In 2012, a research conducted in USA had estimated that Facebook.com, world’s most popular social network has resulted in loss of 80 billion hours of productive work in a year, which turns out to be $1.4 trillion or 1.5% of overall GDP of USA. More than 400 million images are shared on Facebook every 24 hours; 48 hours of videos are uploaded every minute which receives 3 billion views on Facebook, every 24 hours.
Of course, productivity is hampered and this is the reason Facebook is not allowed in most of the offices now. But considering that everyone has a smartphone and/or tablet these days, blocking a site is hardly the solution.
Considering these factors, and taking into account that enterprise usage is on the rise, Facebook has decided to launch an entirely new platform: Facebook at Work, exclusive for enterprise usage.
Hence, this platform will enable colleagues to interact with each other, share office documents and files without mixing them with personal photos and posts. Although Facebook group works on the same premise, but the needs for enterprise users are ever expanding.
TechCrunch had reported in 2012 that Facebook is now working on something which will cater only to professionals. An unnamed source inside Facebook had said, “We are making work more fun and efficient by building an at-work version of Facebook. We will touch code throughout the stack and on all platforms (web, iOS, Android, etc). Reportedly, the team which is working on this new platform is based in London.
Fresh reports suggest that the development phase is now almost over, and the platform can be launched within few months.
By venturing into the enterprise social network niche, Facebook would be directly competing against LinkedIn, which is right now the most preferred destination for professionals. It is being rumored that Facebook@Work will work on a similar model, providing a space for office colleagues and team members to collaborate, share messages, documents and files. Facebook@Work may even have a messaging option for chat.
The personal and professional aspects – friends, posts, images, videos etc would be segregated, things won’t mix up for the user while using this new platform.
Another report suggests that Facebook may have asked their 8000+ employees to use & test this secret project and testing is most probably on the way. Considering that this new Facebook platform would be for professionals and enterprise usage, it is highly possible that they have been using the same as well.
Existing Platforms for Office Collaboration & Networking
Right now, there are a host of tools and social networking platforms which have exclusively developed for professionals. Besides LinkedIn, Google, Microsoft, Box, SalesForce has similar platforms for official usage.
SalesForce.com’s tool Chatter is gaining in popularity, so is Microsoft’s Yammer. A new messaging tool: Slack is also gaining momentum, and Facebook@Work will need to compete against these if they want to have a stronghold.
But the none the less, Facebook is definitely upto something which they should have done earlier. Usage of Facebook at work place, if done productively, can reap in huge profits for the company. And the process has started.
We will keep you updated as more news come in.
[Comments from Arun Prabhudesai: While this is good news, what I would really like to see with this enterprise Facebook platform is more than just being a collaborative tool. It should be more of an all-in-one intranet for enterprises – It should be more focused on the organization requirements, rather than enterprise user requirements. While similar platforms are available, I think that is the space where Facebook can make a real difference, by bringing in a free platform that is easy to use and secure)