We’ve already talked a bit about Workplace by Facebook this week, but it's probably worth talking about it a little more. At Flow — Workplace’s annual conference — in Menlo, Calif. this week, Facebook announced a new milestone and new features, which it believes will put it up to its competitors Microsoft and Slack, not to mention G Suite.
According to the company, in just three years, Workplace has reached more than three million paid users, which the company claims is up by a million in just the last eight months.
On top of this, it also serves millions of more users through its free tier and Workplace for Good program for nonprofits and educators new customers Nestle, Telefonica, Kering, Petco, Chevron, AstraZeneca and others in the last year.
Whether this can compete with Microsoft or Slack remains to be seen. Take Microsoft Teams, for example. In July, Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, announced that more than 13 million people now use Teams daily and more than 19 million people use it weekly. Teams, Spataro wrote in a blog, is at the heart of Microsoft 365, which was launched two years ago.
This is above the more than 10 million people who used Slack, which in a SEC filing earlier this year said it had 10 million daily active users. The problem, however, is none of this tells us how people are using it, and, more to the point, if they are actively using it for collaboration.
Figures aren't all that Facebook released: it also added a new video feature. The future of work, the company said during the conference, is going to be about breaking down barriers — geographic, departmental, linguistic and more. Video will be a key medium in that future. To that end, the company has released Workplace on Portal, a new app that allows Workplace users to make voice and video calls through Portal from Workplace. Portal’s AI-powered Smart Camera pans and zooms to stay with the action so users can move and talk freely while remaining in frame. Smart Sound enhances the voice of whomever is speaking while minimizing unwanted background noise.
Add into the mix the new automatic video captioning, a new feature built on machine learning and artificial intelligence that allows you to automatically add captions to videos posted to Workplace, and you have something really powerful.
The new peer-to-peer broadcasting video solution will make it possible to deliver high-quality live and on-demand video while delivering significant bandwidth savings in an organization's network, particularly across distributed or remote offices.
Needless to say, the company announced a number of other additions to the platform, all designed to make work easier. But for remote and digital workplace workers, these are the big ones. There will a lot more on this moving forward especially if, as Facebook claims, Workplace continues to gain ground in the enterprise.
Box and Adobe Streamline Collaboration
Box wrapped up its annual conference BoxWorks last week, and it too featured a plethora of announcements. In fact, there were so many it would be impossible to list them all here. However, one partnership will give Box some added functionality, notably Adobe.
The partnership will see San Francisco-based Box deeply integrate a full-featured Acrobat web experience, including capabilities to modify, organize, sign and collaborate on PDFs directly in Box. The new integration should connect collaborative workflows for enterprises who rely on Box and Adobe, making it easier and more secure to work with digital documents in the cloud. “By integrating the power of Adobe PDF and e-signature tools within Box, our joint customers can seamlessly work with the billions of PDFs stored there, without the need to open or switch apps," the companies said in a statement.
With the integration, especially with Adobe Acrobat tools, enterprises will be able to work fully in the cloud. Mission-critical processes like reviewing, approving and electronically signing contracts, or collaborating on confidential product designs, will be simple and secure. There will be no more version control issues and no more downloading files to the desktop.
This is not the first Box-Adobe integration to be sure, but it's a big one. Since 2016, Box and Adobe have enabled users to quickly and seamlessly access, edit, and complete PDF-centric tasks and workflows, within Box.
Box and Adobe say they are committed to working closely on future integrations with Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Sign for mobile and web users to keep up with the rapidly evolving digital workplace and workforce. Watch for more soon.
Migrate From SharePoint 2010 While You Can
Elsewhere this week, Microsoft announced that the SharePoint Migration Tool's ability to move SharePoint Server 2010 sites or file shares to SharePoint Online had reached the "general availability" stage. Previously, the tool only supported migrating SharePoint Server 2013 sites to SharePoint Online. The updated tool can move content to three Office 365 services, including SharePoint Online, OneDrive and Microsoft Teams.
The new abilities couldn’t come at a better time. According to a blog post by Mark Kashman of Microsoft, October 2019 marks the beginning of the 12-month countdown before SharePoint Server 2010 reaches end of extended support (October 13th, 2020).
“It’s not too late to start planning an upgrade or migration to the latest version of SharePoint whether your plans are on-premises, in the cloud, or somewhere in between,” he wrote. “Now when using the SharePoint Migration Tool, you can start migrating your content from SharePoint Server 2010 to Office 365."
Easy, right? Well nothing is easy with SharePoint and it is unlikely you will be able to migrate anything without help. Keep in mind the tool can only move "out of the box" SharePoint sites. In other words, "sites that do not use any coding or third party tools can be migrated. It probably goes without saying that enterprises that are using SharePoint 2010 should really be thinking about options now.
This is just the latest in a long cycle of Microsoft "retirements" and, like all of the previous ones, has been well flagged in advance. Even still, some enterprises just didn’t get the message with both Windows XP or Windows 7, for example, and many were caught unprepared. With the end-of-life cycle of SharePoint 2010, the situation will probably be the same for many organizations, but this time it's with a platform at the very heart of the digital workplace. This is not going to be resolved by a migration tool, but by a combination of tools and strategy. It's time to act now. This will undoubtedly be subject of some discussion over the coming months.
OpenText Makes Document Collaboration Easier
In Waterloo, Ontario this week, OpenText continued to extend its digital workplace reach with the release of release of Core Signature, a key new feature for Core Share, that will enable organizations to automate signature and approval workflows across digital businesses.
Core Share provides all the functionality needed to securely share and collaborate on projects with everyone inside and outside of the organization. Simple and intuitive to use, Core Share is a SaaS application that offers the enterprise level security and compliance IT departments require along with the flexibility that users want.
Core Signature, for its part, brings electronic signature into the OpenText platform, improving information governance, document controls and reducing information sprawl.
OpenText Core Share and Core Signature are the latest updates to OpenText's growing roster of next-generation SaaS applications targeting content and information-intensive business processes. Applications for Quality, Capture, Supply Chain, SAP Solutions or Capital Projects have also been added to the portfolio.
Hyland Strengthens OnBase Integration With SAP
Finally, this week, Cleveland, Ohio-based Hyland has just upgraded its accounts payable (AP) automation solution for SAP with an enhanced integration between the OnBase platform and SAP.
Hyland AP Automation for SAP improves the approval and posting of invoices with advanced data integration, increases visibility for documents and data, and provides flexible automation options to remove manual steps and accelerate the procure-to-pay process.
The enhanced integration now includes SAP native invoice Business Application Programming Interface (BAPI) calls as well as industry-leading intelligent capture from Brainware. Brainware lets customers leverage human-like intelligence to capture, validate and deliver invoice information back to their ERP. It's a small addition but automating manual, error-prone processes is what the digital workplace is all about.