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October 24, 2016updated 07 Nov 2016 2:34pm

Welcome to Facebook at work – but only if you have email, the right software and like sharing data

Facebook has finally entered the enterprise, but its Workplace offering faces obstacles from business context to data security. Facebook, however, is not alone in facing these problems.

By Ellie Burns

Facebook launched its first enterprise offering with much numerical aplomb, citing an already impressive 1,000 global organisations and 100,000 groups using the service formerly known as Facebook at Work.

The arrival of Facebook’s fee-based communications tool for the enterprise was divisive; on one side of the fence were those who heralded the long-awaited entrance of Facebook to the enterprise. The arrival of Workplace was welcomed as a platform delivering to shifting employee attitudes to work and the way in which technology is enabling enhanced productivity and collaboration.

One of the welcoming party to Workplace was Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of cloud company Box, who said:


Workplace, by Facebook (formerly known as Facebook at Work) aims to help organisations collaborate better using familiar Facebook features like News Feed, Groups, Chat, and Live Video.

“While enterprise software has often been an impediment to helping people do their best work in the past, cloud and mobile have reversed this trend. The cloud and mobile era – driven by Apple and Android devices, computing from Amazon Web Services, and modern enterprise software like Box, Quip, Asana, and others – has ushered in a modern IT stack where enterprise technology is as simple, delightful, and powerful as our consumer technology.”

Levie went onto say that he was ‘thrilled’ at the enterprise arrival of Facebook as it gives “organizations and enterprise developers alike to leverage the same capabilities that we’ve come to rely on for communicating and connecting in our personal lives at work.”

Workplace was also celebrated as the platform to tap into a new generation of workers, with millennials now being given a platform they are already comfortable in using, and one which creates new relationships in the workplace.

“Social networks are appealing to millennials’ appetite for a new type of relationship by evolving into lifestyle companions and enabling them to create their own social media profile,” said Hugo D’Ulisse, head of analytical platform at SAS UK & Ireland.

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“Workplace offers ease of communication, connectivity between members and the potential to help individuals understand more about their work environment and network by analysing vast amounts of personal data.”

However, on the other side of the fence were those criticising Facebook’s tardiness in entering the workplace collaboration scene, with companies like Slack already having a significant foothold in the market. For some, Workplace was seen as a Facebook fight back against a decline in millennial engagement – a ‘fight for relevance in an era where social media companies simply need to work harder to build advocacy,” as Mr. D’Ulisse from SAS put it.


David Lavenda is an information overload researcher and VP of product strategy at

For other critics, the sticking points concerning Workplace was more about what it was offering and promising to do. David Lavenda at spoke to CBR about his belief that Workplace is no contender in the office collaboration space. Mr Lavenda pulled out four specific reasons as to why Workplace will not succeed, with the first being that the platform has no business context.

“People already have a bevy of apps, documents, and email they use to get work done. Now, Workplace plans to add yet another place to go for work? It just makes no sense. Workplace is not connected to what people are already using. Workers will still have to go to their Salesforce or SAP or Oracle apps to view records.

“Then they will have to switch contexts by toggling over to Workplace to write comments and participate in the conversation.  That toggling is what causes people to lose focus, so they end up not using the tools. The lack of business context is the biggest reason Workplace is a non-starter.”

Proprietary software and data security are also obstacles for Workplace – continue reading to find out why

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