Consider this: by 2030, more than 129 million millennials will have entered the US workforce, making up three-quarters of its total. That’s more people than the entire population of Japan. What does this mean? In the not too distant future, the “Facebook Generation” is not only going to dominate the office, it’s going to change how they’re run. Clunky network software, email and even in-person meetings will become a thing of the past, as new workers increasingly bring in the tools and technologies they feel are most effective for office communication.
The signs of a major paradigm change have already started to appear. For instance, just last month, Facebook itself unveiled its latest product, Facebook for Work. The new service offers companies the ability to have their own exclusive mini-Facebook networks. Users can message their colleagues, connect with other people in their organization and collaborate on projects. Profiles created are separate from employees’ personal ones, and all information on a given professional network remains private and visible only to the company who creates it.
Facebook of course isn’t the first company to make a foray into this space. Enterprise social media as a category has been around for nearly a decade and companies like Jive, Microsoft’s Yammer, Slack and Socialcast have long been pushing organizations to embrace similar social tools (often even referring to their products as a “Facebook for the enterprise”).
But what’s different now is that the demographics are shifting, and a network like Facebook for Work brings into the business world an entire generation of pre-qualified users behind it.
Think about it. One of the biggest reasons enterprise software has been known to fail is because workers simply refuse to adopt a whole new platform with an unfamiliar interface and functionality. But Facebook at Work has a huge leg up here, as people are already familiar with the way the platform works and know how to use it. Millions of millennials currently entering the workforce are essentially pre-trained. To top it off, Facebook at Work already has the world’s largest network of registered users via its parent company—a mind-blowing 1.39 billion people—to tap into.
Of course, Facebook at Work’s has some potential weaknesses, especially around security and compliance. To become a trusted enterprise tool, the company will have to overcome lingering privacy concerns, while also helping employers develop proper compliance guidelines (avoiding security snafus like this infamous one).
But the bottom line is, Facebook or not, the corporate world is ripe for a serious shakeup. And with a $1.3 trillion pot of gold businesses can tap into by incorporating social technologies, you can bet other serious competitors will soon be stepping up to join the game.
Things are about to get exciting… at the office. Are you ready?
This article is published in collaboration with Linkedin. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.
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Author: Ryan Holmes is the CEO of Hootsuite.