If business is truly social now, why aren't adoption rates higher for enterprise 2.0 software?
That's the question posed by Tim Young, the founder and chief executive officer of Socialcast, who answers his own rhetoric by suggesting that companies need a "different approach to enterprise collaboration." This week, Socialcast released SocialcastReach, an extension to its collaboration platform that enables users to add conversational tools to any enterprise application.
"We found that there were key deficiencies common among all [enterprise 2.0] strategies," Young says. The most flagrant of these, he admits, is that collaboration tools haven't yet done a good job of bridging silos. To combat that failing, he says, SocialcastReach allows any platform, system, or Web site to tap into rich collaboration capabilities — and then ties those abilities into a larger platform resembling a social network.
In demonstrating SocialcastReach, Young shows how users can embed collaboration within an existing CRM solution, using SugarCRM's open-source CRM offering as an example. With the addition of just a few lines of code, the CRM system suddenly includes social capabilities that are then tied back to the central Socialcast site. "This is where we think enterprise collaboration is headed," Young says. "When we embed, we get the functionality within the apps, but now the conversations become much richer because they are in context of rich activities."
"Building relationships and being social at work isn't new," says Marcia Conner, partner at Altimeter Group and co-author of The New Social Learning. "Embedding simple collaborative capabilities within the tools busy people already use is revolutionary."
Conner adds: "People collaborate naturally when they work on similar challenges and see they're not alone. The trouble is that when you're mired in the work, it takes time to look up and seek out people you need to learn from...time you don't always have. Now you can bring the people you need to inform your decisions right into the workday when you need them, where you need them."
Highlights of the SocialcastReach release include:
- Reach Stream: Brings conversations into whatever application users are working in, baking collaboration into systems ranging from CRM to human resources applications. By letting these users discuss areas of business within the appropriate destinations, SocialcastReach avoids spamming employees with nonrelevant information.
- Reach Discussion: Enables conversations around key items of business, such as a specific customer, product, or account. The discussions live inside Socialcast, but are visible to the business system as well as the Socialcast community.
- Reach Recommend: Similar to the "Like" function on Facebook, SocialcastReach Recommend allows users to add context and value to certain activities, essentially making the platform more relevant and personalized.
Young reports that Reach has been in Beta since midsummer, and that feedback from Beta customers has been positive.
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