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Can Facebook really do enterprise collaboration right?

Matt Kapko | Oct. 6, 2016
Facebook is about to enter the business collaboration market, and though the space is crowded, the opportunity for Facebook at Work is clear — but the company must earn trust in the enterprise.

Legacy in enterprise still matters to CIOs

Vendors' expertise and histories in enterprise still count for something, according to Crawford. With a company such as Microsoft, for example, "I don't necessarily have to train them or carry the risks while they're trying to figure out how things work within an enterprise," he says. When consumer-centric companies, including Facebook and Google, move into enterprise, the biggest concern for CIOs is security, Crawford says.

"If vendors cannot provide adequate security, ensure that the enterprise owns the data created by its employees, or fail to provide terms and conditions that favor the enterprise, the lack of foundational trust makes CIOs wary," Preset says. "CIOs want to reap the advantages of easy-to-use consumer-like services for efficiency and productivity, not to inadvertently share data or meta-data about their enterprises with service providers." 

Facebook's relative lack of experience in the enterprise could actually be an advantage, because the company is "not boxed-in with their thinking," according to Crawford. However, Facebook still has to grapple with common challenges trusted enterprise vendors have already overcome, he says. Facebook at Work also has to prove it's a worthy contender among so many competitors. "With some of these tools the problem is they're interesting, but they're not really that valuable," Crawford says. "They end up becoming a drain or a waste that's one more thing you have to check on top of everything else."

CIOs make decisions that impact entire workforces, and today they must choose collaboration or productivity app vendors wisely, according to Preset. "CIOs are overwhelmed by the disparate needs of various lines of business," he says. "They feel stuck having to knit together a bunch of fragmented collaboration solutions that don't interoperate …[But] if vendors can play nicely with each other via partnerships and integrations, everybody can win."


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