by Charlene Li and Jon Cifuentes
Facebook’s new workplace collaboration tool might not offer anything new, but its billion-plus user base makes it a threat that competitors can’t ignore.
Facebook is actively testing a new product called Facebook at Work, designed to help groups of users collaborate, share documents and manage projects in the workplace. Here’s what you need to know about it:
The Perception Problem
Facebook’s entry into this market is fraught with challenges. For one, there’s plenty of competition. And then there’s the problem of perception. Facebook is often seen as a destination at work to ‘get away from work.’ In our experience, making the business case for social networking in the workplace can be really painful, especially in regulated industries where data protection and trust is paramount. Just a few years ago, more than half of US companies blocked Facebook in the workplace. Now, Facebook faces the tough task of convincing business leaders that a true business use exists for this to deployed, and IT leaders that their data is safe.
Why It Could Work
So why do this? Easy, they can. Facebook has been using this tool internally for the last four years, and think it’s robust enough to launch for the general public. “We have a long history of successfully connecting people and connecting businesses,” said Elisabeth Diana, corporate communications director at Facebook. “It’s a worthwhile test to explore.”
Facebook’s 1.35B user base gives this ‘test’ real firepower. This instantly makes it a whale in an enterprise collaboration marketplace crowded with minnows. Even the de facto business social network, LinkedIn, has less than 25% of Facebook’s audience at 323M active users and can’t be used for effective workplace collaboration. Enterprises could potentially have a hard time keeping employees on Chatter, Yammer, or other internal social networks when the Facebook interface is already so familiar and functional. In other words, how much do you really have to train your employees to use something that comes naturally to them?
With so many active players in this space, it’s clear Facebook at Work won’t be seen as a huge revenue driver for the firm, and it shouldn’t be. But it does send a strong message to the larger competitors in the space, which is exactly why Microsoft, Google, and Salesforce, particularly need to take notice. They need to be geared up to address the sheer volume of users Facebook can bring to the party and really focus on their strongest value propositions: document and workflow collaboration for the first two, collaboration for the purpose of sales for the third. They simply can’t compete as a business personal profile. Facebook invented that game for consumers, and the enterprise tilt is a no-brainer.
While enterprise players need to take Facebook at Work seriously, the irony is that Facebook at Work is a small fry in the scheme of everything else the company is doing. The business model for this product will likely be subscription-based as enterprises won’t tolerate an ad-based business model for a work tool. For Facebook at Work to make a difference against a backdrop of estimated 2014 revenues of $12 billion, it would have to be massive. Everything we’ve seen indicates that Facebook is merely dabbling in this space for now. Our take: it’s a smart strategic move in the short term to distract enterprise competitors from their more consumer-oriented efforts.
What you need to know about Facebook’s newly launched workplace collaboration tool, and the impact it could have in a highly competitive space.
In our research and client work at Altimeter, one of the most misunderstood issues we see is social business governance.
When Facebook announced last week that it will soon become more difficult for brands’ page posts to appear in the news feeds of their friends, fans, and followers, the outcry was predictable.
Facebook is working on a new offering called Facebook at Work, according to the Financial Times.
Social selling has become a hot topic. Organizations in every industry are working feverishly to leverage social platforms and social networks for a number of reasons
Ten years ago today, I wrote my first blog post, entitled “Blogging as a State of Mind.”
What’s a digital newsroom? Seems like such a simple question, until you start pondering the potential answers.
It’s no corporate HR secret: the greater investment made into employees, the greater the ultimate reward back to the company.
How teens use social media and why it matters to you. Generation Z = (Today’s Teens, Preteens and Children)
During the past several years, the television industry has changed dramatically, spurred by device proliferation, changing distribution methods, and the increasing popularity of social media.
Late last year, I started wondering about social media command centers. Salesforce had launched one, as had Brandwatch, but I wondered: were they really still relevant? Were companies investing in command center deployments, or had interest subsided since their heyday in 2010?
Co-written with: Susan Etlinger, Rebecca Lieb, Andrew Jones, Linda Saindon, Brian Solis, and Ed Terpening The not-so-long awaited Twitter S-1 is out and now the intense scrutiny begins.
In this webinar, they discuss the seven factors that successful social businesses share and how their strategies are designed to deliver business value.
Businesses may be seen as having a “successful” social strategy by virtue of citations in case studies and speaking at conferences. But, by far, the best metric of success is concrete examples of how the organization creates business value via social technologies across multiple departments and dimensions of their business.