When I first heard about Facebook working on their new product, Facebook At Work, aimed at businesses and enterprises, I was curious as to what this would involve. Now Facebook is beta testing the service with a small set of external business, so I thought it was time to take a closer look at what it offers.
Facebook At Work is a news professional tool which, according to a report in the Financial Times, will allow users to chat with colleagues, build networks of professional contacts and collaborate over documents.
This elevates Facebook’s offerings to an entirely different level. Many businesses already use social networking and cloud collaboration tools within the confines of their enterprise. Facebook’s competition include, LinkedIn, Microsoft’s Yammer, Google Docs, Slack, Convo, Socialcast and a huge number of others who are tapping into the “enterprise social network” market. These companies are already doing a great job of providing this service, so what makes Facebook think that can infiltrate an already crowded market.
Well the news this morning that Facebook revenues rose above $10bn for the first time in 2014, after the social network made more money in the past three months than analysts were expecting, means they will be confident of their financial future, so can certainly afford to challenge these other players.
And according to Forbes, Facebook’s current monthly users’ engagement is 1.3 billion, which trumps the likes of LinkedIn’s figure of 90 million. So Facebook’s popularity will be Facebook at Work’s biggest advantage.
Facebook will surely come up against major security concerns; convincing companies that their trade secrets will not be passed onto competitors for one. However, this is in common with all Cloud collaboration tools.
Also, most people (quite wisely) like to keep their personal Facebook profile separate from work. They thought about that and Facebook will enable users to keep their personal profile completely separate from their professional profile; this means Facebook At Work will give users a whole different experience.
Facebook at Work is apparently going to be a ‘no ads’ zone; so we are waiting to hear just how will they monitize it!
The reason the concept first came about was because Facebook’s own employees have been using this platform to communicate with each other at work. This is a great illustration of how social networks are transforming to enable future longevity. No longer are they just places to share images of food and videos of cats, it is actually somewhere to collaborate and discuss meaningful information.
Facebook has the reputation as a procrastination tool, now it is time to see it become a productivity tool.