On Monday, Facebook officially launched Workplace, a product aimed at businesses which is based on the social network’s own internal corporate network.
The release of Workplace signals a definitive shift for Facebook from being ‘just a social network’ – albeit the world’s largest – to an enterprise application.
Like the standard Facebook we all know, Workplace features a news feed and a chat app. The main difference is that there’s a fee to use it.
Nevertheless, despite it not being free, Facebook has launched Workplace with some super aggressive pricing, which sees it less than half the price of its nearest competitor, Slack. However, it should be noted that an apples-to-apples comparison is tricky to say the least, as both solutions have different features and fees.
The instant messaging/chat component of Workplace will no doubt excite and scare organisations in equal measures. On one hand you’ve got a tool that can boost business productivity, while on the other you’ve got something that has the potential to be abused and actually harm productivity.
But Workplace isn’t revolutionary in that sense. Organisations are likely to already be familiar with Microsoft’s Yammer chat app, which comes bundled as part of its Office 365 suite, and Google’s Hangouts feature, which is included in its G Suite range of documents, spreadsheets and storage offerings.
Facebook didn’t miss a trick, though, with Workplace’s launch, and the enterprise app will integrate with both Microsoft and Google’s offerings from the outset. This suggests that Facebook is looking more to complement these software suites in the first instance and not necessarily compete with them.
Workplace’s trump card, though, is its close likeness to the standard Facebook app. This means that companies are less likely to need to spend huge sums training people on how to use it.
Talking about its launch, Julian Codorniu, the executive in charge of Workplace, said there’s “no training needed” and that Workplace is “for everyone: from factory workers, to baristas in the coffee shop, to the CEO.”
What do you think? Is Workplace a stroke of genius from Facebook or an application that finds itself in an already crowded space and will ultimately never catch on?