Out Loud with Workplace by Facebook
A very special bonus episode of the Out Loud podcast recorded at Facebook's London offices where we get the inside track on Workplace
Julien Lesaicherre, Director of Workplace by Facebook for EMEA, and Geoff Perfect, their Global Director for Online and Channel, join Patrick for this episode of Out Loud.
Firstly Julien gives Patrick a background on the history of Workplace by Facebook. Used first as internal tool within Facebook, Workplace was then modified and amplified as the team added more and more features that would enable it to be used generally within the enterprise. These enterprise functions and features make Workplace a dramatically different proposition to Facebook itself.
“We knew for years that people were using Facebook Groups for work.”
Addressing the problems associated with the consumer Facebook platform being used unofficially within businesses was a critical focus for the Workplace team. The development team still wanted to be able to leverage the universally recognised Facebook user interface (UI) whilst maintaining the security and compliance features required by businesses. Julien also explains that Facebook’s innovative use of machine learning (ML) tools within its news feed were also vital for Workplace. Another ML enhancement in their auto-translate feature allows organisations to communicate through Workplace globally regardless of the language of origin.
“Most of the communication technology used in the enterprise is stuck in say 2002 or 2003.”
The shift in work habits has undoubtedly placed a greater focus on mobile communications and Workplace addresses this with its mobile-first approach, leveraging the success of the Facebook mobile applications. Creating a simple and intuitive experience for users on their smart phones has been an afterthought for many collaboration tools, but not for Workplace.
Patrick then spoke to Geoff Perfect to understand more about Workplace’s position within the unified communication and collaboration market. Geoff explains that his main focus has been enabling the growth of Workplace within the enterprise space. One of Workplace’s main advantages, in a competitive industry, will be their approach to engage the next generation of workers with rich communication and collaboration experiences that they already know how to use within Facebook.
“With the wind in our back, like we have with Facebook, that huge number of users that understand our platform and our tools from day one make it really advantageous.”
In terms of the go-to-market strategy Geoff explains that Workplace began, as many SaaS platforms have, within a direct model. Workplace are looking to develop their channel proposition moving forward and will look to engage with partners who can help to proliferate the platform in new markets.
The collaboration market has become more and more competitive. We have seen a greater focus placed by Microsoft and Cisco on their team platforms, Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams, and Slack continue to garner investment to bolster their growth. Geoff believes that Workplace is still capable of competing within this market and that the Workplace platform has various advantages that make it stand out from the crowd in terms of usability and mobility.
The market in general is not fully developed and Geoff also explains that there is further scope for increased use of collaborative tools for frontline workers. Many organisations have thousands of workers, potentially within retail stores, who do not leverage the power of collaborative tools and that is an area that the workplace team are targeting.
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Presenter Patrick Watson and special guests Julien Lesaicherre and Geoff Perfect from Workplace by Facebook.