How Facebook Is Building a Collaboration Platform for Enterprises

How Facebook Is Building a Collaboration Platform for Enterprises
It's All About Messenger
It's Still Basically a Marketing Platform
Don't Forget About App Development
Social Collaboration Is at the Heart of Its Enterprise Approach
It Wants to Control Content
Understanding the Need for Security
Collaboration in the Office Matters, Too
Facebook Will Keep Adding Features for Enterprises
Facebook Has What Others Don't: Over a Billion Users
Look for Facebook to Keep Buying Companies
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How Facebook Is Building a Collaboration Platform for Enterprises

By Don Reisinger

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It's All About Messenger

At the core of Facebook's new efforts in the enterprise is its Messenger application. The platform has now been opened up to companies to allow them to communicate with customers directly from the app. In addition, users can build apps tailor-made for Messenger to extend its functionality. It's an important extension for an application platform that, according to Facebook, is currently used by more than 600 million people.

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It's Still Basically a Marketing Platform

One thing to keep in mind about Facebook and its business-focused efforts is that it's still going after marketing dollars. Facebook Pages are all about connecting with customers and marketing to them, and the company's own ad platform follows the same tack. Facebook is about marketing first, and it's important not to forget that.

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Don't Forget About App Development

Facebook has for years offered an application programming interface for companies to build their own apps for the platform. At its recent F8 conference, the company highlighted the features that allow firms to build unique programs. Enterprises might not immediately see the value of these app development features, but Facebook believes it will extend the appeal of the social network over time.

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Social Collaboration Is at the Heart of Its Enterprise Approach

As noted, Messenger comes with a feature for companies to directly chat with their customers. It's part of a broader effort on Facebook's part to enhance social collaboration with companies and their customers. Facebook argues that the market is changing and having a direct line to companies on a range of fronts—from Messenger to private messages to comments on news feeds—will be central to a company's customer outreach in the coming years.

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It Wants to Control Content

According to a recent report, Facebook also wants to control a generous share of the Web's content. In fact, the company has inked a deal with several prominent publications, including The New York Times, to build a service that would host news content. The feature is an extension of Facebook's Open Graph, which delivers content from around the Web to Facebook in a package defined by users. Facebook is telling business users that if they're not taking advantage of Open Graph already they should now.

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Understanding the Need for Security

Facebook has said that security stands at the center of its Facebook at Work initiative, which allows companies to build their own internal social network. The feature creates a firewall between enterprise and consumer versions of Facebook to prevent data leakage while enabling employees to freely communicate. Facebook is serving notice to business users that it understands the need for sound security measures.

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Collaboration in the Office Matters, Too

It's worth digging a bit deeper into Facebook at Work. The feature is essentially an alternative to services such as Slack and Yammer and is designed for collaboration in the office. It offers different access levels for users and an opportunity for users to store content and make it readily accessible.

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Facebook Will Keep Adding Features for Enterprises

Facebook made hints at its F8 conference that it will keep adding features for enterprises. The company noted that its Messenger efforts is just one example of its broader effort to engage corporate users and provide tools to help them collaborate within their organizations and to reach out to their customers and partners. Expect to hear more about its enterprise outreach before the next F8 developer conference rolls around next year.

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Facebook Has What Others Don't: Over a Billion Users

While Facebook has no shortage of competitors in the social media sector, it has one thing that that none of its rivals can claim—about 1.4 billion users worldwide. That is a lot of people and organizations that enterprises can connect with. Yammer, Slack and all the other enterprise social networks don't offer the same level of integration with customers that Facebook offers.

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Look for Facebook to Keep Buying Companies

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made clear that Facebook will continue to spend money to acquire companies with technologies and services that will extend the social network's value to enterprises as well as to rank and file users. Since there are many startups and established companies in the social media space that could add value to the Facebook platform, expect Zuckerberg to be as good as his word about strategic acquisitions.

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