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Competing Social Software Giants Offer Customer-Requested Consolidation of the Two Applications’ Best Features
Meta, the social conglomerate previously known as Facebook, established a collaboration with Microsoft on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021 that allows clients to connect Meta’s Workplace social networking application with Microsoft Teams software. With 7 million paying subscribers using Workplace and 250 million people using Microsoft Teams, the collab has enormous potential in the enterprise communication space.
While Meta and Microsoft have partnered to unite two competitors in the business communication software industry, Meta’s Workplace and Microsoft Teams don’t completely overlap. Teams is centered on rapid communication among employees and their immediate coworkers, whereas Workplace is concentrated on large, company-wide interactions.
Clients may now access Workplace data from within the Teams application. Users may also watch video conferences from Teams on the Workplace application. Customers on both platforms can participate in conferences hosted on the other app without having to switch to that platform. For example, they can comment, reply with emojis, and interact in other ways without having to toggle between communication applications.
Ujjwal Singh, Workplace’s Head of Product, says of the integration, “[This] will make it easier for people who use both tools for work to keep up to date with information and create even more opportunities for company-wide engagement. The way our customers end up using it is customers use the complementary features, not the competing features,” he continues. “There are customers that are just Workplace shops, and then there are customers that are just Teams shops. This is really for those customers that use both.”
The connectivity will be especially useful for clients who utilize Workplace for daily tasks but use Microsoft Teams as their primary enterprise communications technology. This partnership makes the most sense for Meta because it enables users to access content in Workplace and import that data to other places where they invest the majority of their time. According to Angela Ashenden, Principal Analyst at CCS Insight, “by surfacing the newsfeed in Teams, Workplace can continue to reach those employees, while allowing comms and HR leaders to retain control over the communications and employee engagement platform strategy.”
Tools that facilitate remote work continue to gain traction as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and both Microsoft and Meta are reportedly developing deeper VR-based remote work solutions. This agreement reaffirms both organizations’ commitment to working remotely and accelerates Meta’s objective of creating a metaverse that delivers a completely immersive virtual environment. The move cements long-standing collaboration with other platforms, as Microsoft and Meta clients have already been able to link Workplace with Google’s OneDrive, SharePoint, and the Microsoft Office 365 suite.
The Head of 365 Collaboration for Microsoft Jeff Taper says, “One thing I’ve learned is there’s not going to be a one and only one communications tool on the planet.” He continued, summarizing that remote and brick-and-mortar office workers will toggle between several different tools to achieve maximum efficiency and productivity. The partnership between Microsoft and Meta shows promise in leading the way for competing tools to find ways for clients to integrate their work between applications and spend less time switching back and forth. Expect to see other large applications used in remote work to follow suit.
As far as the future of the collaboration is concerned, Singh has high hopes. “I would say we’re best in class around community, connection, people first and serving all employees,” he says. “Teams is arguably best in class around productivity, so this is really two best-in-class products coming together to solve an employee-experience problem.”