Facebook is gearing up for the launch of their Facebook at Work platform next month. Facebook at Work is the competition for Slack and Yammer, though in my personal experience of using Yammer – it has been a disaster.
I should clarify here that my Yammer problems are not so much with the actual product, which is actually fine and I don’t have a big issue with, but more along the lines of actually implementation that I have experienced in the company group I am part of. That is of course not Yammer’s fault it is more the fault of the company. I believe that they company group I am a part of on Yammer has massively failed, tried to force feed it to staff and jam it down their throats instead of on boarding them and showing the benefits.
Facebook at Work has been a closed beta to a select number of companies since January but it will soon be commercially available to all. Where Facebook could really gain traction in the enterprise social network space is familiarity.
The design is rumoured to be very similar to the current personal Facebook experience, that means users will already have a grasp of where everything is and what they are doing right from the start.
Facebook at Work users will be able to use the “work feed” of posts from colleagues to exchange ideas and assume tasks in a similar way that current enterprise social networks deploy the feed. Facebook at Work will also offer groups as well as Messenger which will have audio and video calling options.
As mentioned, the onboarding process for companies and new users should be easier compared to many other tools. People will know how to use it already for the most part. The launch comes as Microsoft removes the ability to purchase Yammer Enterprise as a stand-alone product, while updating Yammer Enterprise to be a more integrated offering in the Office 365 suite.
If you are a business looking for a new platform to collaborate on then Facebook may be about to provide the answer.
In order to appeal to companies, Facebook is offering a pay structure based on monthly active users instead of charging a flat rate. That means you will only be expected to pay based on how active your company is so if you try it out and it turns out not to be a good product for you, at least you won’t be facing a flat rate billing. Employers won’t have to pay Facebook for empty seats.
The pricing has not been revealed yet however there is speculation that it could be $1 to $5 per user.
There will be a difference in design on Facebook at Work where a deep blue bar is present at the top of the page as opposed to the traditional Facebook blue on your personal account. This will enable employers to know what you are really browsing with just a glance. They will be able to tell if you are on your personal Facebook or if you are actually doing some work.
All Facebook has to do now is convince employers they are serious about using Facebook to get work done, not just for fun and games.