Why FB Workplace – An Ideal Enterprise Networking Platform for Startups?
Monica woke up on a Monday morning in her cosy double bed. Already delayed than her usual schedule, she hurriedly got ready, ate her breakfast and rushed for her workplace. On her way, she realized that she has to update the company employees with the newest trend in Artificial Intelligence and the categorical shift the analytics industry will be taking in automating the process in the future. Drafting a mail and sending it across to all the employees at various locations, including those in client locations was a cumbersome task, would require intervention of the centralized mail desk… blah… blah… blah… But what occurred to her was that her company, TEG Analytics, was a Workplace user. She opened the workplace app from her phone and updated a new post with the link to her article and BINGO!! Within 15 minutes there were more than 25 views.
4PM and she was sorted for the day. TEG’s annual Cricket Tournament was supposed to start in the next 10 minutes.
“Arvind wanted to watch the tournament”, she jumped off her seat as she got ready to post a live video in TEG workplace the moment the match started.
“Damn! Girish dropped yet another catch?” gasped a retired hurt Satya, Captain of Team Andhra Chargers, from his workstation, as he watched the video at his workstation at the other end of the office.
Welcome to the new age of Enterprise Networking, better known as “Workplace”. After 20 months in a closed beta under the working title Facebook at Work, Facebook has finally brought its enterprise-focused messaging and networking service to market under a new name, Workplace – a platform which connects everyone at your company to turn ideas into action.
Workplace – which is launching as a desktop and mobile app with News Feed, Groups both for your own company and with others, Chat direct messaging, Live video, Reactions, translation features, and video and audio calling — is now opening up to anyone to use, and the operative
word here is “anyone”. This means that Workplace won’t only cater to the desk dwelling “researchers” of the company who are brainstorming every day for insights of the industry, in their air-conditioned cabins, but also the more “naive” machine handlers, people whose work involve travel, and everyone who have been rarely included into an organization’s greater digital collaborations. TEG has been very active in using all the features extensively, be it knowing about an employee profile who has recently joined, be it planning their Marketing strategy in a closed Marketing Group, or be it creating events with calendar (date/time) details.
What’s more is that, Workplace wants to build itself “the Facebook way” with a unique twist. As explained by Julien Codorniou, director of Workplace, in an interview in London, “we had to build this totally separate from Facebook, and we had to test and get all the possible certifications to be a SaaS vendor”. Workplace has been tested in every milieu ranging from the most dynamic MNCs to the rather conservative government agencies. In such a scenario, it provides the perfect enterprise social networking platform for the Indian start-up market. What’s better is that Workplace is an ad-free space, separate from your personal Facebook account – hence nothing to distract you. Also, with Workplace designed in the same model as Facebook, people with not much exposure to enterprise networking find this interactive and easy to handle.
Facebook has signed up around 800 clients in India including Bharti Airtel and Jet Airways for its workplace version, making the country one of the top 5 in the world for the enterprise communication app. It counts Godrej, Pidilite, MakeMyTrip, StoreKing and Jugnoo as some of its top clients in India.
“We see it is as a different way of running the company by giving everyone a voice, even people who have never had email or a desktop before,” said Julien Codorniou, VP-Workplace by Facebook, which competes with Google, Microsoft and Slack in the office-communication segment. “Every company where you see desk-less workers, mobile-only workers is perfect for us. That is why I think there is a strong appetite for Workplace in India compared to other regions. It is a huge market,” said Codorniou. “Mobile first is a global strategy, but it resonates well with Indian companies.” Facebook says that the Indian workforce below the age of 25 years
prefers using mobile applications to communicate rather than emails. Here’s where Workplace wins.
Another innovative prospect of Workplace is its pricing model, compared to its competitors like Yammer, Slack, etc. Workplace, unlike its competitors which has different rates for low end basic features and high end features, provides all the features to its users at the same rate. It charges monthly depending on the number of active users a company has in that month, active meaning, having opened and used at least once the Workplace account in the month.
Most enterprise social platforms fail to achieve broad traction because they don’t offer ready answers to “how” & “how much” questions. With Facebook’s announcement about the integrations with Box, Microsoft or Dropbox or even Quip/Salesforce turning true; Workplace will be the all-you-need Enterprise Networking platform. Eventually, at the end of the day, if you don’t integrate with the tools your customer use, you’re going to lose a customer – and that’s not a very positive payoff.
Certainly, with a brand like Facebook, which has over the years captured people’s imagination and flattered people with their innovative approaches, endorsing Workplace, this seems an interesting concept. It still needs to be seen how they fare in a completely different platform, the Enterprise Social Network, and the way TEG is using it will help figure out the drawbacks and potentials.