Facebook’s workplace gets ‘plugins’, new app integrations


Facebook announced a handful of updates to its Workplace corporate social network this week, including new video features and improved integrations with third-party apps.

Among the features unveiled on Tuesday are updates to a live question-and-answer feature that rolled out last year. A presenter can now click on a question and get details about the person who asked it, making it easier to customize an answer. By clicking on the question, the presenter can also place it in the middle of the screen for the presenters and the audience. (Employees will soon be able to include pronunciation of their name as well, which will help avoid pronunciation errors during video questions and answers.

Facebook also strengthened an integration with Cisco’s Webex video conferencing platform first announced in December, providing the ability to stream directly into Workplace’s live video feature without switching apps.

Workplace already has existing integrations with Zoom and BlueJeans, and an integration with Microsoft Teams remains under discussion, said Ujjwal Singh, product manager at Facebook Workplace.

With the introduction of plugins, the company has taken another step towards connecting Workplace to external tools, in order to facilitate content sharing through external tools such as Microsoft’s SharePoint. “This allows leaders to use Workplace to create content to connect with employees, but also to increase the surface area of ​​that content,” Singh said.

Other platform updates include the ability to sync Workplace events with external calendar tools, including those from Microsoft Outlook and Google’s Gmail. And there’s an update to Workplace’s Knowledge Library content sharing platform that allows the app to pull resources from other places like intranets.

Workplace knowledge library Facebook workplace

The Facebook Workplace Knowledge Library now makes it easier for the app to access resources in other places.

Angela Ashenden, senior analyst at CCS Insight, said Facebook’s growing focus on integration – both in terms of showcasing third-party tools and content in Workplace, as well as delivering Workplace content elsewhere – serves to “highlight the need for these tools to play. well with an organization’s existing investments to improve the employee experience.

“Employees face a multitude of tools to do their jobs, and it is important that the tools work well together so that the employee does not have to be the point of human integration joining the dots,” said Ashenden.

Facebook claims 7 million paid users in the workplace

Facebook executives also took stock of the number of paid Workplace users, saying that number had risen to 7 million, up 40% from 5 million in May 2020.

“We built Workplace as an in-house version of Facebook to run our own business, and it’s been so helpful we’ve started letting other organizations use it as well, including everyone from Spotify to Starbucks in going through the World Health Organization, ”said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook. a statement on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

The growth in paid users is in part due to the pandemic-induced rise of remote working, said Julien Codorniou, vice president of Workplace at Facebook, although new customers are also rolling out Workplace as they plan to upgrade. reopen offices and seek to connect remotely and on site. Staff.

“As businesses embrace the hybrid way of working, they realize that sometimes it’s not enough to just have a video conferencing solution or an instant messaging solution,” said Codorniou. “They want something that can help them connect everyone – the people who work at home, in the factory or in the office – with real-time and asynchronous communication tools.”

Ashenden said Workplace’s growth over the past year was evidence of a “renewed interest in the employee experience” among businesses during the pandemic, as companies seek to connect staff and nurture the corporate culture.

“This is something that will remain critical, even if offices start to reopen again, creating that consistency of connection whether you are in the office or at home,” she said.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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