Is Workplace the right collaboration tool for your enterprise?

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Thanks to digital technology and changing work cultures, more and more enterprise employees are able to work wherever and whenever they want. At the same time — and as a byproduct of the trend toward location independence — enterprise workers have a greater desire and/or need for tools that allow them to collaborate with colleagues.

From entire unified communications platforms sold by large vendors to specialized software and services for industry-specific project management, there are more digital collaboration tools than ever from which to choose. The problem with so many choices, as enterprise IT pros know from painful experience, is that users gravitate toward their personal preferences if given a choice (and often when not given a choice).

Worse, users can be notoriously fickle about apps, particularly mobile apps that can be downloaded and discarded with ease once something more enticing comes along. Facebook certainly hopes that’s the case; the social networking giant last week officially launched “Workplace,” its new cloud-based collaboration platform.

One of Workplace’s major selling points is the familiar interface. Ease of use is critical in the age of consumerization because employees won’t settle for less. That being said, some analysts are skeptical that Workplace will be widely adopted.

Clive Longbottom, founder and service director of business and IT advisory company Quocirca, tells Personnel Today, “Facebook is not seen as a true enterprise tool – sure, it’s used by many organisations as a means of engaging with prospects and customers, but it’s essentially airlocked from the rest of the enterprise systems.”

While Longbottom is right about Facebook’s image as a consumer product, the real issue for any collaboration tool is whether employees believe it will help them do their jobs better than other tools at their disposal. They don’t get too hung up about what is “right” (or what IT insists they use).

Bottom line: The right collaboration tools for your enterprise are the ones your employees choose to best do their jobs. It’s the job of IT to enable, secure and support those platforms — and Workplace may be one of them.

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