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VMware acquisitions form new social collaboration tool

VMware combined Socialcast with AirWatch features for its Collaboration Bundle, offering customers a new, integrated platform.

Organizations that want to give end users more comprehensive content and social collaboration tools can do so with a new bundle of VMware's acquired technologies.

The VMware Collaboration Bundle will include enterprise file sync-and-share product AirWatch Secure Content Locker, its AirWatch Video distribution and sharing product, and VMware Socialcast for enterprise social networking.

The bundle is the latest integration point between VMware and AirWatch as VMware rounds out its end-user computing portfolio. VMware has owned Socialcast since 2011 while it acquired AirWatch in 2014.

A platform like the VMware Collaboration Bundle is important because many organizations are just scratching the surface of mobile productivity, said Terri McClure, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. in Milford, Mass.

VMware needs to get out there and make sure the market is educated.
Terri McCluresenior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group

"In general, a bundle like this that brings multiple communications and distribution tools together will help speed that process," McClure said.

In the bundle, organizations can aggregate content across numerous repositories for mobile and desktop access. Through Socialcast and AirWatch Video, users can share a broad range of media -- text, documents, images and video -- in a way beyond email attachments that still allows for communication and collaboration.

IT can support the repositories from one location and include security settings such as standard AES 256-bit encryption, download restrictions and sharing limitations. All content is synced between mobile, desktop and Web interfaces.

Socialcast provides a way for employees to find experts on topics within an organization that can answer questions within specific work groups. The Collaboration Bundle gives IT analytics tools to provide recommendations for users to follow within a social community.

"People are inundated with content and having that analytics side of what might be good to know and good to see is an important piece of it," McClure said.

The bundled platform can also be integrated with third-party platforms and applications like Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce to share content and collaborate.

VMware should continue to add more integrations for specific enterprise applications in the future, McClure said.

Bundle may not fit all customers

The VMware Collaboration Bundle may be best suited for organizations already using the more advanced Collaborate version of Secure Content Locker, said Robert Debault, systems analyst with a maintenance product distribution company in Texas.

Debault's company mostly uses the View version of Secure Content Locker, which includes content distribution controls, data loss prevention, analytics and an administrative console. Collaborate expands to include a desktop client, user portal and editing and annotation capabilities.

Debault doesn't expect to buy the bundle that includes Socialcast.

"I haven't seen a reason to use [Socialcast yet]," he said. "Our biggest thing is deploying content to our field and Secure Content Locker [View] fits our needs perfectly."

Creating market awareness about its content and collaboration products is a challenge for VMware. Those products aren't typically the first things customers think about VMware , McClure said.

"VMware needs to get out there and make sure the market is educated," McClure said.

AirWatch and VMware customers can still purchase Secure Content Locker, Socialcast and Video separately. Pricing for the bundle starts at $90 per user, per year.

Jake O'Donnell is the news writer for SearchConsumerization.com and Search VirtualDesktop.com. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JakeODonnell_TT.

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