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BW Businessworld

Facebook At Work: No Candy Crush Here

Facebook at Work is essentially an SAS offering and works on a subscription model where a company signs up and pays 'a few dollars' per employee

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Timelines, posts, photos, chatter, reactions... It looks like Facebook. Except that it isn't. It's Facebook at Work and it's carefully separated from the social network where you log in and hang out every day to see what your friends and family have been up to. And no, you can't play Candy Crush here.

Facebook at Work is a walled garden work environment that just anyone can use because it's that familiar and easy to use. "Our democratic ambition is to be, for the first time, an enterprise software that anyone in a company can use," says Julien Codorniou, Director Facebook at Work. "Not just the white collars and the management but the blue collars. And it's for every industry, whether it's retail, services or tech companies or the media. Just like Facebook, Facebook at Work is built with a mobile mindset."

Although Codorniou doesn't like to use the term social enterprise and prefers to call Facebook at Work a productivity platform, it isn't far from the vision of the connected continually communicating enterprise that people have been talking of for decades. Facebook at Work is Facebook's version of what companies have been doing on Yammer, Slack and other platforms. Except that it's not complicated and an employee can instantly begin to use it to scroll through the timeline and newsfeed to look at posts shared with the company at large, to post updates, and to check out specific task related information. With 1.65 billion people actively using Facebook, Codorniou is confident that in any company, employees will be comfortable using the same tools they use in their personal lives on Facebook at Work. "If you know how to use Facebook, you know how to use Facebook at Work," says Codorniou, "Even those who don't know how to use Facebook, will find it easy." He also believes that the platform will be so attractive it will be a unique differentiator calling to young people joining companies. The easy and open internal communication in any company using the platform will, it is hoped, foster a productive and democratic workplace.

Ninety five percent of what is built for Facebook is available on the enterprise platform which is currently in beta and due to launch fully in a few months. Newsfeed, groups, timeline or profile, work chat and search are important aspects of the platform which Codorniou says is going to get faster and easier as we go along.

For Facebook at Work Codorniou is looking for large organisations, though the platform will be open to all businesses when launched. There is already a group of 450 globally companies using Facebook at Work set up, and in India, Yes Bank, Godrej, and L&T Infotech. Startups like Zomato and Urban Ladder are also onboard. And for any sceptics around, Codorniou says there is a list of 60,000 companies waiting to sign up.

The fact that Yes Bank, and in fact the largest client, the Royal Bank of Scotland, find Facebook at Work safe and secure enough should put any doubts on that front to rest. There are several layers of security built in, according to Codorniou, and employees can only log in with the company ID and password and via a VPN, despite the fact that the network can be used with the Facebook at Work and WorkChat apps on any device.

Facebook at Work is essentially an SAS offering and works on a subscription model where a company signs up and pays "a few dollars" per employee. Company management can see at a glance, what the big picture is like in their organisation and even use a dashboard with analytics about the posts on the platform. Facebook at Work does not communicate with the regular Facebook and nor can one communicate externally using it. Connections with applications such as Office 365 are being built in but otherwise, it's a closed system for enhanced security.

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