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Facebook at Work ‘counting on familiarity factor’

Facebook at Work ‘counting on familiarity factor’

September 24, 2015

Imagine the scene. A group of builders in the UK reach the end of their working day.

One snaps a picture on their smartphone – a quick, hassle-free update on their daily graft.

That image is then pinged to construction colleagues working on-site in Japan and Germany, who are able to see the UK team’s progress without having to barely break stride. This is not fiction.

It is happening – an example of connecting non-office employees that Facebook is keen to promote – and offers a tantalising glimpse at the potential reach of Facebook at Work.

We’ve been waiting a long time for Facebook’s corporate offering to come to fruition.

But it’s nearly here.

Those construction workers have been part of the Facebook at Work closed beta, running since January.

The lengthy session – designed to iron out flaws, resolve issues and ensure the platform is robust – is almost complete.

Website Re/code predicts a freemium version will be released before the end of 2015. A launch date for the full product is yet to be confirmed.

Going up against the likes of enterprise big-hitters Yammer and Slack will be no easy task.

Yet the social media giant is confident its move into the enterprise market will be a successful one.

Why? Familiarity.

Because nearly every single one of us knows how to use Facebook before they even begin.

Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, part of the Facebook at Work beta group, said: “If somebody comes into the company, they know how to use this tool from day one.

“So training cost is zero. That’s important.”

Julien Codorniou, director of global platform partnerships at Facebook, told The FT: “I think they want to bring a new level of collaboration and productivity to the workplace and they want to do it with a new type of enterprise software.

“One could say the definition of a good organisation is when news travels fast – I think it was Bill Gates who first said that – and that is what Facebook has been doing for 10 years.”