What Is Socialcast?

By C. Michael Woodward, MPH, Abshier House

Socialcast is, essentially, a Facebook-like cloud-based enterprise social networking application designed specifically for the workplace. As antithetical as it may sound, Socialcast helps workers be more productive; they can share documents, research, information, and other knowledge in real time. In many ways, Socialcast is the latest iteration of the corporate intranet — but one that people actually want to use! Take Socialcast for a test drive.

Socialcast can be integrated with all the familiar office tools including Google, Microsoft Outlook, SharePoint, and more — and, of course, mobile and tablet versions are available as well.

Socialcast is one of many new applications designed to take advantage of the relatively new corporate-owned, personally enabled (COPE) business models, which bring the wildly popular smart device phenomenon into businesses by providing employees with devices that the company owns and controls, rather than the older bring your own device (BYOD) model, which was fast becoming a nightmare for IT departments to manage.

Just like Facebook, Socialcast users can post status updates, send instant messages, link to their Twitter accounts, download games, and all the normal social media features. Where it goes beyond Facebook is that it is completely self-contained within the company. Administrators have tighter control over the devices, which eliminates having to deal with so many different platforms, operating systems, and device types.

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Source: Socialcast.com

What can you do with Socialcast for free?

The more appropriate question might be: What can’t you do with Socialcast? It’s free to use (up to 50 users), and the product features include all the usual social media suspects along with some great collaborative tools that you won’t find in Facebook:

  • Use Conversations to keep track of discussions all in one place rather than a complex thread of emails.

  • Post and share files and discuss their contents with other employees.

  • Send private messages between individuals or groups, synchronized across all your devices.

  • Send Notifications of important happenings, such as when you have a new follower, mention, message, or invitation. This is helpful so you don’t have to camp out online in fear of missing something important.

  • Take your whole team with you wherever you go with the fully featured mobile app. (You might want to consider some boundary issues, however, if you find yourself Socialcasting from the bathroom.)

  • The Groups feature is handy for keeping up with individual projects! No sorting, complex folder structure, etc., needed; just create a group for everyone and everything related to each topic or project. You can even add people from outside the company if you want their input on the group’s work.

  • Track projects, tasks, resources, and due dates efficiently and transparently. No more clumsy spreadsheets or complicated project management software that no one understands.

  • Use Challenges to inspire, brainstorm, troubleshoot, and develop new ideas or products with input from all levels of the organization.

  • Tools like Thanks (to post kudos), Town Halls (virtual company-wide meetings and feedback sessions), Profiles, and Organizational Charts help to improve the sense of camaraderie among the staff, especially those across long distances who may never even meet face to face.

  • You can track down whatever you’re looking for with the comprehensive search and discover features.

  • Amazingly useful administrative features such as analytics, message audit, content controls, and multiple languages give you complete control.

  • Eliminate “institutional memory” loss and critical product development history. No longer does half the history of the company disappear when long-term employees leave or retire. It’s all preserved right there for anyone to review at any time.

Besides all that, you can customize the heck out of Socialcast, from simple things like the interface’s colors and default language to deeper programmatic changes in functions and features via Representational State Transfer (REST) APIs. And your network will be as secure as it gets with all of the latest bells and whistles built right in.

When do you have to pay for Socialcast?

Socialcast is completely free if you have 50 users or less, you don’t need any major customization work done, and you’re fine with it running on Socialcast’s servers rather than your own. That covers lots and lots of companies. But for larger corporations and/or those with more sophisticated needs, you’ll have to shell out subscription and possibly development fees. Still, it’s pretty danged reasonable compared to rolling out a full enterprise IT system.

Thankfully, every paid subscription includes at least basic tech support, but most users never need it because the interface is so intuitive.

The company offers volume discounts for companies with 1,000 or more users as well as for government and education entities.