Facebook has long been an icon in the world of digital transformation. I can’t remember all the conversations I’ve had with business people who want a solution that is “like Facebook” even when they don’t really know what that means. Facebook was one of the original companies that demonstrated to all of us the importance of consumerism and mobile apps and personalized marketing. But Facebook has (almost) always been for your personal life – to share with family, friends and sometimes publicly. Over the years businesses jumped onto Facebook to use it as a marketing tool or just to be “on Facebook” since everyone one else is there.
Now Facebook has a new product called Facebook Workplace. What Facebook brought to our personal lives, they now want to bring to our workday lives. You find it frustrating that you can post wonderful news about your recent accomplishment to your friends, but you can’t do that at work? My daughter just invited many people to a birthday party via Facebook, but you can’t set up an event at work and figure out who’s coming? You can snap a photo and instantly share it with the world, but at work you can’t get your phone connected to the network? The list goes on and on.
Facebook Workplace is Facebook for employers. While Facebook claims not to be an Enterprise Social Network, like IBM Connections, Microsoft Yammer, Salesforce Chatter, etc, it is essentially an Enterprise Social Network (ESN). With Workplace, employees can post to news feeds of other employees, you can like posts, you can upload photos and videos, you can search for people, you can chat or video chat with others, you can host events, and many more regular Facebook or enterprise social network actions.
However, there is a separation between Facebook and Facebook Workplace. Employees using Workplace are specifically shielded from their personal Facebook accounts, so when you post to friends or family on Facebook, those don’t show up on Workplace and vice-versa. Workplace doesn’t have all those annoying Facebook ads in your news stream either. Business can brand Workplace so it looks like part of the business, not a separate entity.
Workplace comes with features that are not available on some other enterprise social networks. For instance, video chat and video presentations are available on Workplace, but not all ESN’s have this feature. You can also have multi-company groups to connect employees with outside partners. Some ESNs make this easy while others don’t have this feature.
Security is another interesting feature of Workplace. It offers integrations to many security platforms used by corporations, including Active Directory, Ping, Okta and others. It also includes administrative capabilities to manage user accounts and disable or delete employee accounts when they leave.
The published price for Workplace is $3 per active user per month for the first 1,000 users. Then the price drops to $2 per active user for the next 9,000 users and finally to $1 per user for more than 10,000 users.
Should you care about Facebook Workplace? Well its new, but built on the very familiar Facebook platform. It comes to market with a lot of features that existing Facebook users – all 1.4 billion of them – are used to using. If you remember back when Facebook was new, many people said “Why would I use that”, or “Its only for college kids”. We see what Facebook has done in the social media space over the years and could be just as transformative in the workplace.
If you already have another enterprise social network, you would have to weight the costs and benefits to moving to Workplace. If you don’t have good adoption of your existing system, then maybe having the Facebook name would help.
If your company doesn’t have a social network at work, Workplace should be something to look into. You could finally have a system that is “just like Facebook”.