RBS to communicate with employees via Facebook
After months of pilots, Facebook has unveiled its biggest customer yet: the Royal Bank of Scotland, which plans to have 30,000 workers on its FB@Work network by March of next year, and its entire workforce of 100,000 using the platform by the end of 2016.
Earlier this year, Facebook took the wraps off Facebook at Work: an enterprise version of the social network that Facebook had designed for businesses that want to build social networks for their employees.
The deal signals a new phase for Facebook at Work. It demonstrates Facebook’s ambitions to scale this B2B service just as it has its consumer product (which now has 1.5 billion monthly active users on desktop, 1.3 billion on mobile). And it demonstrates how enterprises are taking Facebook’s effort seriously.
Julien Codorniou, the London-based director of global platform partnerships at Facebook who leads Facebook At Work, says that there are now around 300 businesses using Facebook’s enterprise version.
They include some well-known names like drinks company Heineken, whose U.S. workforce is trialling the product; 4,000 employees from real estate firm Century 21 are also on the platform.
Facebook is not yet charging businesses to use it, but it plans to.
“We’re still in beta but we do plan to monetise, based around a freemium business model,” Codorniou said in an interview. “We are also building sales and marketing teams for Facebook at Work across the globe right now.”
Along with that will come an evolution in the service that will see it competing squarely with other enterprise communication platforms such as Yammer, Chatter at Salesforce, Hipchat, and the very fast-growing Slack.
It seems like more than just a coincidence that Codorniou notes that “every time someone sends an email to more than one person or a list, we see an opportunity for Facebook at Work.” Email overuse and misuse is exactly the thing that Slack CEO and co-founder Stewart Butterfield has said his product is tackling.