Workplace by Facebook, Slack, and Sity are just a few of the platforms tantalizing the disruption of the employee experience. There is no question that enterprise software is in dire need of innovation, and as Aaron Levie, Box CEO, puts it best in an interview with Business Insider, "All of this momentum building for a new era of enterprise software and technology... is incredibly exciting to see."
Among the three listed organizations titling this article, there is one dominating the market (Slack), one with a big name brand (Facebook), and one that's brand spanking new (Sity). Let's take a look at how they're similar, and most importantly, how they're different:
Workplace by Facebook launched on the notion that transparency is key. They're looking for ways to unveil what gets done and help people connect differently. Similarly, Slack too unveils what gets done but is more focused on rapid-fire communication within teams. Sity takes a more wholistic approach and leverages transparency for performance, making visibility within teams and across the organization an opportunity to develop talent and give in-the-moment feedback.
Workplace by Facebook
“Help People Stay Connected"
“Be Less Busy"
“Be More Productive"
It's important to note why these companies are in existence because it gives light to their direction and where they will be in the future. Workplace by Facebook is simply capitalizing on their mission from their original product, Facebook, which is to help people stay connected. I think they are staying true to their roots and simply moving into a new market. Slack is less about connecting people and more about communicating with people that work closely together. With Slack, there's no guessing, there's just a quick text for quick answers, helping people get to the point of what they really need. Sity is more focused on the outcome of what connecting people and communication can do for the organization's performance, and how it can be leveraged through organizational re-design and team-oriented environments.
Design is a critical element for employee engagement and it also speaks to what the purpose of the application is meant to do for the user.
Workplace by Facebook
Workplace (far left) makes search and group-posting very apparent. They take a bolder approach to lines with heavier fonts and encourage the user to view others' posts. Groups are created by interest as shown above, "Fox Tales, Dream Weavers, Culinary Feedback..." and show playful images for a more playful environment.
Slack (middle) takes an airy, clean approach to viewing content. Although there are endless ways to attach files and images in Slack, you can tell that short content bursts are at the core of the product. With a dropdown menu to switch channels (subjects), you're more likely to remain in long conversations within one channel at a time.
Sity's design (far right) was inspired by the online publishing platform innovator, Medium. With a lighter approach to fonts, slick use of space, and minimal color, the platform is still engaging, yet made for a more professional environment. Teams are less about interest and more purposefully geared towards organizational design, intended to encourage cross-cultural collaboration and loosening silos between departments.
Analytics, no doubt, is a heavy subject. Charts, algorithms, inputs, and outputs are infinite and so this is where differentiation is most apparent. It's what you bet on to help you understand your return on investment.
Workplace by Facebook
Naturally, Workplace by Facebook mimics it's original strategy to help you understand how your employees are you participating with their product. This is important because if you're paying for a product and you don't know how your employees are using it, or if they're using it at all, then how do you know if what your paying is worth it?
Slack doesn't have a set analytics dashboard, but here are some great things about it. (1) Slack doesn't charge you for participants that are inactive for a period of time, and (2) Slack can integrate with several different types of analytic bots to view how your customers are using your product. some of these bots include Crashlytics (mobile crash analysis reporting), New Relic (real-time application performance), and Qualtrics (customer insights).
Sity's analytics dashboard shows a drill down from organization, to team, to individual contributor real-time performance output. It combines employee participation (activity within Sity), with survey results (performance reviews) to provide a real-time performance analysis with side-by-side quantitative and qualitative data collection. The algorithm combines the use of values, skills, recognition, productivity, learning, development, and more to determine performance and how it relates to the bottom line.
It's clear that these three products are solving a problem and truly innovating workplace technology. It's up to you and your organization to decide which solution is best, based on your needs, but some of the common problems you might be looking to solve that these solutions could help with are:
Drive to Digital
Young, vibrant workforce that relies on mobile
Less waiting for emails and more quick response collaboration
Fuel internal collaboration
Break down silos
Remove decision bottlenecks
Hear voices of concern
Rapid, internal team conversations
Employee Performance Analytics
Granted, this article is subject to bias given I am the author as well as the founder of Sity, so I encourage you to develop your own opinions. If you have any comments, please feel free to respond.