Meta, the brand donned by Facebook to launder its past, has expanded its partnership with Microsoft to integrate the Microsoft Teams communications app into its Workplace enterprise social software.
Introduced in 2016 by Facebook as a way to expand beyond algorithmic provocation into the recurring revenue of business service subscription fees, Workplace has seen relatively modest adoption compared to Teams, which launched a year later. In May, 2021, the social network said it has managed to attract 7m paying Workplace subscribers, up from 5m in May 2020.
Microsoft Teams at the time boasted 145 million daily active users, a figure since revised and recalibrated to 250 million monthly active users – which includes paid, free, and trial users.
Workplace already has integrations with Azure Active Directory, Office 365, OneDrive, and SharePoint. Now, with Teams support, those who use both services can avoid copying and pasting data between applications and can rest assured that Meta, and not Facebook, is taking care of their data.
"We’re launching an integration between Workplace and Teams, which will give employees access to content from Workplace within Teams without having to switch back and forth between the two apps," said Ujjwal Singh, head of Workplace at Meta, in an online post. "This will make it even easier for employees to stay up to date with important information, and will open up more opportunities for company-wide feedback and engagement."
Singh said Workplace intends to add the ability to stream Teams Meetings into Workplace groups, which will give employees the option to watch live meetings and events in the app of their choice, or to review a recording in Workplace after the fact. That's supposed to happen in 2022.
Jeff Teper, corporate VP of product and engineering for Microsoft Teams, explained the tighter tie-up by noting that Meta and Microsoft have "a shared vision of offering our customers choice and flexibility."
Presumably, that commitment is not reflected in Microsoft's coercive corporate address, "One Microsoft Way," or in the absence of any Workplace integration of Yammer, Microsoft's competing enterprise social network service.
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According to Singh, business customers including Vodafone, Flight Centre Travel Group, and Lockton have been testing the Workplace integration with Teams. And guess what, it turns out they're "excited by the ability to communicate with all their employees, regardless of what tool they are using."
These customers are so excited that they cannot contain their endorsements, so they're sending Meta endorsements to help market the Teams connection. How often to you see that?
Here's Nick Williams, head of digital workplace at the Flight Centre Travel Group: "Workplace enables our agents to connect with colleagues beyond their direct teams, breaking down silos across brands and business groups in ways we’ve never been able to before. The new Teams and Workplace integration will mark another important step in our goal of fostering community and collaboration across all of our employees."
If that sounds like Facebook's old mission to "make the world more open and connected," just remember that the ad giant's mission statement changed in 2017 to "give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together."
More recently, Facebook founder and Meta minder Mark Zuckerberg said the corporate mission of his identity-shifting ad business remains the same. "It’s still about bringing people together," he said last month, with the addition of a new side hustle "to help bring the metaverse to life." ®
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