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Workplace by Facebook: Can the social media giant convince IT decision makers?

By Shannon Williams
Tue 11 Oct 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Workplace by Facebook is now officially available to any business or institute that wants to use it.

The platform, previously known as Facebook at Work, has been in beta for more than a year, with several organisations including RBS, Yes Bank, Danone, Telekom Austria Group, Financial Times, Telenor, and Booking.com on board.

Facebook described the new offering as “a communications platform that helps organisations collaborate and get more done.” According Richard Edwards, analyst at Ovum, Facebook now has to convince business and IT decision makers that this new offering if different and/or better than other social platforms already on the market.

A digital medium to connect every employee

“The world’s workforce is not homogenous. Every country and every industry presents a different workforce mix,” Edwards says.

“Information technology solutions, including electronic communication and collaboration systems, have traditionally targeted the knowledge worker segment and, more recently, service workers through enterprise mobility initiatives,” he explains.

“Manual workers have, for the most part, been left out of the loop because they are not “digitally connected” to the workplace, its processes, and its communication channels. However, affordable smartphones, pervasive wireless networks, and powerful cloud services are now able to connect the millions of manual workers employed in agriculture, accommodation and food, transport and storage, wholesale and retail, construction, and manufacturing,” he says.

Facebook is designed to be used by everyone, says Edwards.

“Millions of people use Facebook each and every day to stay in touch with family and friends, and the company will no doubt be hoping its new venture will be equally successful,” he says.

“A communications platform that helps organisations collaborate and get more done, Workplace is for everyone to use, not just the white collar workers at the company HQ,” says Edwards.

Edwards says if business leaders can harness the Facebook ‘secret sauce’ to drive up employee engagement, then all are likely to benefit.

“Engaged employees are generally more productive, more innovative, and more collaborative; engaged employees typically deliver better customer service, have less time off work, and make fewer mistakes; and engaged employees have a better sense of well-being and contentment,” he explains.

According to Edwards, employee engagement requires energy, commitment, and authentic consideration at every level within the business, and in the digital age, a digital medium is required to channel these efforts.

“There are many enterprise social networking products on the market, and Ovum is currently producing a detailed report that examines seven popular solutions, so Facebook will have to convince business and IT decision-makers that its new offering is different and/or better than the likes of Jive, Yammer, Chatter, Socialcast, IBM Connections, SAP Jam, and MangoApps,”he says.

“Of course, no one uses any of these solutions in their personal lives, so maybe that will make a difference.”

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