Facebook on Thursday announced that around 30,000 organizations are now using its enterprise version of social network – Workplace. A year back, when Facebook Workplace was launched to take on platforms such as Slack, Microsoft and Atlassian, it had roughly 1,000 businesses using it.
Standalone Workplace chat app
Having 30,000 organizations as customers is a big achievement, but Facebook did not mention how many of those are paying for using Facebook Workplace. Nevertheless, braving all the challenges in the enterprise market, Workplace has achieved remarkable growth in a short span. Royal Bank of Scotland is one big name that brought its 100,000 workforce onto the platform. Just last month, Facebook announced that Walmart, with 2.2 million staff globally, also signed up for using Workplace.
According to Mashable, Facebook Workplace product manager Simon Cross said, “I remember a lot of people, the first time they ever heard of Workplace, they were kind of somewhat skeptical as to why Facebook is building this, and were they serious about it.”
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Facebook pitches Workplace as a platform for everyone in an organization, and not just the “knowledge workers” who have desk job most of the times. The idea behind Workplace is that everyone from top executives to the warehouse assistant finds the workplace easy to use because the look and feel of the platform is similar to that of Facebook.
On Thursday, Facebook also launched Workplace messaging as a standalone app for desktop and mobile, dubbed as Workplace Chat. Features of the Workplace Chat are almost the same as the existing messaging features in the Workplace, but for the first time, it is released as a standalone app. Facebook also introduced screen sharing for the Workplace Chat, and going forward, the chat app will also get group video chat, allowing users to create virtual “rooms” of up to 50 people.
Facebook Workplace – what it lacks?
The Workplace has benefited greatly from the name Facebook prefixed to it. The reputation of the parent company has helped it earn some of the biggest clients. However, what Workplace lacks is the deep enterprise relationship that the leading players have. Earlier this month, Craig Le Clair, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, said that the Facebook Workplace has succeeded in gaining “usability but not enterprise trust.”
Many companies tested Workplace initially, but stopped using it “due to inflexible terms and conditions that indicate a lack of maturity in enterprise agreements,” the expert said, according to ComputerWorld. Many also do not trust Facebook with internal proprietary communication, and a few have difficulty in associating Facebook, known for fun, with work, Clair said.
Slack boasts of over 2 million paid users and 50,000 paid teams. Not necessarily all the teams belong to different entities as big organizations can pay for multiple teams to keep division segregated from each other. Facebook Workplace rival recently added an interactive screen sharing feature that completes its portfolio of call services. Meanwhile, Microsoft also laid out plans to add more messaging, calling features and meetings to Microsoft Teams.
Facebook intends to release a streamlined free version later in 2017 to stand against the offerings such as Microsoft Teams and Slack, notes Engadget.