Facebook launches its business messaging service, Workplace

Facebook takes on Slack and Yammer with enterprise collaboration tool

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Facebook launched its Slack-rival, Workplace, today after testing its business messaging service on more than 1,000 organisations worldwide.

In a press release presenting the new product, Facebook wrote: "The workplace is about more than just communicating between desks within the walls of an office. Some people spend their entire workday on the go, on their mobile phone. Others spend all day out in the field, or on the road."

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Similar to services such as Slack or Microsoft's Yammer, Facebook Workplace aims to provide a messaging service for professionals to communicate from anywhere in the easiest way possible.

A thousand companies in the UK, the US and India trialled the tool under its previous name, Facebook At Work. Its features are very similar to the mainstream social media platform, allowing users to share messages, photos, videos and comments. It also includes Facebook's iconic news feed feature, as well as the possibility to like other people's posts.

Differently from the traditional version of the platform, users can also enable security functions and a dashboard with analytics, making it easier for organisations to comfortably integrate the software within their existing IT tools.

On Workplace, Facebook groups become a virtual space where employees within the same company or from different companies can communicate with each other.

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Danone, Starbucks and Booking.com, as well as non-profit organisations, such as Oxfam, have already embraced Workplace as their new internal messaging service.

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To encourage companies to purchase the service, Facebook introduced the Workplace Partner Program for resellers to help the social media giant promote its new product. Deloitte is just one of the companies involved in this program.

For Facebook, this new service will be the chance to connect workplaces around the world. It said: "Organizations are stronger and more productive when everyone comes together."

28/09/2016: Will Facebook At Work launch in October?

Facebook is preparing to turn your office into your next social network, with Facebook At Work set to launch next month.

This is according to an interview with Julien Codorniou, director of Facebook At Work, published by The Information, which reports the tech giant will make its corporate social network widely available in the next few weeks, charging on a per seat basis.

Subscribing companies won't have to pay for users who stop using the product, reports TechCrunch.

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The apparently imminent launch (IT Pro has approached Facebook for comment) will see Facebook barge into the corporate collaboration space to compete with social-focused rivals like messaging app Slack.

Microsoft is reportedly working on its own collaboration tool, called Skype Teams', that can integrate with Office 365, while Google Apps for Work combines Hangouts, Drive and Docs to push collaboration for users. It has also bought LinkedIn for $26 billion.

Smaller players, like Igloo, also offer document sharing for teams of between 10 and 100 people.

Facebook At Work has been in testing with a small number of corporate customers, including RBS, Mobilink, Yes Bank and UST Global.

Australian firm nbn is another trial user and has replaced its underused intranet with Facebook At Work.

Writing on LinkedIn, executive general manager of corporate affairs, Karina Keisler, gave an idea of how it works, pointing out that it offers typical Facebook functions like sharing photos and posting memes.

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"We have more than nearly 6,000 people talking on a daily basis about everything from tech decisions to wellness initiatives," she added. "Meetings are fewer, conversation are more. Leaders are doing live video updates and generating open conversations for all to see and uniting the teams around their respective goals. 

Facebook was yet to respond to IT Pro's request for comment at the time of publication.

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