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🛑 STOP: Before reading this article, please be aware that Meta/Facebook Workplace is closing and will shortly migrate to Workvivo by Zoom. To find out more, please read our blog, Transition from Workplace to Workvivo: A Guide for Workplace Users


It's a question we get asked regularly among internal communicators. They love the usability and high adoption of Workplace by Facebook but their organisation runs on Microsoft tools. So how do you get the best of both worlds?

Workplace and Office is not an ‘either-or’ decision, both platforms can co-exist in your organisation. In fact, many Workplace customers have seen better results once they have integrated Office and Workplace.

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Google+ vs Workplace by Facebook

The SaaS Application Landscape

It used to be that customers bought on-premises software usually from one or a handful of blue chip database and application vendors. Information Technology (IT) teams ensured that the applications ran, captured vast amounts of data and stored it in data warehouses. When data from one system had to be made available in another, your customers relied on IT teams.

User experience was an after thought.

With the emergence of modern SaaS apps, customers realised that lock-ins generated by the incumbents had inhibited them from picking the best solution for a specific purpose. CIOs grew wary of the incumbents. Sensing an opportunity, a bevy of organisations filled the void with cloud applications that did specific things very well.

With the proliferation of specific apps to do specific tasks really well, your potential customers now have an environment where they have hundreds of apps running in their organisation performing hundreds of tasks.

FACT: An average Enterprise uses 461 disparate apps with each functional group relying on specialised functional apps designed to serve them better.  For example, on average, HR uses 90, Finance uses 60, and Sales uses 40+.

Source: Mary Meeker internet trends 2017.

Workplace is now integrated with more than fifty best-of-breed applications, including Office 365 (O365).  Many of the best Workplace customers have integrated O365 with Workplace with their people moving effortlessly between the two.

Why use Workplace and Office 365?

A ‘one size fits’ all software solution is a thing of the past. Customers don’t have to make an “either” “or” decision. Workplace and Office work brilliantly together because both platforms are good at what they do.

Office 365 is used for office apps, like Word, Excel and Powerpoint. SharePoint is great for document storage, co-authoring, version control and workflows. This differs from the strengths of Workplace by Facebook; Workplace is used for building meaningful work communities, employee engagement and communication inside and outside of an organisation.

Starbucks and 30,000 other customers across various industries have discovered how Workplace has transformed their culture overnight.

Starbucks and Workplace by Facebook

What if you use Yammer?

The problem with Yammer is that people don’t use it. In part this is because even though it’s packaged as part of Office 365, people see it as a separate point solution and the whole experience is very disparate. In contrast, 2.27 billion people use Facebook every month and more than 1 billion people use Messenger every month. This is why Workplace is widely adopted within the first 60-90 days.

Workplace Offers asynchronous + synchronous communication.

Yammer is only optimised for small groups of people, not organisation-wide communication. Whereas Workplace offers a mobile first, video first experience with both asynchronous (Workplace) and synchronous discussion (Work Chat).

Synchronous means working together at the same time, and in the online world, chat rooms and online conferences are good examples of synchronous communication. In a chat room, people's comments to each other are relayed immediately, enabling a real-time conversation.

What about Microsoft Teams?

Teams is great to organise and manage projects; however, it’s not a communication platform or true engagement engine for the organisation.

Teams limits the number of members per Team up to 2,500, while Workplace is unlimited including multi-company groups. Teams also limits direct messaging to 20 without 3rd party apps, while Workplace supports 250.

You can integrate Office 365 with Workplace, using Teams for its purpose of managing team projects and documents via link to Workplace, while using Workplace for its purpose of people engagement and communication.

Better Together proof points

Here are some examples of how Workplace by Facebook and Office 365 work better together.

  1. Content is Shared: Shared content is needed to make decisions. This could be a campaign results report from your marketing automation tool, or your “Sprint” board from your project management tool or a Quip file with a draft plan. A better together world means that this content does not stay locked away in apps and places where it is created (SharePoint) but is available where conversations can be had and decisions can be made. It should just appear were conversations are happening.

  2. Context is Provided: Workplace provides perspective on content. This could be a notification that your project manager updated the project plan, that there is a conversation around why a task or a ticket was created or an alert that there is a spike in customer activity. People should not have to wait for that information or have to remind themselves to go somewhere to pull the information. In Workplace, this kind of information can be put in motion quickly and provides context for the people.

  3. Identity Understood: While content and context represent information visibility, the access to the content should be governed by permissions that are inherited from one underlying source of truth. There should be no information breach because two applications have conflicting information regarding which permission model is the primary model. With Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) integration with Workplace, the customer’s cloud-based directory can maintain the version of truth

  4. SSO Makes Integration Easy: Workplace allows single-sign on and simple integration with Office 365. Workplace also integrates with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) for role-based access using Microsoft's multi-tenant, cloud-based directory, and identity management service that combines core directory services, application access management, and identity protection into a single solution with Workplace.

  5. Automated User Group Management Onboards Employees Quickly and Easily: Automate User and Group Management in Workplace using the customer’s organisational structures in Microsoft Azure Active Directory. This means employees are instantly able to operate from Workplace when they join a company and access the information they need to do their jobs.

  6. Previewing Documents is Secure: Customers can easily share OneDrive file links securely on Workplace by browsing their OneDrive folders without even leaving the Workplace tab. Once the OneDrive file link is shared, people can preview the document in the news feed without leaving Workplace. When a user clicks the Office file link, the file will be opened directly in the respective Office Online viewer. Users can then choose to either edit it online or open in the native Office clients for further changes.

  7. SharePoint Bot: Users can search for SharePoint documents from within Workplace using a SharePoint Bot. Workplace is a great platform to promote “Bots” that allow people to interact with other apps like O365 from within Workplace. Bots reduce repetitive tasks – a key benefit of using Workplace.

What makes Workplace different?

Workplace by Facebook reduces the distance between people by breaking down barriers and supporting better communication. Here are 5 reasons why Workplace offers unique value to each customer:

  1. Enable company-wide live broadcast: Communicate with all employees around the world in real-time. No company offers Live Stream experiences like Workplace.

  2. Enable rich content sharing: With Workplace, people can post with rich content, not just text. They can post videos, pictures, live stream broadcasts, tag, add photos, express reactions etc. Expression makes it easier to make an emotional connection between the sender and recipient.

  3. Break down barriers: Workplace supports translation. You can post in English and your colleagues in different countries can read the messages translated to their native language.

  4. Create institutional memory: Workplaces moves knowledge out of email inboxes and into the group post so information can be shared now and in the future. For example, you could great a 'Company FYI' Group and post all big news about the company. If someone new joined the company, s/he can see the history of the announcements for the last few months.

  5. Increase relevancy with groups: Workplace supports communication at scale. Today with email systems, when you send an email to multiple people, if one person says a simple “Thank you” or “Awesome”, everyone’s inbox blows up. Workplace allows communication organisation-wide (at scale) with relevancy by showing all acknowledgements in one place.

If you would like to understand more about how Workplace and O365 can work together in your organisation, speak to one of our experts.


Workplace by Facebook and Smartsheet webinar

Workplace by Facebook

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