The process is pretty straightforward: When a user creates a new collaboration group, he or she simply checks a box to make it “External facing:"
Those invited to the group will be able to log in and use the Socialcast platform just the way a regular employee would, except they'll only have access to the information within that group. Meanwhile, internal users accessing the group will see a warning that it is external facing, and anything they post could be seen by external contributors.
The move makes Socialcast's bundle of business tools available for the likes of contractors, partners, suppliers, etc. The feature is highly useful and flexible, allowing users to invite external participation from pretty much anyone, but still supports control over data privacy.
“The success of consumer social networks ignited a movement, bringing tools into the workplace to help internal employees communicate more effectively,” explained Tim Young, founder of Socialcast and vice president, Social Enterprise for VMware. “Modern organizations operate on a global scale with distributed workforces that rely on a complex ecosystem of partners to get work done. Unlike other solutions that require the creation of separate silos for external communities, Socialcast securely integrates external contributors into existing enterprise work streams. Virtual teams now have the tools to support the way people naturally engage and get work done in today’s global marketplace.”
Socialcast is also including two more enterprise-friendly features in today's news:
- User Roles. Community administrators or IT can now create permission-based access to the company's premium features such as Reach, Social Business Analytics and the newly announced External Contributors. This takes some of the administrative weight off as well as opens doors for more access to data without giving up too much control.
- Org Charts. Mapped organization charts (pictured below) make it easier for people to understand “Who’s Who” in the company.
Overall, these features highlight Socialcast's belief that an organization is an ecosystem of teams, not a place for one on one-based communications. It's a tune we've heard more frequently as of late, especially in debates involving the consumerization of the enterprise.
The new features are out as of today, and there’s no per-user charge for external contributors. Start adding like there's no tomorrow, or check out more information here.