woman reading newspaper on train platform
PHOTO: Raphael Ferraz

While much of the world was focused on the upcoming Slack IPO and the ongoing difficulties for Google, Facebook and other tech giants over data practices, it was business as usual for most of these companies. One of the things that was preoccupying Facebook — apart from the data regulators in Europe — was how to compete in a digital workplace that is largely dominated by Microsoft with Teams, Google with G Suite and Slack.

The company released numbers on the growth of its Workplace by Facebook platform since its launch two years ago. In a blog post, Facebook stated in the past 12 months alone, Nestlé, Vodafone, GSK, Telefonica, AstraZeneca, Delta Air Lines, Kering, National Australia Bank and many other enterprises have connected their people on Workplace. “In fact, there are now more than 150 companies who have more than 10,000 users on Workplace. And in total, we're proud to serve over 2 million paid users every month — with millions more connecting through our free product and via our Workplace for Good program for nonprofits,” the post reads.

This is quite a jump. After a year — in 2017 — Facebook announced Workplace by Facebook was used by more than 30,000 organizations around the world. However, it is still relatively small compared with the likes of Microsoft and Slack. Slack claims to have 10 million daily active users and 3 million paid users, while Microsoft Teams said last fall that its team communications chat app is used by 329,000 organizations. It is also difficult to see how far Teams has reached as it comes with the business Office 365 subscription and Microsoft said in its last earnings report that Office 365 has 120 million paying subscribers.

Of course these figures don’t reflect the health or success of any of the companies involved. However, in the run up to Slack’s IPO, everything is going to be about figures and it's likely we are going to see a lot more — soon.

Slack Sheds Light On Digital Workplace Practices

Moving from figures to substance, Slack released a new survey about the digital workplace which explored what users really value at work. According to the online survey of 6,899 knowledge workers, while companies are valued by revenue, the companies’ most valuable resources — their employees — define successful companies as organizations that:

  1. Focus on customers.
  2. Invest in employees.
  3. Are profitable.

It also found that one of the common themes in digital workplaces across countries and size, was that communication was seen as the key to “good collaboration.”

The survey covers many different challenges of the digital workplace and digital working. One of the top collaboration challenges overwhelmingly centered around communication difficulties. So how do we jump these hurdles to collaborate effectively? Respondents thought investing more in trust and visibility would help.

Second was that teams need to be on the same page for autonomy to be effective. Often, “on the same page” means teams have:

  • The information they need to do their task.
  • Agreed-upon goals.
  • Agency to move forward.

There is nothing startling in any of this except the fact that even now, after so much investment in digital transformation by so many companies, collaboration and communication are still significantly problematic even with tools that enable them. Access the full "Good Collaboration, Bad Collaboration" report.

Ricoh and Cisco Partner to Improve Digital Infrastructure

Elsewhere, Ricoh and Cisco announced a new strategic partnership aimed at providing cloud solutions to help digital workplaces deliver increased productivity in a more secure environment.

According to a statement, the two will jointly develop solutions that tackle digital transformation challenges at three different levels: cloud, network and device. In practical terms, the partnership will see the two companies work to provide secure and autonomous network connections for multifunctional printers and other internet of things (IoT) devices.

While Ricoh will supply the digital printer and capture technology, Cisco will provide enhanced security across connections through the Cisco Identity Service Engine, which will enable automated operation and management of connected devices and appropriate security settings.

Cisco and Ricoh will start to implement the solution on a trial basis starting April 2019. After verification, it will initially be offered in Japan after September 2019, followed by a global deployment.

Swimlane Secures Microsoft Environments

Meanwhile, Swimlane, which provides security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR), announced it has joined the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association and will integrate Microsoft solutions with the Swimlane platform using the Microsoft Graph Security API.

This means Microsoft, through Microsoft Graph Security API, will be able to use Swimlane's platform to manage threat response capabilities with significantly faster mean time to resolve (MTTR) without adding overhead.  As a result, users will now be able to retrieve alerts from any provider and launch automated workflows from alerts to:

  • Conduct data enrichment.
  • Obtain threat intelligence.
  • Remediate threats.
  • Perform complex incident response actions.

Users can now retrieve alerts from any provider and launch automated workflows from alerts to conduct data enrichment, obtain threat intelligence, remediate threats and perform complex incident response actions.

InMoment Launches EX Cloud

Finally, this week InMoment launched its Employee Experience (EX) Cloud, a segment of its Experience Intelligence (XI) platform, to give HR new tools to understand employee perception, including how the customer experience and market forces impact employee satisfaction, productivity and retention.

The employee perspective is an integral part of the experience ecosystem. As far back as 2008, the service or value-profit chain established the integral relationship between profitability, customer loyalty and employee satisfaction, loyalty and productivity. And a recent InMoment study found that employees are the single most important factor in both making and breaking the customer experience. However, customer service and HR professionals aren't working together as much as they should to make informed decisions surrounding the customer experience.

With InMoment’s XI Platform, companies can seamlessly connect customer, employee and market experience intelligence in one environment, making it simple for leaders from these disparate departments to share insights with their colleagues throughout the entire organization.