Amidst all the talk around augmented reality and bots today, Facebook also announced new integrations to its Workplace enterprise collaboration platform, aimed at further bolstering its enterprise credibility.
Facebook made the announcements during its F8 Facebook Developers Conference, taking place today and tomorrow at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif.
Enterprise Comes Calling
Critics have called on Workplace to demonstrate enterprise value by providing integrations with the business apps workers rely on daily: CRM systems and document management systems, to name two.
"The real value of a collaboration tools comes when people can get real work done inside them, not just chat and have conversations," Alan Lepofsky, vice president and principal analyst for Future of Work at Cupertino, Calif.-based Constellation Research, told CMSWire last week when Facebook announced its free edition of Workplace. "To do that, you need to integrate with the business tools people use to get work done."
That's where Facebook is going with today's announcements. Company officials said files, documents and customer management "are central to how people store and share their work."
"We're excited to announce that Workplace customers can integrate more deeply into Workplace to simplify and improve workflows," officials added.
Salesforce, OneDrive Integrations
Specifically, Workplace will integrate with Microsoft OneDrive and Office, Salesforce CRM, Box file storage and document management and Quip, a document collaboration application. Quip was founded by a former Facebook CTO Bret Taylor and his friend Kevin Gibbs and was acquired by Salesforce last year.
Simon Cross, product manager of Workplace by Facebook, wrote in a blog post today that files, documents and CRM are a "critical part of daily work life."
"As Workplace becomes the primary place where people in organizations go to share information and have discussions," he added, "we needed to make working with these technologies fast and reliable for a better work experience."
The integrations with Salesforce, Box, Microsoft and Quip will "make it easier to share, preview and organize files, documents and work with customer records," Cross added.
The integrations complement existing Workplace enterprise security features like single sign-on, two-factor authentication and third party security certifications.
Additional Functionality, Additional Customers
Other Workplace updates Facebook announced today include:
Custom bots in Workplace groups and chat
Developers can build custom bots inside Work Chat and Groups. Facebook has partnered with Converse, PullString, The Bot Platform, kore.ai and Avaamo to enable custom bot creation without the need to write code. In groups, users can @mention a bot to initiate a task or workflow.
"Our own teams have built over 100 bots to improve day-to-day workflows at Facebook," Cross wrote.
E-discovery and compliance partnerships
Integrations with e-discovery and compliance partners CSDisco, Netskope, Smarsh and Skyhigh are designed to allow companies to manage business risk by fulfilling their compliance, data loss prevention, e-discovery and legal hold needs.
Live from professional video gear
Companies can use Facebook Live with the cameras they're already using for company meetings and product announcements.
"It's hard to imagine a CEO holding a selfie stick on stage in front of their shareholders," Facebook officials said.
Hardware and software encoder partners include Teradek, Epiphan Video, Elemental, Haivision, OBS Studio and Black Magic. Production partners include Live Media Group, Pixel Corps, Groovy Gecko, Stream Shark, AMV Digital Media, OBS and Wowza.
"We're also partnering with BlueJeans to make it possible for their customers to stream multi-party video meetings directly to Workplace," officials said.
Today's announcements also included the news that more than 14,000 organizations are currently using Workplace — a big jump from the 1000 customers the company signed on while still in beta.
Among the new customers are Starbucks, Viacom, Discovery Communications, the Government of Singapore, Campbell's, Save the Children, Airtel and Air Asia.