After nearly 2 years and with 450 companies already signed up, Facebook Inc.’s (NASDAQ:FBF) Facebook At Work enterprise communication and collaboration platform will launch in October, according to The Information.
Sources report the company plans a per-seat subscription model but specifics, including price, have not been announced.
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What Facebook At Work Does
Facebook at Work will make use of familiar Facebook tools such as News Feed, Groups, Events and Messenger (likely with new names). The algorithm behind the components is the same as the one the Facebook social network uses.
What is different is that the entire network exists within a member company. Catching up with long-lost classmates, sharing videos of piano-playing cats and swapping memes with friends is not part of the Facebook At Work experience.
One reported feature unique to Facebook At Work is the alleged potential to use artificial intelligence to determine employee sentiment. This would make it possible for Facebook @ Work to learn how employees feel about topics within a company and share that information with company officials.
A New Monetization Plan
While specifics on the subscription charge are not available, the rumor mill reports that companies (no size restriction) will be able to sign up next month and use the platform for several months for free.
Afterward, companies that stay on board will be charged a set fee per month for each “seat.” Facebook hopes the new revenue stream will be more reliable than what comes in from advertising on the social platform.
There Will Be Partners
TechCrunch reported that Facebook plans to launch integrations or partnerships with other SaaS tool providers such as Asana, a Web and mobile app designed to help enterprise teams track their work.
Familiarity May Breed Success
Facebook At Work’s strength may lie with its familiarity. Millions of people know how Facebook works and how to negotiate its various components.
By using the same algorithm and similar tools, albeit with different names, Facebook could virtually eliminate a learning curve for the new platform.
An October launch of Facebook At Work would dovetail with Microsoft Corp.’s (NASDAQ:MSFTB) closing down of Yammer, set for January 2017. Microsoft plans to integrate Office 365 Groups with its current Yammer network.
Facebook, however, could see and seize the opportunity to use its familiar interface to syphon off former Yammerers to Facebook At Work.
The use of a self-contained platform guarantees companies privacy and security, something social Facebook can’t promise or deliver.
Features such as single sign-on (SSO) secure identity management and the fact only employees of the member company can see work posted on that company’s platform enhance the secure environment.
Chances Facebook At Work Will Work
Whether Facebook At Work will take hold remains to be seen. Most observers see it as a great vehicle for building a sense of community within a company. The extent to which each company sees the need for community will help determine success for Facebook.
Potentially Facebook At Work can help foster relationships amongst colleagues, no matter their location. That may be its greatest value.