VMware’s Socialcast: Enterprise Social Networking

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Tim Young, VMware’s VP of Social Enterprise, is something of a pioneer. He’s on the leading edge of trend we’ll see more of in the years ahead: social networking in the enterprise.

The company that Young founded in 2005, Socialcast, was acquired in May 2011 by VMware. Socialcast is – to grossly oversimplify it – a Facebook-style platform designed for enterprise use. Instead of the typical Facebook status update (“Here we are at the party!”) Socialcast allows real-time chat about, say, the big client presentation due Thursday morning. It enables employees to share progress reports, collaborate on ongoing initiatives, and post ideas to a wide audience of colleagues.

Ideally, Socialcast lessens the need for time-consuming meetings by enabling fast-paced cooperation across time zones and locations. Its other features include private messaging and a “Town Hall” extension for company-wide meetings. Perhaps most important: SocialCast is accessible on staffers’ mobile devices.

At first glance, a social networking platform might be a tad far afield from VMware’s core mission of virtualization. After all, VMware’s flagship product vSphere is an industry-leading virtualization platform for building cloud infrastructures. How, exactly, does a collaboration platform like Socialcast fit in? Does this represent a new direction for VMware?

Tim Young talks about this question and others in the Skype video interview below.

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