SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Michelle Burbick
Michelle Burbick is the Associate Editor and a blogger for No Jitter, UBM Tech's online community for news and analysis...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Michelle Burbick | December 08, 2016 |

 
   

Team Collaboration Battle Intensifies over App Integration

Team Collaboration Battle Intensifies over App Integration Workplace by Facebook makes a platform play, Microsoft Teams offers integration options, and Slack readies itself for the enterprise.

Workplace by Facebook makes a platform play, Microsoft Teams offers integration options, and Slack readies itself for the enterprise.

Enterprise team collaboration contenders Facebook, Microsoft, and Slack are engaged in a battle of one-upmanship, with the latest competitive pushes aimed at integration supremacy.

Facebook's enterprise-targeted collaboration solution, Workplace, is scarcely two months into general availability, but the company is already planning its next move, for example. This week at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in London, Julien Codorniou, Facebook's head of Workplace, took the stage for a fireside chat with TechCrunch's Josh Constine, and revealed that Facebook will evolve the newborn Workplace solution into a full platform that will soon support integration with other enterprise apps for capabilities such as CRM, email, and file sharing.

At launch, Facebook announced more than 1,000 enterprise customers were already using Workplace, which had been in beta since January 2015, and momentum has been strong since then, Codorniou said. He then rattled off a handful of new enterprise customers signed on in just the past couple weeks. On the list, and reportedly being launched this week, is AirAsia, a Malaysian airline with more than 20,000 employees, all of which will be using Workplace -- "from the CEO to every crew of every flight," Codorniou said. Also in the hopper is the entire Singapore government, which will be on-boarding more than 150,000 employees to Workplace.

What Facebook touts with Workplace is the ability to connect everybody in a company -- from the CEO down to the baggage handler, as would be the case at AirAsia. As such, everybody has a voice, Codorniou said, and the more connected an enterprise becomes, the more productive it can be.

But as TechCrunch's Constine noted, while Facebook's Workplace launched with a few enterprise security-oriented integrations (Okta and Microsoft Azure Active Directory, for example) as well as service partners like Deloitte and Edelman for onboarding assistance, it didn't have a fully built-out app platform for integrating with third-party applications in the same way that Slack does. And that can be limiting when it comes to improved productivity.

Facebook doesn't intend for that to be a limitation for long, as Codorniou announced. Its intention is to grow Workplace just as it has done with Facebook: by first building out the network, driving adoption, retention, and customer satisfaction; and then enabling services to be built on top of the network.

Facebook just launched Custom Integrations, a "Version 0.1 platform," to enable enterprises to build applications on top of the Workplace platform, Codorniou said. Citing early use cases, he said some companies have begun integrating Workplace with their intranets so they can automatically publish into the Workplace newsfeed. Another company, in the Nordics, is building a cafeteria app on top of Workplace so it can publish photos of what's on the menu for the day, again directly into the newsfeed. And other companies are connecting directly to Salesforce. "Whatever you are using internally, you can connect Workplace to these applications and provide a great experience to your users," he said.

"It's just the beginning. It's really just week No. 2 for us. ...It's a long journey," he said.

portable


Microsoft Teams and Slack's Enterprise Efforts
While Facebook's Workplace certainly seems off to a great start, at least from Codorniou's perspective, you can't forget about the other tech giant to recently join the game, Microsoft. Unveiled last month, its Teams collaboration tool, with ties to Office 365, will undoubtedly be a significant contender in the battle for team collaboration market share. Being an enterprise technology mainstay for decades now, Microsoft fully understands the value of integration.

Teams offers a variety of options for users to integrate with external services and applications. As detailed in its Microsoft Teams Developer Preview announcement, Teams offers three options for integrations: tabs, which surface a full site or Web service directly into Teams; and connectors and bots, for embedding interactions directly into channels.

Examples of tabs include dashboards and data visualization, documents, and group task management apps. Connectors can be used for things like tracking Twitter feeds or collaborating on a coding project on GitHub. Bots can enable information retrieval and task completion in Teams, Microsoft says, and are created using the Microsoft Bot Framework, the same thing developers use for building bots on Skype for Business and Office 365 mail. "Your bot can enable people to do things like give kudos to team members; create lightweight surveys; answer natural language questions about sales and customer usage data; or manage tasks and schedules," Microsoft stated.

While Teams won't be ready for general availability until the first quarter of 2017, Microsoft revealed that many developers and partners have already committed to building apps for the Teams platform. These include Zendesk, Asana, Intercom, Hootsuite, Polly, Meekan, and Workato.

Slack, too, has been the champion of integrations, positioning the team collaboration tool as a platform capable of integrating the rest of your necessary enterprise tools -- although Slack itself doesn't yet offer an enterprise version even though it's been talking about doing so for well over a year, as you may recall from our October post, "Prepping Team Collaboration for Enterprise Scale." (The wait may soon be over; Slack CTO Cal Henderson recently told ZDNet that Slack Enterprise is currently in beta and is scheduled to launch in early 2017. With the release, the expectation is that enterprises finally will have the tools they need to manage sprawl as well as management and provisioning capabilities.)

Meantime Slack just announced a partnership with Google to offer integrations to its shared customers. The partnership will involve a Google Drive Slack bot, improved file sharing, the ability to connect Slack channels to Team Drives, the integration of Google Docs to enable previews in Slack, and the kicker -- the ability for company admins to provision Slack directly from the G Suite admin console. These integrations are slated for availability in the first half of 2017, which, when taken along with its plans to release its enterprise version in the same time period, seems to signal to me that Slack is truly ramping up for its entry into the enterprise.

Follow Michelle Burbick and No Jitter on Twitter!
@nojitter
@MBurbick





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

November 29, 2017

As video conferencing use rises in the enterprise, businesses are looking for ways to bring this technology out of traditional conference room and make it more broadly accessible. That's made the h

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.