Posted by Tim Bryce on November 14, 2016
BRYCE ON TECHNOLOGY
– The latest twist on collaboration software.
Project collaboration has always been a concern to managers. It is essential to keep everyone rowing in the same direction. In the past, this was accomplished by conducting meetings, preferably before the work day begins. However, due to our fast paced world, it can be difficult to get the project team together. To overcome this problem, we have turned to technology.
Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) offered one of the first ways to allow birds of a feather to discuss topics of mutual interest and share files. These were eventually phased out as the Internet grew in stature. By itself, the Internet became the de facto standard for people in the workplace to communicate and exchange files.
Then along comes Lotus Notes in 1989 (now IBM Notes). Originally a mainframe based system that has migrated down to smart phones, it represents a collaboration tool offering e-mail, calendars, and business applications. Actually, it was quite a good product for its time. Although it is not entirely dead, it’s market share has diminished.
However, with the advent of smart phones, instant messaging, social media, and VoIP, something was needed that is more in tune with how people today use technology.
One such product is Microsoft’s SharePoint which was commercially released in 2003. The product is typically bundled with Microsoft Office and is primarily used for document management and storage. Between Office and SharePoint, thousands of companies use it for collaboration purposes. As such, it dominates the marketplace.
Launched in 2013, “Slack,” a collaboration tool used by communities, groups and teams offers chat rooms, direct messaging, and group telephone calls. It also integrates with a large number of third-party services.
Now along comes “Workplace” from Facebook which is based on the popular social media which millennials are more familiar. Introduced in a press release on October 10th, the product has been described as a “buffed-up chat room and team management software.” Unlike products like IBM Notes, “Workplace” is primarily a communications tool, not a project management package or office suite, at least not yet. It currently includes Instant Messaging, e-mail, VoIP, and file sharing. In a way, it’s not too dissimilar than what the BBS packages originally offered except for a slicker appearance, portability, and greater ease of use.
Facebook claims “Workplace” was originally developed internally within the company, and has been testing it with other businesses. According to their press release:
“We’ve brought the best of Facebook to the workplace — whether it’s basic infrastructure such as News Feed, or the ability to create and share in Groups or via chat, or useful features such as Live, Reactions, Search and Trending posts. This means you can chat with a colleague across the world in real time, host a virtual brainstorm in a Group, or follow along with your CEO’s presentation on Facebook Live.”
As for me, I question the necessity of keeping workers plugged into smart phones 24/7. I cannot help but believe this will become an interference which will hinder productivity.
Pricing is based on volume of users within a company, for example:
Free 3 month trial, followed by:
$3/person – Up to 1k monthly active users
$2/person – 1,001 – 10k monthly active users
$1/person – 10,001+ monthly active users
“Workplace” is also available free of charge for Non-Profits and Educational Institutions. Both High Schools and Colleges should investigate this further, as should businesses with people who are smart phone savvy.
As for Microsoft’s SharePoint and Slack, they should be hearing footsteps.
Also published with News Talk Florida.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at email@example.com
For Tim’s columns, see: timbryce.com
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Copyright © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
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