That's why Barr is not convinced Facebook will be able to improve its perception among IT leaders and effectively support both consumers and enterprises. "I have many reservations about an organization with Facebook's track record on privacy issues being trusted with so much sensitive business data."
Lindenmuth won't even consider using Facebook for collaboration unless the product can be hosted on Payce's own servers. Storing data in the cloud on Facebook's servers is not an option for Payce or many of his IT colleagues.
The reality is that few companies can effectively serve consumers and enterprises because their needs and objectives often run counter to the each other.
Facebook at Work most likely to succeed within SMBs
Barr suggests Facebook at Work is best suited for smaller organizations with relatively minor requirements that need an easier way to communicate internally and share basic information. Facebook can be an effective alternative to a traditional, static intranet, and it can help consolidate business communications into a central hub, according to Barr.
Consumer companies such as Facebook and others have in the past been able to build more efficient ways of sharing information, and then scale, and enterprises have a clear need for those tools inside the workforce, Barr says.
"Those organizations that have adopted social tools successfully have seen the benefits in greatly improved knowledge transfer across the organization, more efficient communication, better client service and improved productivity," Barr wrote.
Facebook's entrance into the business market further validates the importance of collaboration tools, but other, well-established platforms that provide similar tools have already adapted to the enterprise.
A free (for now) product from Facebook that requires no training will get many CIOs to at least consider the company's offerings, Lindenmuth says. "Facebook is banking on the fact that everyone knows how to use Facebook."
Facebook also has an advantage over competitors because it could gain a foothold in enterprise through slow adoption; other business collaboration platforms are typically all-or-nothing endeavors.
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