The biggest challenge yet to traditional enterprise communication systems like email and newsletters might come from the unlikeliest of places. Over the last six months, Facebook at Work has been capturing the interest of CIOs across the world despite being in Beta. In fact, there are over 60,000 of them on the waiting list for what it calls the most democratised of enterprise solutions.
Julien Codorniou, Facebook’s London-based director of platform partnerships, says the more connected people are, the more productive they become. “Facebook at Work is the most significant development we have made outside Menlo Park. In fact, it is separated from Facebook, though it will leverage the significant investments made in getting to the 1.65 billion users that Facebook has,” he told IndianExpress.com.
Separated from Facebook is a significant statement, given it is a closed environment only for those within an organisation, and that too with administrative controls. So users will not be able to access posts from friends and family or third-party apps like Candy Crush; nor will there be ads.
Codorniou is in India to meet the new clients the company has got on board here, including some big names like UST Global, L&T, Godrej Industries and Yes Bank, along with startups like Zomato and Delhivery. He says Indian companies have been among the fastest to adopt the new service over the past three months, and globally they are launching one or two companies everyday now.
The first company on board was the Royal Bank of Scotland, and getting a bank on board seems to have put the questions of security to rest right away.
“Facebook at work is based on five pillars — Newsfeed, groups, timeline or profile, work chat and search. On top of this, there is security and analytics which is exclusive to this service,” says Codorniou for whom the the biggest USPs are the fact that anyone who uses Facebook can use Facebook at Work too, and that it is mobile first.
“Even those who don’t use Facebook have no learning here,” he adds, giving examples of CEOs who love the platform, but have never used the social network. This will also be the lure for weaning away people from competition like Slack and Moxtra.
“One of the biggest advantages is that CEOs can feel the pulse of the company on the timeline. It is all about creating a workplace where news travels fast,” he adds. If the timeline can’t give a good idea about the mood, there are analytics to give insights. Plus, for companies with operations across multiple countries, there is the added advantage that all posts are automatically translated to English.
“We are creating a lot of discussions that never before happened… we are helping people who should be working together connect better,” says Codorniou, who has been with Facebook for over five years managing partners and the platform.
This is why on top of his agenda for Facebook at Work, is cross-company integration and getting in third-party apps on the platform. “The platform is coming soon. When we are the homepage for the company, you also become a distribution platform. We will also be open to any developer,” he says.
Codorniou goes to the extent of saying that this could become a differentiator for when youngsters look for a company to join. “They will want to use the same apps they use on a smartphone, even at work.” Facebook at Work has a SaaS (software as a service) model where enterprises will pay per month for each active user.