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Facebook partner program supports Workplace launch

Facebook launched a partner program to support the adoption of its Workplace collaboration offering, signing up professional services firms and IT service providers.

Facebook today launched a partner program to support the debut of Facebook Workplace, a communication and collaboration platform.

The company's Workplace Partner Program lists 13 service partners on its website, a mix of public relations firms, digital consultants and IT services companies. According to Facebook, the partners will help companies "get started with Workplace." The company said customers will have the option of working directly with Facebook teams or through its approved Facebook partner roster.

Facebook's IT service partners include familiar names in professional services, such as Computer Sciences Corp. and Deloitte Digital. The list also features cloud consultancy SADA Systems and L&T Infotech, an IT services provider based in Mumbai, India.

Facebook Workplace, formerly Facebook at Work, has been deployed and tested at various enterprises for more than a year. Facebook said more than 1,000 organizations now use Workplace. A handful of channel partners will now have the task of broadening that base of users.

Tony Safoian, president and CEO of SADA Systems, based in North Hollywood, Calif., said his company has experience in helping customers adopt new technology offerings, citing SADA Systems' work with Google Apps -- now G Suite -- as one example. He said Facebook Workplace deployments may call for some technical work, noting that customers could ask for help in integrating authentication systems with the platform.

That said, Safoian said he believes Workplace deployments will prove less of a technical implementation and more of a change management and user-adoption project. He said he sees SADA Systems playing a role in making sure Workplace "is actually consumed and adopted by the largest possible set of the workforce."

I don't see us engaging any customer where the top leadership is not super excited about the possibilities.
Tony SafoianCEO and president, SADA Systems

Safoian said Workplace will likely become a top-down implementation, rather than a departmental collaboration buy, such as Slack or Salesforce Chatter.

"Our approach is going to be much more top-down," Safoian said. "I don't see us engaging any customer where the top leadership is not super excited about the possibilities. What we want to do is articulate the value to the top brass. They are the ones who are going to start using it first."

While Facebook is starting with a core group of launch partners, the population may expand. A job posting on Facebook's careers page stated that the company is looking for an ecosystem partnerships manager for the Americas region "to build out an ecosystem of partners around Facebook at Work."

The posting said the manager will create partnerships with companies, such as software-as-a-service firms, and develop a "partner network of system integrators, consultancies, agencies and resellers."

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