Facebook Embraces Office 365

One piece of big news out of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto this week is that Facebook has embraced Office 365 for its more than 13,000 employees. In outlining the reasons for doing so, Tim Campos (Facebook CIO) listed the following:
– Facebook employees are distributed around the world. They need access to tools suitable for this set up.
– Employees can choose the devices (computers, mobile) and platform (Windows, MacOS, Linux) that are most effective for them. There is no central mandate.
– Having a secure environment is very important.
– Co-authoring capabilities in Excel Online is important (the blog post incorrectly states that Office 365 has “the ability to share and edit traditional Excel documents at the same time, across devices.” Excel Online, yes. Excel traditional, no dice).
– Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
– Delve, for intelligence and insight.

Interestingly, there is no talk of the collaboration and communications services in Office 365 – such as SharePoint team sites, Office 365 Groups, Skype for Business, and of course Yammer. The reason in my view: Facebook at Work.

Here’s the thing: almost every organisation that the Facebook at Work salespeople turn up to will already have Office 365. In pitching Facebook at Work, the simple rebuff will be: “We already have Office 365 thank you; we don’t need Facebook at Work.” To which that Facebook at Work salesperson will now be able to answer: “Excellent. So do we at Facebook. Let’s talk about how they work together best.”

Net-net: while this offers some direct value to Facebook as an organisation internally, it is a trojan horse strategy to increase the validity of Facebook at Work across the wide spectrum of customers using Office 365.

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