Facebook’s first business product aims to take its popular features into the enterprise collaboration market
Facebook has taken its first business product, Workplace by Facebook, out of the testing phase and said it is now offering it to any interested organisation, as the leading consumer social network looks for ways to compete in a crowded enterprise market.
Facebook tested the offering, formerly called Facebook at Work, for more than a year with organisations including Oxfam, Starbucks and the government of Singapore.
It said developing countries showed the most interest, with India the top adopter, followed by the US, Norway, the UK and France. More than 1,000 organisations are using Workplace, Facebook said.
Organisations can now sign up for the tool by contacting Facebook, which said it will charge only for active users rather than a company’s entire workforce. Pricing starts at $3 (£2) per active user for the first 1,000 users and falls to $1 per user for companies with more than 10,000 staff using the platform.
Workplace includes core Facebook tools such as news feeds, groups, chat, live video, search and trending topics, as well as business-oriented features such as a dashboard with analytics and single-sign integration with third-party identity management products.
A new feature will let users create multi-company groups for collaborating between organisations, Facebook said. The company said it plans to offer Workplace directly as well as through technology and services partners such as Deloitte.
Yoma Bank in Myanmar said it found Workplace easier for its staff to adopt than Microsoft’s Yammer because people were often already familiar with it. The bank took on Workplace to replace fax machines and newsletters it had previously used to communicate with branches.
But Facebook faces competition from enterprise-focused offerings such as Salesforce’s Chatter and SAP’s collaboration tools, which have are integrated into products staff already use and as such are automatically linked to productive tasks.
Start-ups such as Slack and Hipchat have also made inroads into the workplace with offerings that have spread by word of mouth.