As far as office collaboration solutions are concerned, Slack is the undisputed leader in this steadily growing market. However, Facebook recently announced plans to compete with Slack and similar software with Workplace, a solution which enables companies to connect all of their employees through group chats, customizable news feeds, voice and video calling, and some other convenient features. During the latest iteration of the TechCrunch Disrupt event held yesterday in London, Facebook announced that Workplace will soon offer support for third-party integration of customer relationship management (CRM) software, as well as alternative email, calendar, and file sharing apps.
In other words, Facebook is looking to compete with Slack – and now Microsoft – by offering a more customizable alternative which can easily be scaled and modified in accordance with the needs of its users. Interestingly enough, this support will be enabled solely through application programming interfaces (APIs) for IT professionals, so no additional app stores will be added to the mix. This approach means that developers of enterprise apps will find supporting Workplace with their own solutions easier as they won't have to adhere to any strict app store guidelines.
As Workplace director Julien Codorniou explained yesterday in London, the Facebook-owned platform will soon support integration with all software as a service (SaaS) products designed for enterprises. While no specific partnerships have yet been announced, Codorniou named a few hypothetical examples, including using Google's solutions for email, Box for file sharing needs, and Salesforce for customer relationship management, all within Workplace itself. All in all, this is a rather significant announcement which could easily prompt more Slack users to switch to Workplace.
On the grand scale of things, this is yet another step in Facebook's long-term strategy designed to diversify the company's portfolio and revenue streams. While initially established as a social media firm, the Menlo Park-based company gradually transformed into one of the largest tech giants on the planet with investments in hundreds of different industries. While Slack is still the biggest provider of office collaboration solutions, Workplace has a lot of potential to challenge for that title in the future given how Facebook's solution is based on the company's omnipresent social network everyone is already familiar with. Couple that with Facebook's unlimited financial resources and it's not unreasonable to presume that Slack will be facing some serious competition shortly.