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Facebook’s enterprise focused communication platform “Workplace”, goes public

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Rejoice enterprises — and individuals — for Facebook is finally bringing its one stop solution for communication within corporations, to the market. The enterprise-focused messaging and social networking service that had been in private beta all these months is finally coming to the public. And Facebook has made some pretty interesting changes to the branding and the pricing model associated with the service as well.

Before diving deeper, lets quickly get the slight change in the name out of the way. What used to be Facebook at Work, is launching under Workplace by Facebook. The change in name ought not to surprise anyone who is familiar with the social networking platform’s history or has at least watched The Social Network. The Facebook and then just Facebook, Remember?

As per a press release from the company,

We are coming out of beta with more than 1,000 organizations using Workplace worldwide, on every continent except Antarctica, and more than 100,000 groups already in use.

The 1,000 organizations mentioned above were part of the company’s, free, beta pilot mode. Well, the service is finally coming out of its Beta mode and will be available for any company or organization. 

The service ahas already gathered some traction among users. As per statistics coming straight from Facebook, the number of groups created on the platform has already exceeded the 100,000 mark with India, Norway, US, UK and France, among the top 5 countries using Workplace. As per Facebook, there is a reason behind this excitement even before the product was actually launched.

Workplace fulfills a key gap in the market – for people who don’t work at offices or at desks. These are retail workers, ship crews, baristas – all of whom did not have access to traditional workplace tools, but because our product is mobile – are driving adoption.

And while there already are a whole bunch of software and services that are trying to cater to the communication needs of enterprises and organizations, the very familiarity of Facebook is going to work for it.

Facebook has actually had an internal version of its platform, that was limited to its employees. It allowed them to communicate with each other within the organization and literally brought the grapevine to their monitors. So, the company started testing out a version of the app for other organizations as well — as a product in its own right. After 20 months of beta testing, the company is finally ready to make the product public.

The company also talked about the amazing response it had received in the Beta mode, from companies of every magnitude and from all walks of business.

We’ve been amazed by the breadth of organizations who’ve embraced Workplace — from a shipping company that can now connect with their ship crews using Live video, to a bank that now uses Workplace instead of fax machines and newsletters to share updates with its distributed bank branches. Large multinational companies like Danone, Starbucks and, international nonprofits such as Oxfam, and regional leaders such as YES Bank in India and the Government Technology Agency of Singapore have all embraced Workplace.

The Workplace by Facebook application is launching for both mobile and desktop and is as feature loaded as the original, social platform. Along with News Feed, Groups both for your own company and with other companies in case you are collaborating on a project, direct messaging, Live video, Reactions, translation features, video and audio calling, this workplace oriented Facebook will also offer employees a range of analytics tools that will enable them to gain deeper insights about the undercurrents of thought in their organization.

And that is not all.

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.

Will Workplace by Facebook, perhaps revolutionize corporate culture?

Okay. So this is another very interesting question that have been buzzing around lately. I have been having this discussion with a lot of people and a vast majority of them agree that apart from making communication within organizations more efficient, Workplace also has the potential to radically alter the normal workday.

Corporate communication is not idealistic. Sure, we would like everyone to follow all the rules but hey, business is a dirty business. And you cant really  expect the people involved in it to play strictly according to the rule. There is quite a lot of petty politics and under the bench dealing going around. Complaining about something your immediate superior was doing wrong could land you in hot soup. Workplace though, could change all that.

We have already seen how social networking platforms can be — and have been — deployed to generate support for popular social, political and demographical issues. What is to stop it from doing something similar at our offices. It wouldn’t surprise me if cases of harassment, bullying and other Workplace related issues saw a decline, once companies started adopting this latest platform. It is just too vocal and has too large an audience.

Also, it is probably much easier to stand up against your boss, when you are doing it through a keyboard and a mouse.

The pricing model: Growth focused rather than profit oriented

Meanwhile, the company has also opted for a flexible and innovative pricing plan. Instead for charging a fixed subscription, Facebook is banking upon its ability to attract and retain users to this new mode of corporate communication. The company will be charging enterprises for the number of users that use the application, which is available on both desktop and mobile. Also, the more active users an organization has, the less they pay per user.

  • $3 USD first 1,000 monthly active use
  • $2 USD 1,001 – 10,000 monthly active users
  • $1 USD 10,000+ monthly active users

Similar to how the growth of the original Facebook was driven from Harvard to the whole world, the company is not much concerned with making money at this point in time. For Facebook, its all about growth at present. Which is also why there won’t be any ad on this platform — despite the lower than average pricing for services in the enterprise communication market.

You can know more about the topic and about Facebook’s latest grand enterprise, by visiting Workplace’s official website.

A bibliophile and a business enthusiast.

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