We're betting big on Workplace: Why Workplace by Facebook is a force to be reckoned with

Workplace by Facebook is gaining traction. Just today, Workplace announced a customer win for retail giant Walmart. 

Workplace by Facebook is gaining traction. Just today, Workplace announced a customer win for retail giant Walmart

Analysts, competitors, and consumers, take note: it's time to stop scoffing and time to start respecting Workplace by Facebook as a serious contender in the enterprise social space. Now officially one year old in production, Workplace is gaining traction -- and winning top-notch customers. Just today, Workplace announced a customer win for retail giant Walmart. Convincing the world's largest private employer to sign up for employee collaboration is no small feat; that they chose Workplace by Facebook over rivals is indicative of a larger global trend in prioritizing solid employee experiences and simple, easy communication.

Seasoned community professionals should start embracing Workplace as a key player on the scene. No, the product is not perfect. But Facebook as a company and Workplace as an arm of the business have a solid list of competitive advantages that offer a strategic glimpse of what the future may hold. With 10 years of enterprise community building experience under our belts, here five key reasons that the Talk Social to Me team thinks Workplace by Facebook is a force to be reckoned with:

  1. Fortune 500 traction. Workplace by Facebook is quickly making unprecedented inroads into large organizations. While typical enterprise software sales cycles can last 12-24 months, Workplace is getting in the door in half that time. Workplace is the chosen platform of several Fortune 500 companies, from Starbucks to Campbells, to Stanley Black & Decker and now Walmart. Workplace and its team are moving the sales cycle at lightning speed.
  2. Facebook is listening to the Enterprise. Like we said, Workplace as a product isn't perfect, and we have a running list of improvements (we've been pestering them about better analytics for a while now). But Workplace is starting to roll out more enterprise-required features as big customers season the consumer-facing company to typical corporate demands. The addition of group analytics is the most recent improvement to the platform to satisfy team collaboration needs. Workplace has also realized that to get into the enterprise, they must show good faith in the security realm, which is now reflected in their ISO 27001 certification. 
  3. They're hiring. In droves. From solutions architects to enterprise growth strategists, Workplace by Facebook seems to be on a hiring frenzy. This signals huge investment in the product and team, which comes at a time with many other collaboration vendors and partners have planned for or expect significant reductions in force. As a professional services firm that offers guidance on numerous employee community platforms, we can definitively say that the partner ecosystem for Workplace is hot, with an almost frenetic quest to join the ranks - even by PR firms and brand new Workplace-specific agencies that haven't historically operated in the employee collaboration space.
  4. They're shouting from the rooftops. Workplace is advertising like crazy on Facebook. There is simply no other collaboration vendor that has access to 2 billion active users to whom they can market on a daily basis. The reach of this (free) advertising to a third of the entire global population is putting Workplace front and center for end users and business leaders. We're not making a judgement one way or another on if this practice is good, or right, or wrong, but the fact is that Workplace by Facebook is the kid sister to consumer Facebook, and this family lineage comes with pretty nice perks. Right now, it's basically Student Council election time, and older-kid Football Captain Facebook is making sure that younger-kid Junior Varsity soccer-playing Workplace is in prime position to win.
  5. Facebook is on a mission. Mark Zuckerberg recently updated Facebook's mission to emphasize its investment in community. Facebook's mission is now to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” This demonstrates that Facebook is really in the business of community for the long run. Community is not a convenient way of peddling more license revenue, as it is for some other vendors. It's also not a pet project funded out of love but lacking real support. No, to Facebook, Workplace is an extension of its mission to build strong communities, because our friends and colleagues in the office are just as critical to our world as chosen friends and families.

There's more to the Workplace story. We've seen the product and the team evolve over the past year and a half. We're betting big on Workplace because we think it has the strength and momentum to gain fast traction with big companies who want to create change. We're also betting big on the continued need for community management and coaching, because good employee networks don't find success overnight. Want to learn more? Download our whitepaper for an inside scoop on the pros--and cons--of Workplace by Facebook.