Business collaboration specialists, Socialcast (news, site) is trying to give users the features they want while matching the security demands of enterprise with its business social platform. Which is why we see a new version of their solution available today.
Every business has seen its workers rush to use social media sites, either in formal or informal ways to improve collaboration. But the tipping point is rapidly arriving where companies want some or total control and security over the messages and information passed around.
There is a flood of social networking platforms being created by developers both big and small, but Socialcast claims to have the edge with one that looks just like Facebook to the user but has iron-clad security in the background to keep the chiefs and admins happy.
Whereas most services are Web or cloud-based, Socialcast offers a behind-the-firewall approach to maximise security -- or, plain SaaS if that isn't a requirement. It can also take advantage of company directories to help users find each other, and find the right expert if they're not sure who they need and supports single sign-on, making the whole platform feel a part of the enterprise and not some disparate entity.
Communicate with EASE
Ease stands for Enterprise Activity Stream Engine and defines how the spaces in the product are divided. You can take a live tour of Socialcast to see for yourself. The menus are divided into Streams, Groups and People.
Your Home Stream shows all the subjects and messages your engaged in, you can also flag messages and view just those as well as monitor the whole company stream to keep an ear to the ground. Custom streams can be added for projects you're working on or to follow select topics.
Groups will form the core of the collaboration tool as people working on projects can get together and discuss their work. There's a group directory for newcomers and new ones can be created as projects or teams splinter, and they don't have to be all work, work, work. If the company has social or sports teams, they can be added to the list too.
Get communicating with colleagues in a social style
Integration with MS Outlook
Of course, users will only get the maximum benefit from Socialcast if they put in a little time. This includes filling in a decent profile, getting involved in the groups. For users of other services, Socialcast can be integrated with Gmail, Jabber and other networks. For those who aren't a dedicated follower of social networks, messages and alerts can be routed through email thanks to complete Outlook integration.
Outlook users get a version of the dashboard and both an Outlook command menu, toolbar and a message folder with the main Socialcast activities available including groups and different classes of message.
Users can post messages and view streams or go directly to the website for full interactivity. Messages appear just like emails, with all the HTML bells and whistles of the site -- it is a highly professional integration which will endear Socialcast to the enterprise.
Socialcast and Outlook fit hand in glove
Users working on a project can post interesting links to useful information, upload documents and images, post questions and find answers to issues. With its mix of social features, Twitter-like trending topics lists and other smart touches.
All of this activity can be monitored and presented as metrics and business intelligence gleaned from the discourse.
The product is available in a free Basic Edition or with all security and additional features enabled in a price-per-user Enterprise version.