bird's eye view of man reading a paper on a bench
PHOTO: Ryoji Iwata

Though Slack and Microsoft Teams have received the lion's share of attention in digital workplace collaboration discussions over the last two years, Workplace by Facebook, which was first announced in 2015, has continued to build its customer base, which it claims numbers over 30,000.

The company recently employed Forrester to carry out a study on the value Workplace by Facebook provides in terms of productivity and economic benefits. Obviously, even though Forrester, an independent technology research agency, is conducting the research questions of partiality will still be raised. But the report is interesting nonetheless as it sheds light into the value of not just Workplace but, by extrapolation, other productivity suites.

So what did the report find? A blog post by Christine Overby explained: “When organizations connect on Workplace people become closer, teamwork gets faster and culture gets stronger.”

She cites the example of a CEO who claimed a 3.9 time return on investment from Workplace over three years. Or the HR professional who can onboard new hires 24% more efficiently (and improve staff retention by 10% as a result). Keeping in mind the report was commissioned by Workplace itself, Overby claims that Workplace makes collaboration faster and easier through smart integrations and easy-to-use technology. The report also found:

  • 20% increase in task efficiency for frontline workers.
  • 80% reduction in cloud opex for legacy tools.
  • 20% faster decision making.
  • 34% reduction in time taken for frontline workers to get updates.
  • 10% increase in employee retention.
  • 10% increase in revenue per customer.

Overby added that 85% of people claim Workplace increases engagement with office and remote workers, and 88% feel using Workplace allows employees to feel closer to their teams and the organization.

It seems clear that using a collaboration and communications platform makes work in extended enterprises easier, regardless of what platform is in use. That said, it is useful to see the advantages quantified in this way. If you want to read more, you can find the full report here (registration required).

Gartner Identifies Top Data Integrators

Data integration has always been an important part of the digital workplace. Integrating tech and data siloes is key to providing access to everything workers need to achieve business goals.

Given the recent convergence beginning between four major technologies — namely, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and IoT — the recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Integration Tools (paywall) provides insights that should be of interest to digital workplace leaders.

The report examined 16 firms, demonstrating the importance of the area for businesses. Gartner defines integration tools as tools that encompass “architectural techniques, practices and tools that ingest, transform, combine and provision data across the spectrum of data types.”

Unsurprisingly, the report found hybrid environments are becoming the norm for today’s organizations. As the data landscape becomes more complex, data integration becomes a strategic advantage, it reads. It added that current trends see vendors focused on expanding capabilities into application integration. Organizations, the report reads, have begun to pursue data integration and application integration in a synergistic way in order to exploit their intersection. This combined capability of integration patterns is a key component in enabling an HIP-inspired infrastructure.”

It also indicates that data and analytics leaders are realizing that data integration is a critical component of their data management infrastructure. They understand that they need to employ data integration functions to share data across all organizational and systemic boundaries.

The report's authors recommend data vendors keep in that mind that businesses are demanding that data be delivered or processed at the scale of events, and it must match the speed of a business.  For any business leader looking to integrate their digital workplace, this is a good place to start.

ABBYY Buys TimelinePI For Digital Transformation

Meanwhile, document capture and OCR software provider ABBYY announced it has completed the acquisition of TimelinePI, developer of a comprehensive process intelligence platform designed to help users understand, monitor and optimize any business process.

ABBY told CMSWire that TimelinePI is the first company in the world that invented technology capable of analyzing and enabling less structured processes.

With most large organizations now having a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) initiative in the works, the issue of process automation has come to the forefront — with many decision makers now asking "how well do I actually know our processes, and more importantly, should I change them?"

It's a critical pain point for the enterprise as they start to recognize blind spots and the possible need to diverge from their original processes. This is where Process Intelligence (PI) comes in.

Since the rise of RPA three years ago, the majority of PI solutions on the market have been built on the schema principle which is a pre-determined process timeline based on how the company thinks the process works. This means there is a huge gap in the market for satisfying customers who need to analyze less structured and ad hoc processes. (It cannot explain why a process is slower than expected).

With the new TimelinePI product ABBYY aims to fulfill that unmet need in the market. The platform combines the fundamentally new timeline approach with advanced ML and AI techniques. Financial details of the deal were not revealed.

Cisco Adds Voicea Voice Transcription to Webex

Elsewhere in with acquisition world, Cisco acquired privately-held Voicea, a meeting transcription, voice search and meeting tool with robust data privacy. Cisco said it will add Voicea to its Webex portfolio, giving Webex a transcription service that combines AI and automated speech recognition (ASR) to take notes during meetings. The objective is to pull all the insights possible from digital meeting notes and aid analytics as a result. 

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Beamery Launches Careers Sites

Finally this week, Beamery, which develops a Talent Operating System, has announced it is launching Careers Sites. This new solution allows enterprises to personalize the content and job search experience for different candidates based on their location, browsing history, language and application history.

Careers Sites creates an ecommerce-like experience for prospective employees — passive candidates can easily join talent networks, sign up for custom job alerts, or pick up applications from where they left off with a shopping cart like experience, while traffic leaving the site can be targeted with abandonment technology.

The new release is supported by Beamery Digital, a strategic partner to help enterprises craft their employment brand story, develop personas, architect their content, and develop a bespoke Careers Sites.