We've always liked Socialcast here at ReadWriteWeb, but until it's been lacking a major feature: the ability to invite external collaborators. While some companies - such as Huddle, Simplybox and newcomer Podio - have made external collaboration a key point, many major vendors have lagged in this area. So we're glad to see external collaboration become a focus for Socialcast, which announced today a few new features.

Socialcast was recently acquired by VMware (a ReadWriteWeb sponsor), and Socialcast founder and CEO Tim Young is now the VP of social enterprise at VMware. Young says that Socialcast's focus has not changed. That seems to be true thus far, but the new features also certainly fit neatly with VMware's cloud identity agenda. Socialcast collaborators are a new way to bring people into the VMware cloud.

Young describes companies as ecosystems which include both employees and people from outside the company, including partners, members of the supply chain, customers, etc. He compares Socialcast groups to Google Circles in that they can be used to filter who can see what. This fits with VMware's promises to provide cross-application permissions management in the cloud via Project Horizon.

Another new feature is the addition of an org chart view of the Socialcast network (MangoSpring recently added a similar feature). The cloud identity twist here is that you can data from your LinkedIn profiles into the org chart.

Also, Socialcast is offering IT admins some relief by enabling them to grant certain users the ability to manage features such as external collaborators, analytics and integration tools so that every change to these systems need not go through IT.