded in SharePoint within the Jive Group/Space. It also allows the content in Jive to be displayed in SharePoint through Web Parts, which are installed with a custom .wsp file that is installed in the SharePoint farm. A service account, with Full Control permission, is also needed to allow the SharePoint connector to work. Any application or forms that users want/need to fill out can be accessed through Jive by using a Formatted Text widget and using HTML links. This will allow the user to navigate seamlessly between Jive and SharePoint. The following network diagrams illustrate generic examples of how information flows between the Jive servers and the SharePoint Farm (servers). The first diagram is a common connection when Jive is installed on premise. As you can see, the network flows are all internal, and it is basically the Jive app servers communicating with the SharePoint web service. FIGURE 1: On Premise Jive / On Premise SharePoint Installation Whitepaper: How to Combine Jive and SharePoint to Create an Enterprise Social Collaboration Solution | Page 5
  • 6. FIGURE 2: Hosted/Cloud Jive Instance with On-Premise SharePoint Installation Figure 2 illustrates how the Jive for SharePoint network flows work when the SharePoint Servers are on premise and the Jive servers are either hosted or cloud. As you can see, some firewall configurations are required to allow the Jive servers to communicate with the SharePoint farms. Whitepaper: How to Combine Jive and SharePoint to Create an Enterprise Social Collaboration Solution | Page 6
  • 7. The Jive for SharePoint solution can be configured to work with both on-premise and hosted/ cloud solutions. The concept remains the same if the SharePoint farm is hosted as well. The only issue with having a hosted SharePoint solution is that the .WSP file needs to be loaded into the farm, not just the site collection, so if the hosted solution is not dedicated, the provider might not allow the installation of the .WSP file. The other issue to consider is that the provider must be able/willing to allow the connection between Jive and the SharePoint farm through their firewall. There are four different integration options with the Jive for SharePoint connector (See Figure 3 below): 1. None: This means that you choose not to use any integration with SharePoint from Jive. 2. New Site – Storage Only: In this case, Jive will provision a SharePoint site in the selected Site Collection, but it will not be able to be accessed by anyone but SharePoint administrators. This SharePoint site will be used to store Jive content and binaries. The content will not be able to be accessed through SharePoint, only through the Jive Group/ Space it is socialized with. If the connection is lost, the data is disconnected as well. 3. New Site – With Jive Functionality: In this case a new SharePoint site is created and the Jive web parts are automatically inserted in the SharePoint. All content will still be stored in SharePoint as in option two, but the data is accessible in both Jive and SharePoint. All SharePoint documents will be able to be seen in the Jive Group/Space. 4. Existing Site: In this option, the data is stored in the existing SharePoint site but the SharePoint site admin will have to add the Jive web parts that they want. The web parts added to the SharePoint site will determine the amount of Jive content that can be seen in SharePoint, but SharePoint documents will still be able to be seen in Jive. FIGURE 3: SharePoint Integration Options for Jive for SharePoint Connector Whitepaper: How to Combine Jive and SharePoint to Create an Enterprise Social Collaboration Solution | Page 7
  • 8. Maintaining Security with Both Systems Security is always a big question when prospective customers are looking at the Jive for SharePoint connector. The quick answer is that Jive does not override SharePoint permissions. Users must be provisioned in SharePoint, and there must be a common user attribute in both Jive and SharePoint. Most current implementations use email address as this attribute. There are generally two different ways that permissions are dictated in the integration. The first is if there is an existing SharePoint site that is being connected to Jive. In this case, permissions are managed separately. If a user is invited into the Jive group, but is not provisioned in SharePoint, they will be able to see the documents in Jive, but not any of the documents in SharePoint, nor will they be able to access the socialized SharePoint site. The other case is if Jive is used to provision a SharePoint site using the service account. In this case, Jive permissions will be carried over to the new SharePoint site, but only if the user is provisioned in SharePoint. By using this general rule of thumb, it is easy to set up your Jive for SharePoint governance and choose whether you want Jive to manage SharePoint permissions or if you want to keep them separate. Customer Use Case: Higher Education Company A leading private education company needed to find a social and informal learning solution that allowed for quick collaboration, breaking silos, and sharing knowledge among boots on the ground, which led them to Jive. Prior to launching their Jive instance, the company had been utilizing SharePoint as their intranet and document portal. Due to the developer-heavy nature of SharePoint, requests from the business usually resulted in a lengthy response time and high costs, which caused a number of inefficiencies for the business. But they couldn’t simply shut down SharePoint and start using Jive – all documents had to continue to be stored in SharePoint due to federal requirements. Once they recognized the opportunity to combine Jive and SharePoint to create a seamless solution that met their business requirements, they reached out to JCS to help integrate the two platforms. JCS worked with Jive and the customer to overcome the challenges of connecting an internal SharePoint instance to an externally hosted Jive instance. The relationship that JCS built with Jive’s SharePoint team has produced numerous enhancements for customers and reduced testing times for Jive. This resulted in a more seamless integration between Jive and SharePoint. Initially, all of the customer’s Jive groups were connected to SharePoint to meet the legal department’s requirement. In a short time, over two hundred groups were connected to SharePoint with no issues. Whitepaper: How to Combine Jive and SharePoint to Create an Enterprise Social Collaboration Solution | Page 8
  • 9. With this new capability, specific use cases emerged documenting and demonstrating the business value gained: • SOX audit requirements forced a structure in SharePoint that made it hard to get input from document owners and approvers. By adding Jive collaboration to the existing SharePoint content, stakeholders could easily find and edit their documents. Approvals that used to take up to three weeks are now completed within 48 hours, including C-level executives. • One of the broader uses enabled Human Resources to immediately provide answers to common employee questions while simultaneously reducing their work required. Over the years, the HR team had accumulated a large volume of reference documents in SharePoint. Unfortunately, they were difficult to find, which resulted in several emails per day from employees with questions that could have been answered if only the documents had been easier to find. Once Jive connected to SharePoint, one benefits coordinator was able to quickly create a space in Jive that connected to the SharePoint library. She pulled the most frequently used documents into the Jive space and was able to reduce her questions received via email by directing people to Jive. The new SharePoint connector allowed people to work within whatever platform (Jive or SharePoint) they chose. This reduced both initial and on-going training and support costs. It also eased the transition from working in SharePoint to working in Jive. Because SharePoint and Jive each have their use in the enterprise stack, it is not a decision of one versus the other. The natural evolution seems to a move away from a static SharePoint intranet to a social Jive intranet with SharePoint housing those documents with a higher requirement for control, audit or release authority. In the end, connecting the two platforms strengthened the use of each. Conclusion One of the most important things to keep in mind about Jive is that it isn’t limited to only operating as a standalone solution, although it is very strong on its own. It’s an adaptable platform that integrates well with other critical business systems, which allows companies of all sizes and industries to create an ideal collaboration platform that suits their unique business needs. SharePoint is broadly deployed and will continue to uniquely provide benefits to large companies. But for those who want to evolve into a truly social business, new tools are required. Continuing SharePoint’s powerful position as the backend solution while upgrading to Jive’s user-friendly interface and powerful search engine creates a “best of both worlds” enterprise collaboration solution. Whitepaper: How to Combine Jive and SharePoint to Create an Enterprise Social Collaboration Solution | Page 9
  • 10. APPENDIX A SharePoint to Jive Communication Details SharePoint will make many calls to the Jive instance and use the Rest Web Service “CallJiveApi”. These API calls are designed to help to keep SharePoint in sync with Jive. “CallJiveApi” is built into the custom service implementation that is deployed to SharePoint SharePoint Server GET/POST Rest API calls to Jive are used for the following: • Get “Jive Container” information (Example: SocialGroup ID) • Get confirmation about success/failures of Jive Actions • Post information that will link “Jive Container” to “Sharepoint Site” • Post “Jive Discussion” content • Post “Jive Status Updates” • Various calls are also made to handle a Jive request/response HTTP Headers Used in GET/POST Rest API calls to Jive **: “X–J–Application” : “SHAREPOINT”: “j-sp-authentication” : “Current Custom Jive Authentication Token” “j-sp-username” : “Current SharePoint User Name” **Please note that Network Appliances must allow the above headers safe passage from your SharePoint Application to Jive Application. SharePoint to Jive GET/POST Rest API Example Flow: SharePoint will generate a new “WebRequest/WebResponse” when making a “GET/POST” to Jive. Examples: To GET a User’s Avatar Image from Jive, a “WebRequest” with a URI like the following is created and executed: http://{0}/image/avatar/{1}, where… • {0} is the Jive URL • {1} is the Image ID To POST an uploaded document, a “WebRequest” with a URI like the following is created and executed: http://{0}/document/createToActivity/{1}/{2}7fullActivity-true, where… • {0} is the Jive URL • {1} is the containterType • {2} is the containterId …and the uploaded content is POSTED as an Activity Stream. Whitepaper: How to Combine Jive and SharePoint to Create an Enterprise Social Collaboration Solution | Page 10
  • 11. SharePoint and Jive REST/Authentication Communication Diagram Sending registration info every 10 minutes from Jive to Sharepoint: Making web calls tunnelled via Web Service (including both data and resources), Jive side will use identity mapping to translate SharePoint user name to Jive user and impersonate: Whitepaper: How to Combine Jive and SharePoint to Create an Enterprise Social Collaboration Solution | Page 11