Introducing Workplace by Facebook

Facebook Workplace logoAs promised, Facebook announced their business solution yesterday as ‘Workplace by Facebook‘:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow-3sfTqBZs

Facebook Workplace connect_better2xWe’ve brought the best of Facebook to the workplace — whether it’s basic infrastructure such as News Feed, or the ability to create and share in Groups or via chat, or useful features such as Live, Reactions, Search and Trending posts. This means you can chat with a colleague across the world in real time, host a virtual brainstorm in a Group, or follow along with your CEO’s presentation on Facebook Live.

We’ve also built unique, Workplace-only features that companies can benefit from such as a dashboard with analytics and integrations with single sign-on, in addition to identity providers that allow companies to more easily integrate Workplace with their existing IT systems.

Today we’re also announcing Multi-Company Groups, shared spaces that allow employees from different organizations to work together, to extend collaboration beyond your company in a safe and secure way. These will be rolling out to all customers in the coming weeks.

They have published a very useful 3 minute overview video covering the features of the new solution:

There’s nothing too ground-breaking in the first release – key features are the news feed, groups, IM/chat, video calling, events and search.  It is in many ways, exactly what you’d expect from a Facebook solution for business. That’s not a bad thing all told – it makes perfect sense for Facebook to kick off in this vein and add additional features as they go. They’ve clearly made positive strides with their impressive set of launch customers:

Facebook Workplace customers

A free 3-month trial is available, and then pricing starts at a very competitive $3 a user from there, with free licenses available for non-profits and educational institutions, and all accounts featuring unlimited storage and groups:

Facebook Workplace Pricing

Notably, there is no long-term contract required, and the free trials start from 1st January 2017, even if one signs up before then.  Facebook are still filtering applications to join at this stage, so it may be a while before your organisation is provisioned should you apply today.

Facebook are also looking for consultancy and ISV partners for Workplace, and have launched a partner program which organisations can apply to right away. I’ve done so, and I expect that many other social business consultancies will be in the queue very soon.

It’s going to be extremely interesting to see how Workplace fares, and what impact it will have on existing enterprise software vendors and solutions – both those on-premise and in the cloud.  As I stated in my previous post, I see a massive shakeup on the horizon, and think that Facebook is well placed to take a leading role in improving communication and collaboration within organisations worldwide, particularly in those mid-sized businesses with fewer than 5,000 users.

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!