In January 2011, JL Valente was appointed Chairman and CEO to bring additional enterprise software leadership to the blueKiwi team. His software experience spans over 25 years at an international level in the software industry. Prior to blueKiwi, JL was President and CEO of RiverMuse, an IT Operations software start-up and before that executive Chairman of CITTIO, a network & system management software start-up. He also led the Americas Operations of InfoVista, and marketing and business development at Viasoft as Senior Vice President. JL also spent 10 years with CA, where he ran marketing for the information management division.
JL’s objectives at blueKiwi are simple but ambitious. Equip every business professional with an enterprise social software account. Beyond the usual growth objectives of any start-up, JL is committed to ensuring the success of blueKiwi’s customers and accelerating the adoption of its enterprise social software in the marketplace through careful listening and with intellectual honesty.
What is blueKiwi?
blueKiwi solutions enable organisations to create and manage powerful networks where employees, partners and customers can easily share their ideas, knowledge and best practices, in a secure enterprise environment.
In capitalising on informal exchanges and bringing individuals closer together, blueKiwi enables businesses of all sizes to accelerate their commercial productivity, increase their innovation capacity and take better advantage of previously hidden talents.
Hundreds of businesses use blueKiwi’s solutions to reach their business goals. blueKiwi benefits from concrete client experiences, with more than 300 completed projects and hundreds of successfully created networks in numerous countries.
What are some of the highlights of the latest release?
A streamlined, highly simplified user experience throughout the product. Thanks to this the product has enjoyed a 30% boost in usage in a month.
New mobility apps: native iPad, iPhone and BB. New HTML-based mobile app.
A solid integration with over 30 document management systems
Is your product SaaS or on-prem? If on-prem, who manages? How much can the product be customized?
Fully SaaS yet highly configurable, customizable and open for integration.
Where is the company based? How do you work with clients in North America?
With its headquarters in Paris, offices in the United States and the UK, and partners around the world, blueKiwi is the fastest growing software publisher of Enterprise Social Networks in Europe. Now to accelerate our business in NA we would love to team up with enterprise 2.0 savvy boutiques that is versed or interested to get in the social business action.
Since its creation in 2006 blueKiwi is the only European business that has been recognised for four consecutive years in Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant” as a Visionary in the Enterprise Social Software sector.
How did the company get started?
Company started in mid 2006 by a seasoned web professional team who was in the process of selling their web agency to a European player. Launch of a collaborative software suite concept (based on wikis) into the public domain and promotion in the blogosphere, where several large accounts discovered blueKiwi, requested meetings and signed up for the beta. They all ended up customers of bK and one of them, Dassault Systemes, the 2nd largest European software vendor, became a minority investor in the company in 2009. Today they primarily use blueKiwi as an extranet for supporting their entire VAR business (1200 partners, a $700M+ indirect business a year)
Can you tell us a bit about how you calculate the value of social software?
Return on Value is where the strongest payback can be found yet it is hard to capture in any formula – it is the result of working together more effectively, locating expertise on the fly, facilitating better situational awareness and accelerating innovation and decision cycles. It requires behavioural changes through sharing and social linking, enables a flatter organization and breaks the traditional silos within organisations.
Return on Productivity is easier to estimate and applies to three specific areas:
- Improved Communication
- Collaborative Work and Knowledge Search
- Efficient Time Management
Study results reveal that a high level of engagement is critical to reaping the benefits of social business. As adoption time and engagement grows, the return on productivity increases exponentially.
I noticed you advocate starting small, whereas other vendors stress the need to get everyone on the software right away. Can you discuss the different approaches and why BlueKiwi recommends starting small?
“Another problem with poorly-defined networks is that there is no perceived value nor a compelling reason to participate. Typically a social network rollout needs a lot of planning and pre-launch work in creating interesting and useful content to cater to users’ interests that can keep them coming back. When the value is unclear it becomes that much harder to get champions and contributors to provide this seeding content. And without that - initial users have no sense of how they need to engage on the network. The result: even if users create a login because they received an invite - this quickly becomes just another “tool” on their desktop that they do not use.”
Can you tell us some real world stories about how customers are using your software?
Louis Vuitton, Allianz, Cap Gemini Consulting, Nokia
What are your solution’s strengths versus other products in the space?
We’ve been pioneering the space from day 1 and we have the scars to show it. Our product is the reflect of 300+ projects and over 120 customers ranging from 60,000 users down to 15.. so we can not only scale up but scale down as well. That’s not only a performance characteristic but a functional one as well. Our platform is way wider, richer and deeper than Yammer or Chatter yet way easier to deploy than SHP or Lotus Connection with which we integrate anyway if people focus those platforms for what they are best at: content. But it’s not just the product ‘cause it’s only 40% of the recipe here. It’s before all about strategy, attitude, governance, rollout and management. Social business is about transforming the way business is done and it takes more than a product for that.
How do you work with partners? How do you avoid channel conflict?
if we could do 80% of our business indirectly we would but the market is not there yet. Nonetheless we are intensifying our indirect efforts with new partners in Latam and APAC. Would love to do more in the US indirectly. So if any listener is in this business and interested to resell a kick-ass product they should contact us.
JLV@bluekiwi-software.com or 1 650 888 1495. Highly recommend to download email WP and play with our ROI calculator, easily available on our website at
I'll be presenting at Social Connections II in Cardiff, Wales on December 9. To learn more or register: http://socialconnections.info/