Coolr is a Digital Transformation (DX) business. They look at DX inside and out by reimagining how people collaborate and communicate in businesses. As a partner of Facebook they look at how businesses get the most out of Facebook’s collaboration proposition Workplace. David Dungay, Editor of Comms Business, spoke to Entrepreneur Adam Clyne about his company, and Facebook partner, Coolr.
Comms Business Magazine (CBM): What can you tell us about the Workplace proposition?
Adam Clyne (AC): The platform is fantastic, it’s really powerful and I think it fulfils the promise that a lot of other Channels tried to do but never quite delivered. As a product it is so familiar to users, the main Facebook product has about two billion users across the planet, and the platform experience is very similar.
This isn’t just about collaboration, it’s about communications and how you connect people in a business from the CEO at the top to the younger newer members of the business at the bottom, and everyone in between. If you can rally everyone around a vision and everyone understands their role in that then it binds people to the organisation in a much more powerful way. It’s a huge opportunity for organisations and I think it will become the new normal in time.
CBM: What kind of challenges are you overcoming in the market?
AC: Whenever you have a big company introducing a new platform which employees need to be trained up on it can be a huge challenge, especially when you have unfamiliar software and platforms from companies you may not have heard of. We have found this to be quite different with Facebook Workplace as people are comfortable with the name and if you use normal Facebook you will pick up Workplace very easily.
CBM: Skype tried to go from a consumer product to a business one with mixed success. Will Facebook do a better job?
AC: The difference between a Skype and Facebook is that although Skype is big and it is scaled it is nowhere near as scaled, and distributed across the globe as Facebook. Another difference is Facebook is used by people multiple times every day, it’s a part of their lives. Skype is more functional, you use it when you need to call someone, outside of that you don’t use it. Users of Facebook are on the platform all the time looking at photos, videos, communicating and consuming content. It’s a completely different proposition.
CBM: What about competition from other collaboration players like Microsoft Teams and Slack?
AC: It’s a hot and sexy space, that’s the reality right now. The world of work communications hasn’t really caught up with the world of consumer communications. What you find is that people are still using email as a primary source of communications at work, that’s not happening in the real world. All of a sudden everyone has woken up to this and are looking to deploy these new collaborative solutions.
We recently interviewed Adam at Channel Live as part of the Comms Business Live series.
Microsoft isn’t a socially or mobile driven company, they don’t really have that in their DNA. There will be lots of companies that play with Teams because from an integration point of view it’s quite simple if they are already using 365. From an adoption point of view I’m not sure we’ll see the same levels of adoption as Workplace gets, however it’s probably too soon to tell. I believe in this world you need to look for best in class and Microsoft is best in class at lots of things but when it comes to collaboration I think Workplace is best in class, it’s also best in class for that and connecting workforces in general.
CBM: So which end of the market is Workplaces aimed at?
AC: We have been doing stuff in the sub-100 space and above. Once you get over the 1000 mark it starts to get more interesting and challenging and the need for good collaboration, communications and transparency is greater. It’s a lot easier to know people on a human level in companies of 50-60 people. It’s only when you get to 200 and above, and then to start to add in more territories and offices, it all becomes very complex and companies struggle to communicate.
The agenda of many companies is changing rapidly with digital disruption, people are a lot more aware of it now. Also, the millennial workforce is being very demanding with their expectations at work, in terms of the tools they use, and companies are taking this very seriously.
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