Socialcast is launching a brand new activity stream, an Outlook plugin, an on-premise offering and a private cloud environment. The offerings represents a new effort by enterprise vendors to reach deeper into the enterprise and integrate more fully with email systems.
It also represents the reality that many large companies want a service that is not entirely in the cloud.
Socialcast originally developed a real-time service that provided a sophisticated service for building teams, collaborating and analysis.
Socialcast calls the new real-time activity stream "Enterprise Activity Stream Engine," or EASE. With it, they've created a new logo, a new image for the company, that looks a bit more modern and perhaps a little more formal, too. EASE is designed to serve as a layer within the enterprise that allows anyone to post real-time updates, create communities and see updates to the updates that people make to applications within the enterprise. This means that the real-time updates can filter deep into sales, marketing, operations and other parts of the corporation.
A New Social Layer
A social layer is settling over enterprise applications that cuts across CRM environments, ERP systems and the software that touches warehouse workers and other people in the field whose job it is to deliver the products into the marketplace.
It's this transformation that companies like Socialcast see as the greatest opportunity to reach into the heart of the enterprise.
In the new enterprise, the real-time web will be the glue that binds different services. But it will not be entirely SaaS based. We hear this from the larger companies in the market. Socialcast is targeting companies with more than 100,000 employees, which means they will compete with a service like IBM's Lotus software. IBM is focused on offering SaaS and on premise offerings. IBM has a large installed-based so it make sense they would focus attention on its on-premise applications.
Companies like IBM also know that they need to offer a SaaS environment. This is what makes the Socialcast news noteworthy. It puts its product into a category that makes what they offer more palatable to the largest companies in the market.
Further, Socialcast is offering a private cloud environment that can be deployed behind the firewall as a rapid-install virtual appliance, leveraging VMware, Hyper-V, or other server virtualization platforms.
The Outlook plug-in is also demonstrative of an approach that will help Socialcast compete. Employees will be able to view the real-time stream in the same window as their email.
E-mail is getting some attention, huh? Microsoft is offering more collaboration with Outlook and GMail is now home to Buzz, which will soon be an enterprise offering in Google Apps.
We are entering the next phase of enterprise collaboration. The drive is to serve the entire enterprise. To do that, expect more companies to offer hybrid approaches to appease the concerns about moving entirely to the cloud.