Collaboration: Facebook Workplace plugs into Teams

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Microsoft and Meta (Facebook) have teamed up to make it easier for shared customers to collaborate, with video streaming integration also in development and planned for early next year.

Microsoft Teams users can now access News Feed updates in Meta’s Workplace enterprise social network without switching screens, thanks to an integration feature announced by the two companies. Plans to stream Teams video calls directly from Workplace are also in the works. These integrations are the first between Microsoft’s collaboration solution and Workplace, which has more than 7 million paid subscribers. (There are already Workplace integrations with Office 365 apps, including SharePoint and OneDrive, and support for Teams on the Meta Portal video device is coming next month).

This reconciliation serves two functions. First, a “Workplace for Teams” app can be pinned to the Teams sidebar or added as a tab to provide access to the Workplace News Feed within the app. This content can be marked as “important” by Teams administrators to draw users’ attention to certain information. Collaborators will also be able to push content from a Workplace group into a Teams channel to highlight it to their colleagues, and react to Workplace messages directly from Teams.

A synergy of applications

The video integration, planned for early 2022, will allow users to view a Teams video call from Workplace and comment on it in real time. Presenters in Teams will be able to monitor engagement and reactions in both apps simultaneously. Although the two companies compete in various ways (Microsoft’s Viva Connections also offers social networking features, for example, and both recently unveiled competing visions of immersive collaboration), this latest move is an acknowledgment of the fact that many customers now rely on a range of tools to support employee collaboration.

The combination with Teams “will make it easier for people who use both tools for their work to keep information up-to-date and create even more opportunities for company-wide engagement,” said Ujjwal Singh, Chief Product Officer. at Workplace.

Meta’s Workplace app for Teams can be pinned to the Teams sidebar or added as a tab for quick access to the Workplace newsfeed

Ujjwal Singh, who earlier this year said a Teams integration was in the works, said joint customers have already tested the integrations, namely Vodafone and Flight Center. In a statement, Jeff Teper, CVP for Microsoft Teams Products and Engineering, said, “It made sense that we came together to help our mutual customers unlock collaboration and break down silos within their organizations.” .

An integration that has its limits

The integrations should be especially beneficial to Workplace customers who view the app as their central employee communication solution but use Teams for day-to-day productivity, said Angela Ashenden, principal analyst at CCS Insight. This is common in large companies where communications and HR teams rely on Workplace, while IT is responsible for Teams as a platform for collaboration and productivity, she added.

With this in mind, integrations are great for Meta, as they help push Workplace information to users where they tend to spend most of their time. “By displaying the News Feed in Teams, Workplace can continue to reach these employees, while allowing communications and HR leaders to retain control of the communications strategy and employee engagement platform,” said she declared. Angela Ashenden noted, however, that while the integrations help bridge the two platforms, Teams and Workplace users still face challenges, particularly due to the overlap of their respective chat functions, Teams Chat and Workplace Chat, which can be confusing for employees.

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