Facebook Workplace aims to bring the familiarity of Facebook to the way you and your team work.
For those organizations who have already entertained an Enterprise Social Network, you’ll already be familiar with platforms like Microsoft Yammer, Jive and most recently, Slack. Facebook Workplace is the latest entrant into what is an established and maturing market. But when you have the clout of Facebook, there’s no need to be rushing these things.
Where Facebook Workplace provides real strength as an internal social network for business, apart from group discussion, is more likely to be its Video and Audio calling and its support for Live Video, something that will provide real value to organizations looking for ways to communicate to a larger and distributed work force through video. Obviously there is some cultural change required for people to start broadcasting themselves like my twelve-year-old daughter does using Snapchat or Musical.ly. Facebook has been instrumental in democratizing the way video is captured and published using our phones and Live Video alone has the potential to open up new forms of organizational interaction, like instructional learning, sharing staff achievements and successes and capturing events that simply weren’t possible until now.
Facebook Workplace probably isn’t going to replace your corporate Intranet.
Businesses should consider Facebook Workplace because it’s familiar. Most people in your organization will already have a personal Facebook account. Introducing the same platform to allow them to communicate with fellow team members is likely to have a higher adoption rate. It also encourages collaboration. The familiarity of Facebook is likely to encourage not just some, but many to take part in organizational discussion and sharing.
Facebook Workplace probably isn’t going to replace your corporate Intranet however. While Intranet’s do have adoption challenges, where most of this angst could be solved by introducing Facebook Workplace, conversation management is something Slack has solved, not to mention Skype before that. Intranet’s also exist to solve more complex data and content management tasks that involve integration with on-premise systems, internal document management practices, workflows and custom data management tasks just to name a few. Workplace will assist greatly in nurturing and sharing discussion amongst team members, but it can’t support a framework for completing work. At least not yet.
Perhaps the greatest challenge for Facebook Workplace will be convincing conservative IT and management teams that storing operational content on Facebook servers will still enable them to sleep peacefully at night. It wasn't too long ago when the general mandate was to block a service like Dropbox due to the open nature of sharing anything with anyone outside the firewall. Will we see the same mandate happen with Facebook Workplace? Security is obviously paramount for Facebook to prove that your data is going to be safe as houses, and the mechanism of having a Workplace account tied to your Workplace domain is a good start for managing and controlling who has access.
For a large number of businesses, Facebook Workplace provides a real way of connecting team members and building an engaged community at work. However for many employers it will test their preparedness to condone the use of Facebook at work, as the line between personal use and Workplace use will become blurred. Additionally, small to medium business owners may flinch at having to pony up the $3 per user per month fee (for up to 1,000 monthly active users) for a platform they’ve grown accustomed to being free for so long.