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Facebook at Work - Is it an Enterprise Social Network?


Facebook at Work - What does it mean for your enterprise?


A few days ago, the much publicised rumour of Facebook venturing into the enterprise workspace, was confirmed to be true with the launch of Facebook at Work. It is another reaffirmation of the growing interest in the space of Enterprise Social Network by companies in the collaboration suite business. Facebook has been the pioneer in the invention and usage of the social technologies for the consumer space, and it is this expertise and know-how that it makes it available to the enterprise. The user base would be conversant with the usage of the Facebook tools and features, thereby further providing impetus for a quicker adoption.


But wait, there is something that glares right back at the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and the management that needs to decide on adopting the Facebook at Work as an ESN platform for their company.


First and foremost is the concern of security and privacy of the enterprise data. Enterprises are known to require to keep their confidential data on-premise and sometimes isolate the network from internal intrusion as well. Facebook at Work may succeed in isolating the data for an enterprise but it is not in a position to make the platform available in the enterprise data centre simply because its business model does not allow it.


Facebook keeps the data secure and private for an individual user but with the understanding that Facebook Platform crawls and infers the data at an individual level for itself and its business. Over the years, it has tampered with the security and privacy policies to the benefit of its changing business model Ad Revenue Monetisation Model and this opens the door for circumspection, doubts and fears which need to be allayed - in word and spirit, now and forever. This is a huge challenge for Facebook to convince mid-size and larger enterprises to use its new platform #fbatwork, as the enterprises will not be ready to entrust its “enterprise data” to Facebook.


The advent of social technologies has been the basis of enhanced collaboration, which has to increase productivity and efficiency. At the same time, enterprises have loathed the decrease in productivity due to permeation of the consumer social media into the enterprise network. Most of the enterprises have filtered off Facebook at the office / workplace. With Facebook at Work being on the same platform as Facebook platform, and with the user being able to shift between the enterprise and personal profile, the question on productivity and efficiency remains open.  It also means that CIO’s would believe that Facebook would be able to “sniff” vital information about user’s (& therefore enterprises) usage and behavioural pattern, thereby opening up the enterprise for analysis available to Facebook only (apart from being another interesting marketing dataset).


In summary, the security, privacy and productivity issues seems to be the bane for adoption of Facebook at Work for mid-size and large enterprises (the paying customer segment) and boon likewise for solution providers such as Sambaash, Slack and rest of the ilk.


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