Workplace by Facebook Poised to Challenge IBM, Jive, Microsoft, and Slack
By Jim Lundy
(Aragon Research) – The big news that arose from Facebook’s Developer Conference F8 was its corporate offering, Workplace by Facebook. Given that Facebook has 14,000 enterprises using Workplace, this growth in less than a year in the market poises a threat to incumbent Social Networking providers, such as IBM, Jive, and Microsoft. This blog highlights some of the reasons why Workplace by Facebook will challenge traditional providers.
Workplace by Facebook Copies Yammer: It’s Free
One of the big announcements at F8 was Workplace Standard – the free version of Workplace by Facebook (WbF). Standard doesn’t have all of the administrative features of the Premium version of Workplace, but it is a strategic Go-To-Market play known as Freemium, which powered the growth of Yammer (bought by Microsoft for $1.2 Billion) and others, such as Dropbox. By taking the Admin features out of Standard, it forces an organization to upgrade, because you can’t really administer your version if admin features are turned off.
I signed up for the free version of Workplace by Facebook and the on-boarding experience was fast and easy. The only glitch was that the verification email went to Spam (that means Facebook needs to whitelist their IP addresses). The ease of setup will be attractive to IT Administrators.
New and Noteworthy Capabilities
WbF is getting into fighting shape by adding capabilities that enterprises desire. The highlights of what Facebook announced includes:
- Mobile Content Management integration including Box, Dropbox, Microsoft, and Quip/Salesforce. The first three make sense, but we don’t see Quip in the market much. Google Drive would be the priority add.
- Compliance. WfB is adding compliance partners such as CSDisco, Netskope, Smarsh and SkyhighBots.
- Mobile Messaging and Bots. One of the growing attractions for business users is Mobile Messaging. Facebook claims that it already has more than 100 bots to help automate tasks. Facebook Messenger is a threat to all Mobile Collaboration providers.
Traditional Enterprise Social Networking Providers are On Notice
In 2009, when the ESN Market and the consumer Facebook were growing in popularity, ESN was described as ‘Facebook for Work’. Now with a compelling and easy to use ESN from Facebook, traditional ESN Providers are on notice.
- IBM announced Watson Workspace, which is currently in a Free Preview (See Aragon Blog).
- Jive has its JiveWorld Conference next week and we expect to hear its annual product update then. Jive-n is still Jive’s Flagship ESN for Intranet offering. However, Jive has fallen behind in Mobile Messaging since Jive Chime is not actively being sold.
- Microsoft has a three pronged strategy that has Office 365 in the Middle. Yammer is its ESN and it continues to be enhanced. Microsoft Teams is Microsoft’s new Slack Killer and it just went into general availability. On top of that, Microsoft has Office 365 Groups, which was supposed to replace Yammer but in reality, there was too much overlap. Right now, Microsoft is winning the licensing wars with Office 365 and while Google G Suite has slowed it down in the SMB space, no other vendor is challenging Microsoft in large enterprise.
- Slack. Slack is the poster child for Mobile Collaboration. Its announcement event of Enterprise Grid made it feel like no one had ever done what Slack was rolling out. The reality is that Facebook actually has more daily users of Messenger – by a mile. Workplace by Facebook is a bigger threat to Slack than it realizes.
The Race to Digital Work
Aragon believes that getting work done productively has become a messy task. Thanks to Cloud Computing, there are many apps that one can use and there is no perfect application that works best. In areas such as Sales, Sales Engagement Platforms (see Aragon Globe for SEP) are coming online as the Integrated Work experience for sales professionals (SEPs integrate with CRM). In the general office, there are new offerings, such as Bolste, who offer the promise of a better work experience. Aragon has new research coming next week that highlights this new race to the Integrated Work Hub. Stay tuned….