Last week Patrick O’Keefe invited me to be on his latest podcast for Community Signal. We’d been back and forth over twitter about my views on Facebook breaking into the enterprise social network (ESN) space and what this might mean for the other ESN players.
As you can expect I had a view, you can listen to the full interview on the community signal episode. I had said Facebook’s move into the ESN space “should act as a wake-up call to Jive that they need to put collaboration back at the heart of their product” I stand by my comments and my team and I are spending a lot of time talking about how we can work around the technology limitations to bring this energy back to our community.
But on the topic of Workplace by Facebook there is a lot of chat happening among those of us who’ve been in this space for a while. Sharon O’Dea shared this great article from Talk Social to Me, Making the Switch from Jive to Workplace by Facebook And she also wrote this article Facebook’s freebie suggests they don’t understand the enterprise. I can’t do their articles justice by trying to summarise them, so I highly recommend having a read.
I can clearly see the appeal. If I was starting over, would Workplace by Facebook be a serious contender? Maybe – but knowing what I know now about managing an ESN over a sustained period of time, in the same organisation I see their proposition through a different lens. I share Sharon’s view ‘selling enterprise social in is hard, because you need to get approval from any business unit that might be affected by its use – i.e. all of them. And that takes ages’. ESN vendors have anticipated and continually try to diversify their product to respond to all those decision makers needs. I think this is a MASSIVE fail. Working this way responds to the traditional organisational design, what I believe made ESN’s great is that they broke down those silos, they destroyed the layers of the organisation and drove collaboration like a steam roller through an organisation – WE NEED MORE OF THIS!!
To me it feels like the current big players aren’t listening to their customers and the new players are after a slice of the pie but don’t fully understand what that means. What is clear is the prize is big, according to the latest market report published by Persistence Market Research titled ‘Enterprise Social Networks and Online Communities Market: Global Industry Analysis and Forecast 2016-2026’ they predict ESNs and online communities will procure US$12.189mn by 2026. We are talking about some big numbers.
Jive were acquired in May for $462m they will sit under the Aurea portfolio, we await news on what this will mean for their customers and the product.
And last week there were multiple reports that Amazon and others are sniffing around Slack, Business Insider UK said ‘Amazon is one of several tech companies interested in acquiring the Slack chat platform’
Dion Hinchcliffe was not wrong when he wrote Why enterprise collaboration is exciting again the burst of innovation is interesting and the shifts in the big players is what gets me really excited. I’m looking forward to watching this space.