First, let me start off with a bit of a disclaimer. I’m not an anti-Facebook zealot and my goal isn’t to discourage the use of Facebook by companies and organizations. To the contrary, one of the biggest roles of my job is to explain how social media channels can be used effectively by organizations and within organizations. So, with that said, my goal with this series of posts is to educate anyone considering the use of Facebook as their corporate Intranet to seriously reconsider. Using Facebook for a corporate Intranet is like using a hammer to loosen a nut. It can be done, but there’s a lot of risk involved.
So, to help you understand why Facebook shouldn’t be considered when selecting the platform for your Intranet, here are 10 more reasons why it just doesn’t stack up to the competition out there.
10) No integration with organizational LDAP – Your employees are going to want to login using a “single sign-on” with your company domain. Facebook does not provide this type of integration, meaning that your users will need to manage separate accounts. Not a huge problem (because they probably already do), but most platforms built for Intranets will include this functionality, reducing the number of logins your employees require.
9) No document sharing – Don’t be confused by the recent announcement that Groups will allow the sharing of documents. That’s a bit of a misnomer. Facebook does not currently allow for the storage/sharing of documents and the new “document’ functionality will simply allow members of the group to create a “document” (think Notepad) and share it within the group. You won’t be able to share PowerPoint decks, MS Word docs, or Excel spreadsheets. This means that your employees will be using local drives or shared network drives to save information, which can turn into an IT nightmare. Retrieving lost documents or dealing with document versions without a system designed to handle the complexities will consume a lot of IT bandwidth.
8 ) Search isn’t designed for Intranet purposes – If you have an Intranet right now, ask your employees which functionality they wish worked better. My bet is they’ll say “search”. Facebook’s search is designed to find people and pages, not information. Even if Facebook did add document storage and sharing, the chances of your employees actually finding anything would be slim to none.
7) Facebook is architected as an entertainment platform, not an organizational Intranet – Ever build an organizational information taxonomy for your Intranet? It can be incredibly painful, even with the right tools. Facebook doesn’t offer you the flexibility to build your Intranet navigation structure in a way that will work for your team. Instead, you’re stuck with what they give you. Also, you’d better hope they don’t change it in the future. Also, would you really want your intranet competing for resources with the likes of Farmville and Mafia Wars?
6) Changes that might not be in the interest of your organization – Facebook is in the business of making money…for Facebook. They aren’t really interested in making your organization successful and if they need to add or change functionality that is adverse to your organizations needs, there’s likely nothing you can do about it. Facebook will do what’s good for them and their future, not yours. If Facebook feels it’s more important to their pocketbook to place your competitor’s ads on your private group, they’ll do so.
5) Groups are limited to 250 members – The recent enhancement of Groups functionality has spurred additional interest in Facebook as an Intranet platform. Keep in mind, however, that in the announcement of the new Groups Mark Zuckerberg continually mentioned the 250 member limitation and that these groups are really intended to be used on a smaller scale.
4) Discussions and walls offer no pre-moderation options – Although many organizations don’t want post moderation in their intranet discussion forums, there are some that do. With Facebook, there is no pre-moderation of wall posts or discussion posts. That means when an employee posts it, it goes live. This makes some Intranet managers uncomfortable.
3) Employees may not like the “forced” blending of work/social – Many of your employees may view Facebook as their personal social network and may not like the forced blending of their personal and professional lives. Before setting your mind on Facebook as your Intranet platform, you might want to get the input of your HR executives. They may feel that what’s out there on Facebook isn’t really the business of the organization and blending business/personal poses a potential risk.
2) No integration with your other enterprise applications – While Facebook does offer an application platform, it is definitely not geared toward integration with a corporate Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool or an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system. Your corporate Intranet should be the place where your employees work and where they can access their timecard apps, PTO management system, online form builder, ECM system, and ERP applications. Facebook just doesn’t offer the service-oriented architecture that is required to serve as a centralized portal.
1) Privacy, privacy, privacy. Facebook was not developed with privacy in mind. In fact, the concept of Facebook is pretty much anti-privacy. Share everything…and restrict access to those things you don’t want shared. A corporate Intranet should be exactly the opposite. Share nothing, and decided what you want shared with the outside world. Can you imagine sensitive documents being shared on Facebook and someone accidentally forgetting to set the right restrictions? For a private company, it could be a nightmare. For a public company, under FTC regulation, it could be full-blown Armageddon.
So there you have it….10 more reasons that Facebook shouldn’t be considered for a corporate Intranet. Have suggestions for the list? Feel free to add them in the comments!
Be sure to check out the other articles in this Facebook as an Intranet series: