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Danny Ryan: Hello and welcome to the Work Together Better podcast. This is your host Danny Ryan. I’m here with Tommy Ryan. How are you doing, Tommy? 


Tommy Ryan: I’m doing great Danny. 


Danny Ryan: Excellent. We’ve got the holiday weekend coming up here. We’re just about to … we’re heading into Easter weekend here, and we’ve spent half a day carved out looking at a new product. We’re looking at a new product to us, Workplace for Facebook, and just wanted to talk to you a little bit about the product and how it fits into what we do as an organization. 


 I’ll start us off here a little bit with some context. We, through the years, have been helping companies migrate into Microsoft 365 from different platforms. Over the last couple years really, it’s been picking up a lot with us helping people move from Jive, which is a social platform over into Microsoft 365. What I wanted to do was take a couple weeks here and go through some of the other platforms that are out there, and talk with you about really at a high level what they do, and where they might fit into the Microsoft 365 world. Talk a little bit, maybe, about the content types that they have, talk a little bit about just in general what reasoning would somebody have to migrate into Microsoft 365, and just take a look at a couple different products out there. 


 This first one we’re going to look at is Workplace, and boy- 


Tommy Ryan: Workplace by Facebook. 


Danny Ryan: I keep on wanting to call it something else. I don’t why, what it is about that. For a while, I was calling it Facebook Work or something, or just making up different names for it. Workplace, so this should fit in well to our … we help companies with Microsoft 365 digital workplaces, so that’s definitely that word means something to us, has a lot to do with what we do as an organization. 


 Getting started here and starting to use it together my first impression is, basically, if people are using Facebook right now, it’s very easy. There’s no training involved, they can get up and running on this very quickly. 


Tommy Ryan: Definitely same UI metaphors and similar content types that you have, and you definitely are navigating, and liking, and responding, and creating in a very similar way. A lot of people use Facebook, so I think you’re going to take a good part of your organization from a turning standpoint by going to Facebook. I would imagine over time as things change from UI interactions in Facebook that would be reflected in Workplace where they find some best practices, and a way to keep it fresh, which I think would be important for them to stay viable as another platform. 


Danny Ryan: It’s primarily in the area of social. You were little talking about a lot of things like communities, groups, dealing a lot with feeds. You’re mentioning social interactions, so sort of like when we were working with Jive, and right away my mind says, “Well, what’s the equivalent within Microsoft 365?” The thing that’s jumps out to me is it feels a lot like it’s Yammer. 


Tommy Ryan: I would say it leans towards Yammer. Although definitely there’s some overlap with Teams too because when you look at the richness of your post that reminds me more of what you can do in Teams. Where Teams you’ve got GIFs, and images, and formatted text. That’s not what you see in Yammer. Yammer’s more of a plain text approach, a simpler posting. 


 I think the type of communication that you do within Workplace is more similar to what you would do inside of Yammer. It does have a group concept, so you can narrow down the conversation, but it’s also where you could have everyone in the company go to be communicated through that active bulletin board of information that needs to be shared with the company. It seems like more sharing information than actually getting work done versus Teams has a lot of that social capability, but it’s tied very tightly with working with content that is being updated and versioned. 


 As we were poking around at first I didn’t think you had any versioning capability. It wasn’t very apparent until you went into the files area of a group, and I noticed one of the options was uploading another version, but it doesn’t have that rich capability of opening it up in a browser edit capability like you have with the Google platform, the Microsoft platform where they’re editable online documents. I think that’s a real shortcoming if you’re trying to get work done where it involves updating documents. 


Danny Ryan: I think came to a little bit of a realization earlier today, maybe. The reason I have a problem with it being called Workplace is, for us, the definition of a workplace is where you’re getting work done together. A core piece of that is I think the experience that you get within collaborating together on a document … maybe we’re just old schoolers and we’re document centric. That seems, to me, to be a vital part of what a digital workplace is, is you and I are working together on docs, and so that might be a place where I have a problem with it. 


 I think this is where as part of their platform they have integration with OneDrive, SharePoint, Box, the other big players because I think they probably came to the realization fairly quickly like, “Is that what we’re doing guys? Are we going to be a CMS? Is this the direction that we’re going into?” Looks like they’re doing the good old-fashioned … sort of like what Jive did. 


Tommy Ryan: Jive really didn’t want to be a CMS. 


Danny Ryan: They didn’t want to be a CMS. 


Tommy Ryan: They straddled that a bit, but if you pin them down, I think their view was we’re not a CMS. We’re not like … something that is more enterprise grade CMS capabilities. They did want the social side of it. 


 Looking through what you did in Jive, yeah, the collaborative documents kind of a Wiki markup. There are some things in there, I haven’t dug in that deep, but it really, to me, feels like it’s sharing versus collaborating and updating enterprise content. It’s more of sharing ideas, getting feedback, creating the social aspect of getting decisions made by feedback and collaboration through discussions. I think that’s probably where it hits home, and is probably the strongest. 


 We start talking about, well, what if someone had to leave? They wanted to consolidate and say, “I just want Microsoft 365 and that suite, and I don’t want to add complexity of having Facebook,” I feel like a lot of this content don’t know if people would bring it forward or not. Some of it would belong in Yammer, and do you have to put some of those conversations out there for a record of what decisions were made, what information was learned through discussions? That’s a tough call, and then the document content because it’s not a strong CMS, what are you going to really think you could have a lot of document content that needs to be moved into a CMS. Or you realize well, the content they had up there probably was a copy of something that was managed somewhere else. Or if they had the integration then they don’t have to move that content. 


 You can look at Jive, and you could say, “Oh Jive’s very close to Workplace.” It leans heavy on the social side of things, and so why are people moving from Jive? Well, there’s decisions being made, there’s information that evolves that needs to be moved over. 


Danny Ryan: I think of if you have both of them up and running what’s the issues? I think we run into very similar types of issues that we saw with having multiple platforms that do very similar things, which is the search problem, it is the where do I put things problem. One of the things I noticed about this is they have integration with Azure AD, I think that a lot of people are recognizing Microsoft’s owning that, so then I’m like, “Okay, the Azure stuff is Microsoft, or the active directory stuff is Microsoft. The SharePoint, looks like you might using SharePoint so you’re storing the documents in there, but then the social thing you’re just going to use …” I’m just trying to figure out where … I understand the training part, I understand that maybe a younger generation than me would appreciate using Facebook at work. Then I’m also going, “Is there really that much of a benefit where you would have both of them in play?” 


Tommy Ryan: I think a part of this is the level of engagement. Are you supporting the culture of knowledge sharing, and collaborating, making decisions together as a team and using digital tools to get you there? When you think about the training of going to Facebook versus going to Microsoft 365 I think there is a competitive advantage there that, “Okay, it’s natural, I know how to do it.” You can’t discount that, and so I think that might be the attractor to start using it, and then you get all this information that’s in there. I think your challenge will be is it’s not a full solution, so I’m going to be stuck where I either have to integrate … any time you integrate it’s never seamless, it’s always going to be clunky to some extent. Is it worth that low training curve to adopt the product, or do you put the extra investment in training and evangelizing how are we doing this within Microsoft 365? Where do we do certain types of collaboration? 


 I know a big topic for us these days is controlling the provisioning process because it’s not what template do I using SharePoint? Where do I put it? It’s I need to do this type of collaboration, where should it go? Should it be in a Microsoft Team team? Should it be in a communication site? Should that be something that you store in your OneDrive? When people try to make decisions on where do I put information, I’ve got a new team that needs to get work done, provisioning that, and guiding people to where it should go is going to be critical when you have such a diverse, wide platform like Microsoft 365. 


 Now, if you have a very small organization and you’re looking at Facebook then you don’t need to have the training department, all this effort into rallying the team to say, “This is how we can do it,” you’re going to have lower friction, but I think it creates challenges in the long term when you need to have a fuller set of tools. That’s where it’s going to fall flat, that’s where I think organizations might get frustrated. 


Danny Ryan: They put out in the YouTube channel and their site they’ve got 30,000 customers. I imagine a lot of them are smaller. There is the benefit of the not having to train, and then there’s the certain amount of … I think for a culture, if you say you’re a collaborative culture it’s Facebook, I think we’re probably saying, “Hey it’s cool, it’s Facebook,” but the younger generation is saying, “Oh, that’s so old.” 


Tommy Ryan: I think that’s one of the things that is- 


Danny Ryan: I think that’s weird, but that’s happening. 


Tommy Ryan: The challenge for Facebook is it is becoming an older generation, for their demographic. 


Danny Ryan: Back to something we were talking about earlier today, which was if an organization has both in play why not just … where could we fill in? Is anybody going to need our help to get people off of Facebook? 


Tommy Ryan: Having an archive strategy, just an archive to be able to say, “I’ve got things that I know I’ve decided on something. I know we had this discussion before, and it’s going to be that decision of do I have enough active content that it’s going to be too painful to search in archive, and then find it, and then somehow start a new conversation? Or, we’ve got too much working knowledge in here, our team depends on it, we’re going to have a productivity drag if all this stuff goes away, or is in an archive format. We need to bring it forward as working content. 


 We’ve done that in the Jive world where sometimes it’s been all we can do is archive it, we don’t want to invest the time and money to get it to translate into a high fidelity moving forward piece of content. You’re going to have organizations, we know some larger organizations, that are on this platform where they’re going to say, “We’ve got enough valuable content in there that we’re going to have to migrate it.” 


Danny Ryan: I guess we’ve seen, part of the reason why we’re covering Workplace is through the years of talking with different folks you ran into one, I ran into one where the replacement for Jive was this. 


Tommy Ryan: I think you ran into one like that. The one I ran into it was going from Jive into SharePoint, and they already had Facebook Workplace as their entrant add. Their decision was going from three to two, and the content was going from Jive to SharePoint and the content they never, I guess, got or their intranet content into Jive was more community- 


Danny Ryan: I think it was the same way with mine. A lot of the Jive stuff seemed like it was going towards moving it into Workplace, so I think that was one of the reasons why we’re looking at this as one that was out there. Part of it is working with different customers sometimes there’s approaches of just shut it off. 


Tommy Ryan: You got to have a good enough … 


Danny Ryan: Reason. 


Tommy Ryan: Pulse on their organization to understand the impact of if I shut this down and this content went away how would that impact our organization? I think most organizations don’t feel comfortable enough to just shut it down. We’ve seen some that have, but they’ve archived the content. I think if we look at these different content sources and we say, “Okay, what’s the probability of a customer that’s on Workplace that needs to bring that back into their organization and want to get rid of that part of their technical stack,” I think the majority of them are going to think about an archive strategy. That’s my gut. 


 Now, a lot of things you think one thing and you’re surprised that people want to go further than that. We get into a lot of conversations with Jive to SharePoint where we think they just want to archive, and as they think more about that content, and the reliability of that content not being available, or not being working content that could move forward they opt to migrate it. 


Danny Ryan: I wonder how many of these opportunities come up? I know we’ve done a fair amount of work in regulated industries how some of this could come up from a risk standpoint to. You’re just saying they’re either a publicly traded company, or they’re in a regulated industry, and something gets out through this, and then all of a sudden it doesn’t matter. It needs to happen and it’s more of a risk compliance reason then it is anything else. We’ve seen that as well come up. 


Tommy Ryan: Coming from Mark Zuckerberg where, go fast, break things that is not always compatible with enterprise where if you break something that makes my information vulnerable to my competitors that’s a different story than someone seeing my picture of my baby accidentally because they broke something in their security by running fast. 


Danny Ryan: This is the first of a number of conversations. This is a conversation starter. If you’re listening to this and you’re at this stage of the podcast thank you for hanging in there. If you’re interested in other types of platforms for us to cover definitely leave a comment, leave anything. We’re interested. If you go through our website we’re trying to understand the different platforms that are out there, and where ThreeWill can fill a role perhaps with somebody either consolidating, or I just mentioned the compliance risk. If there’s some reason where you feel like you’re stuck on some platform and need some help from an outside partner we’ve just been really focusing in on that. We’ve got great expertise around Microsoft 365, how to get things into it from not only a migration standpoint, but also just coming up with a good plan around doing this, and how to roll it out, and how to roll it out to different groups, and help you out as an organization to pull this off successfully. 


 I joke around, we’re not usually talking to people about migrations where you can execute a migration perfectly, but if the communication falls apart it can make the whole project look like a failure. Working with an outside group like ThreeWill we can really help you around effectively managing risk as you’re moving from one platform to the other, and making sure you’re communicating properly. 


 Anything else before we wrap up here Tom? 


Tommy Ryan: I think we need to let the audience know we’re extremely passionate about the digital workplace, and people getting the most out of that digital workplace, and moving your content from another platform into Microsoft 365 is that first step in the journey. We know that the digital workplace has value based on the content it has, and so that’s a big part of how we add value in the digital workplace. That’s all I have to add on that. 


Danny Ryan: Awesome. Thank you everybody for listening, and have a wonderful day. Thank you. Bye-bye. 


Tommy Ryan: Bye. 



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