Catching Up on Facebook at Work
Monica Adractas, Facebook's director, Americas, Facebook at Work, gives us the lowdown on where the product is now and where it'll be going.
Although still officially in pilot mode, Facebook at Work has found a home within a variety of enterprises -- but primarily in Europe, where the project team resides. As Facebook continues to refine the product itself, it's looking to expand its footprint, too. That responsibility falls to seasoned customer success executive Monica Adractas, who joined the company in February as director, Americas, Facebook at Work. She comes to Facebook from Box, where she had served as vice president of customer service since August 2013.
With feet on the ground in the Americas, Adractas has been busy getting to know the product, its potential customers, and the competitive landscape as she plots her strategy for Facebook at Work. We caught up with her in an email interview to find out what she's learned so far, where she might be taking Facebook for Work, and how her plans may have changed, if at all, with the news last week of Microsoft's LinkedIn acquisition.
Since joining Facebook and taking on responsibility for Facebook at Work in the Americas, what have you learned from early adopters and how would you describe your vision for Facebook at Work?
We all know that today's workplaces are complex -- we're all working with so many details, audiences, and deadlines that it can be difficult to effectively collaborate or share information with the people who matter. Facebook at Work is really about changing the way companies operate. Although early, we have already seen business leaders hungry for a better way to engage their organizations -- especially at scale. I've been so impressed with the team's dedication to this emerging area of the business, and it makes so much sense given Facebook at Work helps achieve Facebook's overall mission to enable everyone to be able to connect and share openly.
What are your primary goals to make sure Facebook at Work is truly enterprise-grade and ready for widespread enterprise use?
We have more than 450 companies piloting Facebook at Work globally, on every continent except Antarctica, and across industries ranging from retail to financial services to transportation. By engaging with such a broad, diverse group of companies, such as the Royal Bank of Scotland, Financial Times, Telenor, Godrej Group, Canadian Tire, and others around the world, we are learning all sorts of new and creative ways Facebook at Work is helping business leaders and individuals become more productive.
For example, one of our retail partners, Canadian Tire with over 1,700 locations, told us it was able to get immediate feedback on new product designs from employees across the enterprise, and helped its team collaborate in real time, which will eliminate its one-hour weekly editorial meeting -- 15 people x 1 hour x 52 weeks per year. (See related No Jitter post, "Facebook at Work Fuels Collaboration at Canadian Tire.")
With Facebook at Work, the newest interns find themselves just as connected as the CEO and, because employees are already familiar with Facebook, there's no training needed to get started. We also stay close to IT and security to ensure we're meeting enterprise needs.
When can we expect to see a full-blown version of Facebook at Work?
We have several very large customers with tens and hundreds of thousands of employees in our early pilot program already -- so I would argue Facebook at Work is in many ways already full-blown. That said, we continue to improve the product each and every day with market feedback and anticipate we'll open Facebook at Work to many more workplaces soon enough. Anyone interested today can apply to become an early adopter on our website.
Any future vision to share relative to how we might see an interplay between Messenger bots and Facebook at Work?
We've seen a lot of success with Work Chat. It's another instance where we can help employees quickly, effectively communicate with one another on a platform they're already familiar with. We expect that this will continue to be a key feature of Facebook at Work. As for bots, just as with other features on the consumer Facebook platform -- if we see a value for it in the enterprise, we will look to bring those features over to Facebook at Work. Ultimately it's about listening to our customers' needs.
Does Facebook need to adjust its strategy for Facebook at Work in light of the Microsoft-LinkedIn merger and the potential that integration holds for redefining business communications in context?
We believe that Facebook at Work can fundamentally alter the way companies are run. We've all seen the magic of connectedness in our personal lives, and now the same magic can exist in the workplace. People want a parallel level of innovation in their professional and personal lives -- whether that's types of computers, products they use on them, or platforms they use to connect with each other. Our product teams at Facebook are obsessed with making Facebook better for users every day -- whether it is the relevance of content, ease of use, the mobile experience, etc. Facebook at Work benefits from all that innovation and now brings it into the workplace.