Customer win stories are generally pretty pedestrian. But when you hear Facebook has signed on with Office 365 — joining a long line of other enterprises that have adopted Microsoft's productivity suite — that's a whole different story.

The irony is that Facebook is an Office 365 customer even though it continues to uses Facebook for Work internally ... at least for now.

Facebook Takes Microsoft Over Google

At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto this morning, Microsoft executives dragged Facebook CIO Tim Campos onto the stage to make the announcement. The appearance amplified a guest post on the Office blogs page, which noted, “The IT organization at Facebook is focused on having the most productive workforce possible and the foundation for Facebook’s continual innovation is our ethic of collaboration that empowers everyone to bring their best ideas to the table. To enable our productivity, IT at Facebook provides our people with the best tools available. Tools that can mean the difference between just having an idea and bringing that idea to life.”

He goes on to point that because Facebook is a global organization with teams in numerous geographies who all need to communicate and collaborate efficiently. To accommodate them, Facebook is bringing in tools they are comfortable using. He continued:

“Office 365 also brings capabilities beyond Word, Excel and PowerPoint that are hard to replicate. Delve, using the Microsoft Graph, brings a new level of intelligence to collaboration by offering additional insights on how our employees work with each other. We’re also very excited about how we can leverage the Microsoft Graph within our own internal Facebook tools and services.”

Microsoft Graph enables applications to "talk" to each either and access digital work and digital data across the intelligent Microsoft cloud. It provides data based on user identity and user activity. Graph would also seem to suggest that Facebook is in for the long term.

Facebook was short on details. It hasn’t revealed what kind of a subscription it has taken, how many of its 13,000 employees will get Office 365 or how it selected Office 365 over options like Google Apps for Work.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Campos said Facebook is providing users with Microsoft's email and calendars. It is also providing “some portions of Office365” that do not compete with Facebook’s own services, notably excluding platforms like Yammer and Skype.

Learning Opportunities

What About Facebook at Work?

The big question: What about Facebook at Work? Does this mean Facebook at Work is not working? After all, if you are not going to use your own products, why should anyone else use them?

Facebook at Work, launched in early 2015, is an enterprise version of Facebook. But 18 months after the launch, it’s still in closed beta while competitors in the enterprise collaboration space including Slack just keeps powering ahead.

Wether Facebook signing up for Office 365 is a tacit admission that Facebook for Work is failing remains to be seen, but it doesn’t look good.

It's also clear that if Microsoft has managed to push Office 365 into Facebook, other IT giants out there that still haven’t got their collaboration strategy right could follow suit.

Title image "Facebook" (CC BY 2.0) by Sarah Marshall