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February 10, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:04am

Two corporate lessons to learn from Facebook’s decade of success

The two technology trends that could make your company more productive.

By Joe Curtis

Facebook turned 10 last week, marking a decade since it stole the social media crown from MySpace.

Initially aimed at university students, it’s become such a runaway success that everyone from children to grandmothers to alleged criminal masterminds have a profile on there.

It’s such a cool company, there’s even been a film made about it – a sensible move when you consider it had 1.23 billion monthly active users at the end of last year, based on company data.

But no matter how hip it might seem, much of the social network giant’s success is down to factors that could really benefit more traditional corporations.

CBR asked some tech firms what the biggest lessons they’ve learned from Facebook are, and it centred around two things:

User Experience

"We began to see customers asking for social capabilities in the late 2000s, as social media really began to get a foothold," says Stephen Mann, of enterprise cloud company ServiceNow. "We then introduced Livefeed [a Facebook-like newsfeed], chat, and public and corporate social tool integrations.

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"Why couldn’t our IT experiences in work be similar to the ones we have on Facebook, or Amazon, with easy to navigate interfaces and drop down menus?

"Facebook in particular has been one of the consumer services that have set the bar for the user experience. Creating something that is just so easy to use, whether on a computer or mobile device, where the user doesn’t really see that they are using IT. And unlike much corporate software, the customer actually wants to use it."

Richard Acreman, CEO of technology services company WM360, adds: "Simple tools like instant messenger, to supplement emails, or a central news feed that allows employees to flag relevant developments to their whole team at the click of a button, can go a long way towards improving functionality and user experience simultaneously."

Mobile/collaborative working

About 945 million Facebook users were accessing the site from mobile devices by the end of 2013, and unified communications company Unify said companies must respond with easier ways to facilitate working from different environments.

MD Trevor Connell says: "More businesses than ever are embracing flexible working policies and, just as people want to be able to access their personal life on the move, we believe they should also be able to work from anywhere too.

"Effective communication and collaboration enables a more informed business. [We need] to look at how we can continue to encourage team collaboration and mobile productivity in all aspects of our life."

Collaborative working startup Huddle’s CEO, Alastair Mitchell, adds: "Facebook shifted users’ expectations when it came to software in the workplace. This social collaboration app they were using in their personal lives just worked, while the technology in their organisation was complex and often hindered rather than helped them get their jobs done.

"Today’s office workers need to securely connect with people inside and across the firewall – with partners, contractors and customers, as well as the colleagues on their team – and they need to all be able to work on relevant content. Discussions need to happen and, with so much information available in today’s enterprise, activity streams need to provide people with relevant information instantly."

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