While businesses have traditionally tried to meet their needs using a ‘one-size-fits-all’ software solution, the value in using multiple platforms for different needs is increasingly being recognised. AstraZeneca (AZ), a leading global biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Cambridge, UK, is just one company using a blended approach to enable the digital workplace with the use of both Office 365 and Workplace by Facebook.

We spoke to Tim Colman, a Communications Manager at AZ, about his first-hand experience of both platforms and how they work together to shape the modern workplace.

Workplace by Facebook

Facebook expanded their colossal reach into the world of business with the launch of Workplace in 2016. Since then a 30,000-strong list of organisations have signed up to the platform which combines the look and feel of Facebook’s consumer app with features targeted towards building workplace engagement.

Best thing about it…

The familiarity. The fact that Workplace looks and feels almost identical to Facebook means there is no technical knowledge needed and it immediately resonates with users. It creates a sense of community and because of its ability to grow organically people can take it in any direction they choose.

Worst thing about it…

As with any social media platform, there are definite risks involved in terms of behaviour. Its familiarity is a double-edged sword because bad habits formed on Facebook outside of work have the potential to be perpetuated in the workplace. The platform itself is also fairly limited when it comes to things like file sharing and structure.

Advice for introducing Workplace…

Be brave. The reality is that most people these days are using some form of social media in their personal lives, so you can either capitalise on that familiarity to introduce social to your company or risk being left behind.


Office 365

Office 365 is the powerhouse of enterprise platforms, with a large majority of organisations worldwide already using the mature suite of productivity and collaboration tools.

Best thing about it…

The sheer scope of things you can do with it, the options are virtually endless!  Over the years I’ve encountered some seriously stunning sites and varied intranets only to find out that they’ve been built using SharePoint. There’s nothing like it in terms of customisation.

Worst thing about it…

People tend to carry Microsoft baggage with them purely because it’s been around for so long. And while Microsoft is customisable, there is a greater degree of technical skill and management of the overall journey necessary to ensure the suite of tools are working to their full potential.

Advice for introducing Office 365

Push the boundaries. Many organisations using Office 365 will take the out-of-the-box approach which is a real shame because it doesn’t explore the s full potential. I’d also say take the time to plan your journey before you start; you can end up down some blind alleys otherwise.

Do you have any final comments on Workplace vs Office 365?

Workplace creates a culture of engagement and collaboration in a relatively short amount of time. Office 365 on the other hand is a platform designed to expand and grow with your workforce over time.

Whether you’re looking to connect your digital workplace with Office 365 alone, together with Workplace, or via a completely difference suite of tools, we know there is no one-size-fits-all approach. A cross-functional approach helps to deliver better solutions that are less likely to fail. That’s where we come in. We work with clients on internal comms-led, IT-led and HR-led projects to help them make sense of digital workplace so that it’s delivering business vision and value. If you’re interested in finding out more email hello@sequelgroup.co.uk