October 4, 2018

Facebook Workplace: What Is It All About Anyway?

Facebook WorkplaceThe Facebook Workplace is a highly collaborative platform that is run by its parent company Facebook, Inc. It had effectively been launched on October 10, 2016.

The core objective of the platform is to help users communicate with different groups and engage in live chat with office colleagues and coworkers, regardless of the geographic distances involved. Basically, Facebook Workplace offers various social network features that are commonly found in the Facebook social media platform, albeit for the corporate environment.

The platform’s beta testing started as far back as the beginning of 2015. A key differentiation feature of this software is that unlike the Facebook website and app itself, which has always maintained its unique blue color identity, the Facebook Workplace on the other hand uses grey as its visual brand identity.

Free service for non-premium users

As of 2018, the key features of Workplace have been available free of cost.  However, a premium usage tier has been offered by Facebook Inc. available at $3 per user, per month. But the charges are not applied automatically at the moment someone signs in. Rather, all new users are given a complimentary 90 days free trial.

The charged version basically adds customer support and various enterprise features such as APIs and administrator controls. However, the $3 cravat is not etched in stone. Various discounts are easily available for organizations that have over 5,000 employees/ users.

This premium tier is also offered absolutely free to various registered non -profit organizations as well as educational institutions.

Basically, this service combines the look and feel of the Facebook smartphone consumer app with multiple features that are more targeted toward the average enterprise user.

Emulates the well-known FB platform

The platform’s main benefit lies in its near instant familiarity among a veritable plethora of end users. Since there are now around a quarter of a billion Facebook users in the United States alone, the odds are that a company’s employees will already be adept at using this application.

This means no down time in employee performance due to the training process as they familiarize themselves with the app. From a purely business perspective, this has a number of advantages. And it means that the training period will be lessened as staff members start using a new tool, and, in theory at the very least, it will considerably increase the overall likelihood of a really strong uptake all across an organization.

Of course, trying to break into the ever-evolving and changing, not to mention an increasingly crowded collaboration market, will inevitably bring its own set of challenges and difficulties. The Facebook social media network has effectively revolutionized social media as we know it today.

Not only has it led the way in connecting both families and friends to its online members, but at the same time, it has also been instrumental in convincing many large organizations that it is not just ready but also quite capable enough to do (more or less) the same job for the employees and the staff members of even very large organizations. In fact, Facebook actually relishes the challenge to do so.

It is primarily for this reason that Facebook decided to work on this vital niche, a niche that no one seemed to be particularly interested in. However, in doing, so Facebook has taken on other online giants such as Microsoft, Cisco and Google who have also woken up to the importance of building platforms to fill this niche. Then there are team based chat platforms (such as ‘Slack” for instance) that are trying to muscle in on this territory.

But Facebook Workplace’s appeal lies in the fact that it is backed up by the all too familiar Facebook platform itself.  Even corporate customers are likely to be more aware of Facebook then any of its rival platforms.  This is indeed, precisely why the innocuously named ‘Facebook Platform’ has been able to achieve what has been described by 451 Research senior analyst Raúl Castañón Martínez to be truly “remarkable growth” in the relatively short time in which it has been available to the end consumers, as such.

Steadily increasing acceptance

The Facebook workplace application is currently in the process of being used by more than 14,000 organizations all over the world, as per statistics released by Facebook. As a matter of fact, RBS or the ‘Royal Bank of Scotland’ was one of the really big corporate users that had vested their full trust in this app, even before its full launch.

Now even Walmart has jumped on the Facebook Workplace bandwagon and that is a fairly significant deal to say the least, since the retail giant currently employs well over 2 million staff members, all over the globe.

And of course, this is but the tip of the iceberg. In light of the fact that there is so much room for growth in the online corporate communications niche.  In fact, many industry pundits are convinced that such apps are merely scratching the surface and once the niche is exploited to its full potential, then the company that comes out on top will be able to accrue billions in annual revenues, per se.

Here, it is deemed prudent to point out that the many differences between Facebook’s consumer application and its enterprise version tend to go deeper than just simply swapping the familiar blue interface for its markedly businesslike gray one. Apart from that, there are additional features as well that are more targeted towards the IT admins of the organization and theyinclude such important additions as asingle sign-on capability, an analytics dashboard, and one of Facebook’s iconic security features. Its two-factor authentication.

We can safely conclude that the Facebook Workplace App has a lot going for it and it will easily be able to rule the roost, much like its parent company has come to dominate social media.

by Bobby J Davidson

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