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Virtualization/cloud infrastructure provider VMware is introducing a new set of social integration capabilities known as the Socialcast Integration Engine. VMware says the engine will help users deliver social media benefits to apps and business systems.

Three Components, One Goal

The VMware Socialcast Integration Engine combines Version 3 of the Socialcast Reach integration tool, a new Community App Manager solution and a set of RESTful developer APIs. Here is a brief review of each component:

  • Socialcast Reach -- The Reach tool is designed to allow integration with business solutions that accept HTML/Javascript snippets. Information is shared in real time between Socialcast Reach and the external system. Version 3 includes improvements such as the ability to dynamically pull data from the host pages of integrated solutions and the ability to share into a specific Socialcast group.
  • Community App Manager -- The Community App Manager enables the development of Socialcast-based apps and enables management of app access and an internal app store.
  • Socialcast REST API -- A REST API is built into the Socialcast platform.

Social Media as Enterprise Business Network

The new Socialcast Integration Engine appears to be a continuation of a VMware strategy outlined in a June 2012 CMSWire article. Chuck Dietrich, VP of VMware Apps, said in a phone interview with CMSWire that, “Just as consumer social networks provide an 'underlying communication and collaboration framework' in the consumer world, where users can do things like share photos and videos or discuss how they spent their weekends, enterprise social networks provide the same type of framework for businesses.

“You can ask a question in an activity stream and make sure it gets to the people who might know the answer,” said Dietrich. “Every user has an ID and an algorithm knows what they’re working on. It’s an underlying network that connects people to people, apps to apps, and people to apps.”

More recently, Dietrich spoke with Information Week to explain how having contextual conversations about what were once binary tasks is one of the key benefits of enterprise social applications. Dietrich gave an example using the Socialcast Integration Engine to bring social capabilities into an expense management system. "A manager gets an expense report for approval," Dietrich said. “There are two choices (with the binary model): You either say cancel or submit. The interesting thing with enterprise social is that it gives you another choice: discuss."

The Socialcast Integration Engine is accessible via Socialcast FREE (for communities up to 50 users) or for a cost for larger numbers of users.