October 19, 2016
Last week Facebook launched their much anticipated new enterprise social network offering, Workplace, formerly known as Facebook at Work. The service is designed to transform business communications by improving internal communication and collaboration. Workplace is a separate product from personal Facebook. Users have unique accounts within Workplace where they can create and join groups to collaborate virtually with their coworkers, although the option to link accounts is available in a user's settings.
For those of us who have been working in the social enterprise space for some time now, these objectives may sound very familiar to other platforms that already exist. Jive Software offers a similar social intranet experience with their Jive-n social intranet solution. Jive-n enables organizations to work better together internally by improving how employees connect, collaborate and communicate with each other.
So how do Workplace and Jive compare?
Both Jive and Workplace have the ability to have a centralized news feed that pushes out important information to employees. Workplace has maintained the traditional news feed that users are familiar with when they log in to their personal accounts. The information that displays on your Facebook news feed can be filtered by top stories, based on what's trending and who or what you're following, or by most recent activity.
Jive offers an additional layer of targeted communications. When you log into your Jive community, you will see both top and trending content, items you're following, as well as custom streams that can be controlled by an administer or community manager to ensure they are seen by all employees or a segment of employees. For example, if you wanted to replace the emails being sent out currently by your Corporate Communications department, you could create a stream for Employee News and then select the send inbox notification option. Then, anytime new content was added to that stream by the communications expert, users would also receive a notification in their Jive inbox, alerting them that important news is available.
An added bonus that Jive offers is the ability to view impact metrics on specific pieces of content, similar to a read receipt without the unnecessary email component. As the author of a piece of content, you can view impact metrics that will detail how many views the content has received within a specific time frame that you can set, as well as a list of who the viewers are.
With Workplace, employees can consume information from their News Feed, as well as create their own groups within the platform for team collaboration. Although users can upload files to these groups and communicate with each other through comments and status updates, Workplace does not offer a Microsoft Office integration. So while there may be files in a group that users are working on together, they will most likely run into issues when it comes to version control, since a user would have to download the file, make their changes in the document and then upload a new version.
Jive offers out-of-the-box Microsoft Office integration, which allows users to upload files directly to groups and spaces in the community. Along with uploaded files users can also collaborate on Jive native documents. These native documents allow for sophisticated version control, and will show when a document was last updated, by whom, the ability to view a side-by-side-comparison of two versions, as well as the option to restore a previous version if needed. If a user is making live edits to a document, other users will not be able to make changes until that person has published theirs.
Along with this functionality, Jive also includes Structured Outcomes, a feature that allows users to mark content as Official, Final, Outdated, Reserved, and more. Content marked as official or final gets prioritized in search results, whereas content mark as outdated gets pushed to the bottom.
Although Facebook maintains that Workplace data is safe and secure, the social network giant has had trust issues in the past, primarily around user privacy and security. This begs the question, just how secure is the Workplace platform? Given Facebook's track record, businesses might be wary as to how the social network may store and utilize their data in the future. While Workplace claims that like all other cloud-based enterprise software companies own their own data, there are many organizations, particularly in the financial services and healthcare industries, where this layer of security isn't enough.
By offering both cloud-based and hosted options, Jive gives its users options as to where its data is stored. In addition, Jive also offers records retention, a compliance requirement for many companies using social enterprise solutions. For more information on Jive's security and privacy specifications, see Trust & Security.
Workplace, like Jive, also offers single sign-on integration, so users don't have to worry about maintaining two separate login IDs and passwords. As with Jive, users can create collaborate groups as well as multi-organizational groups, which extends collaboration beyond a company to allow employees from different organizations to work together. However, Workplace lacks integrations with other document management and productivity systems that companies may already be utilizing internally.
Jive's robust social intranet prides itself on being an "Integrated Hub" and includes the following system integrations:
Click here to view a list of all Jive-n features.
In comparing both Workplace and Jive-n, it is evident that both enterprise social networks provide similar features and offerings, including a mobile app experience and user authentication services. While the familiarity of Workplace's user interface may lead to higher initial adoption rates, Jive provides organizations with more advanced collaboration options, platform UX/UI design customization, and a wide array of integrations with other tools and systems. Although it is early stages for Workplace, it's exciting to see how the platforms will continue to compare going forward.
So what do you think of Workplace? Would it work for your organization?