Facebook@Work: It's All Work And Less Play

by CXOtoday News Desk    Dec 10, 2015

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After spending nearly a year in tests, Facebook is now looking to launchg its ‘Facebook at Work’ product to the enterprise in the global market soon.  

“I would say 95 percent of what we developed for Facebook is also adopted for Facebook at Work,” Julien Codorniou, director of global platform partnerships at Facebook, told Reuters, adding that there are however minor changes. “You cannot play Candy Crush on Facebook at Work.”

However, Facebook at Work users will maintain special profiles that are distinct from their existing Facebook profiles. The company is also developing exclusive products for Facebook at Work, including security tools, Codorniou said.

Facebook started beta-testing the service in January and has kept it as a free, “invite-only” service for companies so far. The social networking site currently makes most of its money by selling advertising slots for marketers to target its users, but it will keep corporate clients’ data separate and not show ads to business users. The service will be open to all companies once launched and Facebook plans to charge “a few dollars per month per user” for premium services such as analytics and customer support.

At present, more than 300 companies, including Heineken, Royal Bank of Scotland and jewelry company Stella and Dot, are using Facebook at Work and Club Mediterranee SA is set to be the latest adopter. The company said globally too businesses can foster encouragement among professionals to inform using Facebook’s groups and news feed features, share and get insights, which in turn can boost productivity.

If Facebook at Work works, it will have a deep impact on the CXO community, believe experts. According to IT analyst Gaurav Kumar, “While the social media firm may have gained the trust of nearly a billion daily active users worldwide, unless it gains the trust of the IT departments to gain traction as a business tool, there are lesser chances of its success.”

He states that while social tools for businesses as a category has been around for almost a decade, it has never really caught on in a big way believe experts. Therefore, companies are yet to reap the benefits of social tools and it may take a while for this segment to mature. This also suggests that Facebook needs to work pretty hard marketing its effort if it wants to make a mark in this segment too.

While there are some concerns regarding Facebook At Work, it has some unique advantages, according to some analysts. “The enterprise social network space is still a crowded one, but Facebook brings a few truly unique attributes to the market, including having the world’s largest network of pre-registered users to better support external collaboration, as well as the most potent network effect in the social networking space,” Dion Hinchcliffe, chief strategy officer at Adjuvi LLC and co-author of the book, Social Business by Design told Tech Crunch. It is this popularity, which can help it make a difference in the world of business.

Nonetheless, Facebook at Work has the potential to challenge other enterprise technologies including Slack, the workplace chat app last valued at $2.8bn, Google Drive, LinkedIn, Microsoft’s Office suite and corporate social network Yammer. The online career market, which includes LinkedIn Corp and Monster Worldwide Inc, is worth about $6 billion a year, market research firm IDC had said in August.

It remains to be seen whether Facebook can win over enterprises, just the way it has wooed millions of end-users across the globe.