Two years ago, Facebook conducted a private beta test on its business platform, Facebook at Work. Now, they have renamed that service and is getting ready to take social networking into the enterprise arena. The new name is Workplace.
The market that Facebook is walking into for Workplace is already crowded with several huge companies with a proven reputation in that sector. IBM has Connections and Microsoft has Yammer. There is also the widely-used Chatter in Salesforce. Jive is also another well-known enterprise social network platform and still there are others more.
There is indeed tough competition in the market and corporate IT leaders had expressed their skepticism. However, Facebook is never bothered by them. It is not afraid of those corporate giants. It has faith in its patrons and hopes that its familiar platform will appeal to the employees in an organizaion.
Companies who had used it have raised concerns about the many problems they had encountered with Workplace. First is that of security. The easy sharing of information employed by Facebook makes the Workplace vulnerable to threats to security and other privacy issues. Additionally, companies are also concerned that their classified information is being stored in Facebook’s servers which are subject to access by U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Lastly, the corporately leaders are not at all convinced about the promise of productivity that Workplace can offer to their enterprise. Statistical studies and other research could not supply sufficient evidence to prove that social network can help improve the performance of the employees in an industry.
Nevertheless, enterprise social networks still have beneficial roles within the company. They serve as useful communication tools for workers in an organization. It allows employees easy access to knowledge resources which can help them to perform their tasks efficiently and effectively.
The traditional method of sharing corporate knowledge is through internal websites, email discussion groups and even direct mail. These methods are often tedious and painstaking. Facebook aims to address these problems with Workplace by creating a social networking platform which makes these interactions a lot quicker and easier.
The only downside to Facebook is its incapability to search for past conversations or make a summary of ideas about a particular subject. This is what the managers of certain companies are worried about. Facebook may not even be able to help employees find the right person in the organization who has access to the information that they need.
It is indeed very difficult to develop a system that provides workers quick access to corporate information whenever they need it and corporate leaders think that Facebook Workplace could not provide that functionality either.
There are several disadvantages to enterprise social networks in general. First, it cannot assure of the quality of information shared across the network. Contributors of knowledge may not necessarily be experts in that field but simply dominating the conversation. Certain enterprise social networks have the capacity to control such information but Facebook doesn’t. Hence, it is very unlikely that Facebook will succeed in its endeavor Workplace than it had as an advertising platform.