reading the business news

Facebook continues to lead the digital wars, which began with the first data harvesting shocker that it had been giving Cambridge Analytica user data for political campaigning. It has been clear for some time that with all the negative press it was getting, the company would have to do something to counter it. Mark Zuckerberg this week outlined changes to the way the company will operate in the future as well as his vision for Facebook in the digital workplace.

Facebook, he wrote, is moving away from being a "digital town square" to meet growing demands for secure, private messaging on a smaller scale. That smaller scale, of course, refers, to the proposed plans to merge WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger and to pitch Facebook as a communications and messaging provider. Communications, as we have seen in the past, is the cornerstone of enterprise collaboration. "I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won't stick around forever," he wrote. "This is the future I hope we will help bring about."

Zuckerberg wrote that public social networks would "continue to be very important in people's lives," but with growing demand for private interactions "there's also an opportunity to build a simpler platform that's focused on privacy first. Upholding this principle may mean that our services will get blocked in some countries, or that we won't be able to enter others anytime soon," he said. “That’s a trade off we're willing to make."

It would probably be a bit cynical to argue that the only reason Facebook is looking forward in this way is because of the issues around privacy. The digital workplace is changing all the time and Facebook, along with its collaboration tool Workplace by Facebook, has been evolving with it. However, the recent bad press has had an effect. In the days that followed the Cambridge Analytica scandal close to $80 billion was wiped off Facebook’s share value.

In addition, Edison Research’s latest study found that the number of current users of Facebook continues to drop with an estimated 15 million fewer users of Facebook in the US now than in 2017. Even still, Facebook claims that it is still growing and there is no reason to doubt it, the company claims the number of people who logged into its site at least once a month jumped 9 percent last year to 2.32 billion users per month.

Microsoft Gains on AWS

If Amazon is still the unchallenged leader in the cloud services space, Microsoft is starting to gain ground. In the recent RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud Report (free after registration), based on a survey of 786 IT professionals in small, medium and large companies, Amazon’s market share dropped from 64 percent to 61 percent in 2018. In turn, Microsoft grew from 45 percent to 52 percent of the market. When it came to the largest companies, Microsoft grew from 60 percent to 67 percent. Google only grew from 18 percent to 19 percent. Furthermore, the research also showed that most companies have multivendor strategies, which reflects the growing diversity of applications and services now being used in digital enterprises.

There were a number of other trends uncovered in the report, not least of which is the fact that enterprise cloud spend is significant and growing quickly. According to the research, enterprises plan to spend 24 percent more on public cloud in 2019 over 2018. Thirteen percent of enterprises spend more than $12 million a year on public cloud, while 50 percent spend more than $1.2 million annually.

LinkedIn Report Highlights Problems for Women

As today is International Women’s Day, it’s probably a good time to take a look at recent research from LinkedIn. The report demonstrates what is often and widely reported, notably that recruiters are 13 percent more likely to click on a man’s profile than on a woman’s profile while headhunting people for a role. Recruiters are also three percent less likely to send an InMail to a woman than a man. However, it also showed that women are actually 16 percent more likely than men to be hired after applying for a job via LinkedIn.

The company’s Gender Insights Report (free to download) was compiled using billions of data points created by more than 610 million members in over 200 countries on LinkedIn in 2018 as well as surveying a group of LinkedIn users once in 2017 and once in 2018.

For the tech industry, the figures are much the same, but it appears that some of the campaigning for equal pay and conditions between men and women is starting to pay off. In a blog post from Lauren Barbato, lead analyst for pay, equity and people analytics, said her company is committed to a policy of equal pay across the entire company. “Compensation should be based on what you do, not who you are. Every year, each employee’s compensation is modeled algorithmically, based on work-related inputs like the market rate for their job, their location, level and performance rating,” the post reads. “If managers then want to apply discretion to adjust an employee’s modeled compensation, they must provide a clear rationale.”

Intelligent Drive Search Generally Available for G Suite

Google announced that the Google Drive intelligent search box, which was introduced for the enterprise edition of G Suite last July, is to be made generally available on all G Suite editions.

More to the point, the feature itself is being upgraded. Currently, the feature is enabled by tapping the “search drive” field located at the top of the website. With the new search, when you click in the search box you’ll see a range of options, including:

  • Suggested search queries - Click on a term to search for it.
  • Your top collaborators - Click on a person to search for files that you’ve collaborated with them on.
  • File types, edit history, priority items and more - Click to show files that match the highlighted criteria.

The updated version of G Suite has been rolling out over the past week and will be enabled by default.

Nintex Buys EnableSoft

Finally, Nintex has announced the acquisition of robotic process automation provider EnableSoft for its Foxtrot RPA offering. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 1995, EnableSoft created Foxtrot RPA to help enterprises amplify operational efficiency and lower human capital costs through automation.

This latest acquisition from Nintex follows the company's strategic partnership in January 2019 with Adobe, to bring native electronic signatures to the Nintex Process Cloud, as well as Nintex's acquisition of visual process mapping provider Promapp in July 2018. Thoma Bravo became the company's majority investor in March 2018.