Facebook standardizes Workplace pricing, boosts cost for larger deployments

The changes will make Workplace pricing 'fair, simple and predictable,' says Facebook, though new customers with more than 1,000 active users will pay more.

Credit: Facebook

Facebook has changed the pricing for its Workplace enterprise social network, a move that will result in price increases for some new customers.

Workplace was officially launched at the end of 2016, following a lengthy, 18-month beta trial with large enterprises such as Royal Bank of Scotland. The platform is now used by more than 30,000 organizations worldwide and has recently won over some large customers, including Walmart and Virgin Atlantic, where it is accessed by 7,000 staff.

Workplace has two payments tiers: a free Standard version (launched in April 2017), and the paid-for Premium tier, which offers additional features for larger businesses such as admin controls and third party integrations. Up to now, the Workplace Premium tier was based on a staggered pricing model, with organizations paying less for larger deployments of the software. Customers were previously charged US$3 per active user for the first 1,000 active users; $2 per active user for the next 9,000 active users; and finally $1 for each additional active user.

Beginning today, Workplace Premium will charge $3 per active user regardless of the size of the deployment.

“Organizations have told us they want a straightforward pricing structure,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “We believe today's update keeps Workplace pricing fair, simple and predictable.”

While the changes will simplify the pricing structure, it means that larger deployments over 1,000 active users will cost more. As an example, a customer rolling out Workplace to 12,000 staff would have paid $23,000 under the old pricing model; the same size deployment will now cost $36,000 per month. For a company with 5,000 staffers, the cost would have totaled $11,000 per month previously and will be $15,000 a month as of now.

The changes only affect new customers: existing Workplace customers will retain pricing as per the terms of their current agreement. Non-profit organizations and staff of educational institutions will still be able to access Workplace Premium for free.

Workplace is primarily an enterprise social networking tool rather than a group chat application in the style of Slack or Microsoft’s Teams, but it is considered a competitor in the hotly-contested team collaboration software market. While it is difficult to make direct price comparisons with Slack due to the different functionality of the two tools, Workplace remains the cheaper option, despite today’s changes to its pricing structure.

Slack also operates a freemium model, with a basic version of its software offered at no cost. Its Standard tier costs $6.67 per active user per month when billed on an annual basis (month-to-month is more expensive), while Slack Plus costs $12.50 per active user per month on an annual basis. 

Microsoft’s own enterprise social network platform, Yammer, and its group chat tool, Teams, are both bundled in with its Office365 subscriptions. Yammer had been available as a standalone product for $3 per user up until January 2017.

In recent months, Facebook has added new features and partnerships for  Workplace, including its Workplace Chat desktop app, which offers screen-sharing and instant group video calls. It also expanded the list of third-party integrations, adding Salesforce’s document collaboration platform, Quip, in November, making it easier to access share Quip files from within Workplace. And a partnership with cloud storage firm Box was announced October.

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