RBS becomes world’s first bank to adopt Facebook at work

Man sitting using iPad
By Kyle McHatton, CA Today

27 October 2015

RBS pioneers use the new Facebook at Work platform as a tool for staff collaboration and communication – without the videos of dogs and cats.

RBS has struck a deal with the world's largest social network Facebook, which will bring the social networking service to employees across the bank via an in-house business version called ‘Facebook at Work’.

The landmark move is aimed at connecting people across the company more quickly and efficiently through a mobile app and a desktop site to increase productivity at all levels, from Chief Executive Ross McEwan to branch staff.

The FB@Work service will be separate from staff personal accounts but will enable them to interact using Facebook applications.

Gaining the RBS seal of approval is a key win for Facebook, as the company looks to leverage its popularity with everyday users into enterprise technology. Other companies, including Heineken, Century21 and French Lagardere, are understood to be testing the service.

Sean Ryan, Facebook’s Vice-President of Platform Partnerships, said: “Facebook is a simple way for people to connect, share ideas and organise events. We hope Facebook At Work will help RBS, which employs over 100,000 people, bring staff closer together and allow them to collaborate on projects much more effectively.”

So, what exactly is Facebook at Work?

Facebook at Work looks and feels the same as the Facebook that we use every day. The major difference is that it allows workers to create an additional work account that is separate from their own personal Facebook account.

It uses familiar Facebook features like the news feed, groups, messages and events, but has been designed purely for sharing content with co-workers.

Social benefit to RBS

Facebook said FB@Work is all about improving workplace efficiency. RBS said a pilot of the service revealed that staff were able to work much more efficiently together, answer customer questions faster, keep co-workers up to date in a more engaging way and source a far wider range of ideas for ongoing projects.

They said that, given how many people already use Facebook in their everyday lives, it was picked up quickly by those in the pilot, with minimal training needed and it cut down on workplace emails by providing a customisable place for conversation.

Simon McNamara, Chief Administrative Officer at RBS, said: “I’ve already been using Facebook at Work while we test it and it’s been so useful – allowing me to exchange information and ideas quickly and securely with all my team on a wide range of projects.”

“I’m excited about how bringing people together from all across the bank through Facebook At Work can help our employees do their job better – whether it’s being able to find answers to customer queries much faster or helping us come up with bright new ideas.”

Minimising security concerns

Facebook has stressed that all the data residing in the application belongs to the employer and is not mined for advertisements, as on the main Facebook site.  It said all data is treated as ‘highly confidential’ and encrypted in transit.

Julien Codorniou, Director of Global Platform Partnerships at Facebook, said: “RBS had a lot of security requirements - and we have addressed all of these.”

Simon McNamara added: “We’re very sensitive to discoverability of data…we’ve been very rigorous in terms of testing with them (Facebook), the level of security. We’re satisfied we’ve got something that will work.”

What does the future hold?

RBS is also considering ways of interacting with customers through its relationship with Facebook.

Simon McNamara, said: “We’re already working with Facebook beyond Facebook at Work. There is clearly potential to expand this relationship…we are exploring opportunities to develop into other areas.”

Other tech companies, including IBM, have been developing platforms which emulate the collaborative features in services including Facebook and apply them to a business setting - applying social solutions to business needs.


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