Facebook making a formal move into the work environment – and taking on Yammer – has been anticipated inside internal comms circles for some time now.
So the news about the development of Facebook at Work, a new business-focused site, comes as little surprise. But can Facebook replicate its undoubted social media dominance in the enterprise world?
On the surface, it looks a sure-fire winner but there’s a single word that causes doubt in my mind: trust.
The Financial Times reports that Facebook’s new venture will allow colleagues to connect with contacts and collaborate on work documents.
Facebook has yet to officially comment but initial reports suggest the site would replicate the look and feel of the social media behemoth – but personal and professional profiles would be kept completely separate.
The move would see Mark Zuckerberg’s brand line up directly against the likes of Yammer and LinkedIn.
But despite having a reported 1.35billion monthly active users, it won’t be plain sailing for Facebook to move into the workplace.
Of course, people will be immediately comfortable with the familiar layout and workings of a Facebook project. However trust is a huge issue – on both sides of the coin.
For example, many firms currently block Facebook, rightly or wrongly, associating the social network with personal lives and hitting potential productivity.
However the boom in smartphones has negated impact of a workplace ban somewhat, providing employees with access to their social platforms on the move.
But trust issues with Facebook go further than that.
* Can Facebook convince senior business leaders that it can host business-critical information in a confidential way?
* Will employees see Facebook at Work as a rather unsubtle way of blurring the lines between social and professional lives?
* The likes of LinkedIn and Yammer have established roles with most workplaces today. Do people really want to replicate their Facebook experience in their working lives too?
Facebook at Work has plenty of challenges already – and it’s not even been formally announced yet.
Yammer and LinkedIn are bound to respond too, making it an interesting few months ahead.
Trust us, it won’t be dull.