Facebook has been finding some traction for Workplace, its enterprise-focused service; recently, the company announced that Nestlé, the coffee, chocolate and FMCG giant with 2,000 brands and 240,000 employees, has signed up as its latest customer.
Facebook’s enterprise service competes against the likes of Microsoft Teams, Slack and smaller players like Crew and Zinc, among many others in a crowded market of mobile and desktop apps built to address a growing interest among organizations to have more user-friendly, modern ways for their employees to communicate.
Workplace positions itself as different from its competitors in a couple of ways: it says its communications platform is designed for all different employment demographics, covering so-called knowledge workers (the traditional IT customer) as well as waged and front-line employees; but it also claims to be the most democratic of the pack, by virtue of being a Facebook product, designed for mass market use from the ground up.
In the workplace, that translates to apps that do not require company email addresses or company devices to use; a strong proportion of employees at Workplace’s bigger customers, such as Walmart (2.2 million employees) and Starbucks (nearly 240,000 employees) do not sit at desks and, until relatively recently, would not have been using any kind of PC or phone on a regular basis on any average day.
But as smartphones have become as ubiquitous as having your keys and wallet, acceptance of having them and utilising them to communicate workplace-related information has changed, and that is the wave that services like Workplace are hoping to ride.
But despite the strong engine that is Facebook behind it, Workplace has a lot of challenges ahead.
The company has not updated its total number of customers in more than a year at this point — its last milestone was 30,000 customers, back in November 2017 — and Facebook VP Julien Codorniou said the company might put out a more updated number later this year.
“We’re not using that metric to communicate our success,” he said, “but we have to communicate growth, I feel the demand from the market.” Slack claims 500,000 organizations, more than 70,000 of which pay; Teams from Microsoft has some 329,000 customers, the company says.
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