Facebook Opens Itself Up To Channel Partnerships

Channel Partnerships

Bangalore: What is a social networking website doing by attempting to suck-up to channel partners across the world? No, they are not trying to hook up the highly active and remunerative channel business over their network. In fact, they are looking to this network to sell their latest enterprise networking solution.

The social network, which recently re-branded ‘Facebook at Work’ and launched it as Workplace, plans to work with a range of service partners to expand its distribution channels to sell the product across the entire enterprise spectrum, published media reports say.

If these reports are to be believed, Facebook has already initiated talks with SADA Systems, a prominent seller of Google and Microsoft enterprise offerings for the project that could generate in excess of 60 million dollars in revenues during this year.

An article published on says Facebook’s first enterprise offering would be accompanied by its first foray into channel partnerships. “The company will be working with a wide range of service partners to expand distribution channels and sell Workspace across the enterprise spectrum.” (Read the story)

So, what exactly is Workplace?

The Workplace is a simplified professional version of the social network that Facebook has been developing and testing for the last couple of years. The company claims that more than 1,000 enterprises are already using it across the world, with additional emphasis on mobile as a platform.

The standard features from the consumer-focused Facebook would be available for enterprises – these include the news feed, groups, chats, reactions and live streaming. In addition, Workplace would also boast of analytics and single sign-on integrations with enterprise identity companies so that customer IT systems find it easier to integrate it with their platforms. Another feature revolves around the capability of allowing integration of different companies to work together and collaborate on projects.

Facebook has announced that Workplace would be free for not-for-profit enterprises and educational institutions though everyone else would end up paying for it after a three-month free trial. The costs would be based on monthly active users, the reports suggest.

Why is Facebook Shifting Gears?

Quite simply, the company is following where the money is and enterprise segment of the business is where it can make a killing. The examples of Linkedin’s revenues as well as that of Microsoft are enough to convince Facebook that a move from B2C to B2B is what could rake in the moolah.

And, so it follows that tapping channel partners would become a critical factor to guarantee success when the company moves into enterprise space. Given that these enterprises are not keen to develop and manage sales force to address the enterprise market, leveraging the channel partnership is the way ahead.

Of course, the company has not yet announced any plans for a channel push in the Indian market, but the time wouldn’t be far when it does so. Would the channels in India be interested in the business? Well! That’s something we would keep aside for a discussion some time later. Meanwhile, do watch this space…

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