Facebook’s version of its enterprise, Workplace, announced recently that it has a number of organizations using its platform. The platform is also is announcing a couple of new developments at the upcoming F8 conference focusing on attracting more customers into the paid premium tier of Workplace, Facebook.
Workplace is reportedly expanding the premium tier of the service with several more integrations — apps that it says have been the most requested by the “tens of thousands” of organizations using Workplace — including Jira, Sharepoint, and SurveyMonkey, bringing the total now to just over 50. And second, Facebook is now taking applications for app developers who want to integrate with the platform.
According to Facebook, the new apps that are being announced today fall into three categories i) those that let users share information ii) those that let users get daily summaries; iii) those that let users speed up data entry and data queries by way of bots.
These new integrations for JIRA, Cornerstone OnDemand and Medallia will help consumers to bring in previews of content from these apps so that they can discuss them in Workplace. Users of Sharepoint from Microsoft can now also share folders from that into Workplace groups.
Meanwhile, users of SurveyMonkey, Hubspot, Marketo, Vonage and Zoom can get notifications from those apps to update on how campaigns and other work is running within those services.
Finally, Workplace will additionally be introducing bots into its platform to help manage queries from apps outside of it. A new integration with ADP for example will let employees start a chat with it to request a pay slip, book and get updates on vacation time and more. Others that are launching bots for querying their apps include AdobeSign, Kronos, Smartsheet and Workday.
Such developments will allow Workplace to continue to expand its usefulness. In fact when in the beginning Workplace was little more than a basic version of Facebook that could be used in a more closed environment, a little like a closed Facebook Group. After some tome Facebook rebranded it to Workplace when it officially left its closed beta in October 2016.
The subsequent addition of apps and features like chat (which came a year after that) have also been very gradual. Even today, there is a big gulf between the 50 or so apps that you can use with Workplace and the 1,400+ that are available on a platform like Slack.
Julien Codorniou, who leads the Workplace effort at Facebook, says, “We don’t need 1,000 apps on Workplace,” he said. “Our customers ask for an application like Sharepoint or Jira. We wanted to keep the integrations meaningful, and to keep them beautiful in the news feed.”
In 2017 Workplace snapped up retail giant Walmart as a customer and in a way that deals is indicative of how Workplace has positioned itself as a product.
Facebook is targeting businesses that have a mix of employees that range from those who sit at desks to those who never sit at a desk. And as a result, it wants to keep the number of apps and IT noise low to avoid putting off those users.
“We try to connect people who have never had access to software as a service by making products like ServiceNow easy to use,” Codorniou said.
So there is a common touch, but it only goes so far.
However, the new full set of app integrations is only available for those users who are on the premium tier of the product. This will cost users $3 per active user, per month up to 5,000 users.
Standard users will get a much more limited range of apps, including Box, OneDrive and Dropbox and RSS. Currently the company has not disclosed any plans to introduce any more free apps to its standard users.
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