Aiming to separate from the pack of players offering enterprise-friendly social media applications, Socialcast unveiled Reach, an extension of its core micro-blogging platform.
Where companies like Salesforce (Chatter), Socialtext (Signals) and Yammer give enterprises Twitter- and Facebook-like capabilities behind the firewall, Socialcast said Reach's distinct value is to integrate those features directly with ERP, CRM and other enterprise applications.
"What the other systems do is create another silo," Tim Young, CEO of Socialcast, told InternetNews.com. "You have to leave the document you're working on and go somewhere else to discuss it. You lose lots of context and relevancy and it's hard to find repeatable value."
Young also said efforts at growing the so-called Enterprise 2.0 market have been hampered by users' reluctance to use new enterprise social media applications they aren't familiar with.
"We spend a lot of time with users and researching their needs. Employees don't necessarily want another application to deal with," said Young. "If you're in finance, you live in a financial application, or if you're in sales, it's CRM."
Young describes Reach as similar to what Facebook Connect does in linking the popular social network to other Web services, but with an enterprise focus.
"Just as you can 'Like' a page in Facebook that's on CNN, Reach gives you the same ability to embed pages in your existing applications with enterprise security," he said.
With the new release, Socialcast now offers a set of pre-packaged Reach extension plug-ins and offers "a simple configuration tool" to let system administrators link to additional applications.
"We're seeing a lot of customers take a group stream, like the IT department, and pull it into their SharePoint IT page, so then the discussion that's pertinent is right there," said Young.
"Like enterprise portals which bridged end-user computing and business applications, we see today the beginning of another evolutionary step in business computing that aims to bridge the gap between end-user social computing and business applications," Nikos Drakos, research director at Gartner, said in a statement.
"The value of blending social context with transactional context when it comes to getting things done is already recognized both by business application vendors as well as by social platform providers," he added.