Facebook has its FAANGs out with flourishing enterprise tool Workplace

Big cities may rely on historical sights and antique treasures to draw in the tourists, but they can still benefit from infrastructure upgrades. Driving this evolution in the near-future will be tourism, one of the industries most rocked by Covid-19 that is steadily preparing for a post-pandemic world in which people are free to travel again. 

‘FAANG’ companies (i.e., Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google [Alphabet]) are usually associated with the consumer market, but their influence on the enterprise market should not be underestimated, especially in the wake of Covid.

Recent digital growth may have been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, but this doesn’t appear to be a temporary blip. Enterprises, governments and people have had time to reflect, and many now consider work to be an activity rather than a location.

In addition, countries fortunate enough to be further along in vaccinating programmes have seen a rise of new businesses forming as economic growth returns. The benefits of not commuting, alongside the convenience of working from home and the improved work-life balance it brings have also encouraged many to become masters of their own domain.

Existing businesses ranging from florists to financial service providers have too embraced a more digital approach to enterprise, providing further market momentum.

Collaboration and comms

Surveys by GlobalData have found that 44% of employees want to work in a hybrid environment between home and office. What this means is more growth in collaboration, one category of the five GlobalData analysts have identified as the framework of the Future of Work in an overarching​​​​​​​ thematic report.

The analysis notes that Covid-19 has meant a huge boost for collaboration platforms. Microsoft, for example, reported that 44 million people used its Teams software on 18 March 2020, 12 million more than the number of daily active users it had one week beforehand. Following the same trend, work communication platform Slack revealed its revenue for the three months to the end of April 2020 was $201.7m, up 50% YoY.

Collaboration, however, is more than online communication. It also includes customer relationship management (CRM) platforms such as those provided by Salesforce and Oracle.

“The CRM marketplace has become a battleground for vendors, as customer experience is now a strategic imperative for companies of all sizes,” the GlobalData analysts write.

“Once primarily a solution for helpdesks, sales contact management, and lead tracking, CRM solutions are evolving and expanding to adjacent areas such as marketing and partner management.”

The most active CRM company in M&A is Salesforce, which has announced several major acquisitions since January 2018. They include the $15.7bn purchase of Tableau and the $6.5bn takeover of MuleSoft. These two deals gave Salesforce greater access to enterprise data, no matter where it is stored.

More recently, Salesforce announced it would acquire Slack for $27.7bn. As a result Slack will be deeply integrated into every Salesforce Cloud and act as the new interface for Salesforce Customer 360.

Workplace worms its way in

The company to look out for, however, is Facebook. The social media giant’s Workplace software tool is making bold strides away from the consumer market into enterprise, with more than 200 million customers as of May. Within that base are 30,000 organisations using Workplace, including seven million paid subscribers to the platform.

Launched in June 2018, Workplace is based on Facebook’s own internal collaboration platform and was initially targeted at non-profits and the education sector. Since then, it has developed into a service delivering 40% year-on-year subscriber growth and boasts blue-chip customers like Walmart, GSK, AstraZeneca, Telefónica, BT and Virgin Media — as well as a host of smaller enterprises.

What might provide an advantage to Facebook over time? First and foremost is its familiarity; love it or hate it, Facebook’s brand is recognized globally. Then there are resources: Facebook’s revenues in 2020 amounted to nearly $86bn (Zoom achieved a creditable $2.65bn by comparison).

With free trials and monthly per-user pricing on Workplace currently starting at $4 for smaller organisations/teams and $8 for complex ones, the attraction to Facebook is clear. Competitors will therefore need to prove their worth on factors other than price as collaboration changes in the future of work. Source

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