Microsoft Teams Hits 115 Million Daily Active Users

COVID and Collaboration

Within the context of a global pandemic – and the accelerated rise in remote working that it has encouraged – collaboration tools have been one of technology’s boom areas.

As enterprises globally have reached for solutions to help them connect disparate workforces, many reached out for collaborative applications that offered a combination of different communication tools neatly bundled into one application that was easy for remote users to access and operate.

Microsoft Teams was already Microsoft’s fastest growing business application of all time – way back in 2018 when the world was in what we might now refer to as the ‘old normal’. From its release, less than two years previously Microsoft Teams already provided collaborative services to over 300,000 organisations globally.

In comparison to its recent acceleration in 2020, that initial growth looks like a snail’s pace. 

115 Million Daily Active Users

If you can remember as far back as November 2019 – which is admittedly a struggle with 2020 appearing to drag on almost infinitely – Microsoft proudly announced that Teams had 20 million daily active users (DAU).

That was a pretty big deal at the time, it dwarfed the user numbers announced by collaborative competitors like Slack, which at the time had around 10 million.
“We define DAU as the maximum daily users performing an intentional action in the last 28-day period across the desktop client, mobile client and web client,” – Microsoft

Further clarification can be found in a Microsoft blog which provides some extra detail on how these numbers are counted.

Not even Microsoft could have predicted the growth that was to follow. In fairness very few were anticipating a global pandemic which would force millions out of the traditional office.

Enforced remote working drove a huge demand for technology solutions that could enable productivity in a dispersed team, and Microsoft Teams was there to answer the call.

Microsoft reported on March 11, 2020, that Teams had 32 million DAUs. Then just a week later they announced updated figures with 44 million DAUs. 12 million new users in just over a week isn’t bad going. The next public figures were announced in early May with the total DAU number at 75 million – that’s 31 million more users in under two months.

I must admit I had been expecting Microsoft to announce another milestone for a while now. I was relatively surprised that we hadn’t witnessed a huge Microsoft themed fanfare when the platform reached three figures at 100 million users. But now I know why. Microsoft waited to hit that globally renown landmark of 115 million before going public.

Jeff Teper, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365, casually broke the news on Twitter. A relatively nonchalant way to confirm the platform’s huge popularity.

Why Microsoft Teams is winning the collaboration popularity contest

There are a few reasons behind Microsoft Teams extraordinary growth.

Firstly you have to give credit to Microsoft for rapidly developing the application. Although it wasn’t from a standing start, Microsoft leveraged some of the knowledge and technologies gleaned from Skype for Business, the creation and development of Teams has been very impressive. Pooling vast internal resource and knowledge, coupled with feedback from Microsoft’s huge user community, it has managed to take Teams from a basic starting point to a position as a class leading collaboration solution in a relatively short amount of time. The pace of development and the addition of new features and functions is relentless and – to Microsoft’s credit – that is a big part of its success.

Current global circumstances undoubtedly accelerated its growth. Suddenly the demand for consolidated communication services, in the form of collaboration apps, boomed and Teams sat in a prime position to capture huge swathes of the market. It is this point that I believe is the crucial advantage: Teams position within the Microsoft 365 productivity suite.

Microsoft’s suite of productivity applications – controls a huge section of the market with limited competition from companies such as Google and its G Suite proposition. Cavell’s latest Enterprise Insight Report for 2020 confirms that Microsoft is winning the battle in this area too. Teams is included within the majority of Microsoft 365 bundles and therefore provides any easy route for many organisations to add a collaboration application for their users at no extra cost or inconvenience. The Teams app also leverages the familiar look and feel of a Microsoft 365 application and that recognisable UI provides users with an intuitive experience that doesn’t necessarily require hours of training to use effectively.

During Microsoft’s 2020 partner focused conference, Inspire, Microsoft announced that 365 itself had nearly 260 million commercial monthly active users – slightly confusingly switching between DAU and MAU. That was way back in July so with accelerated growth that number might be much nearer to 300 million by now. So with Teams achieving less than 50% penetration into 365’s numbers there is a still a lot of scope for further user growth – that might even be considered relatively low hanging fruit.

I look forward to the next user number announcement. It won’t be a round number. Maybe 163 million users, maybe announced in the new year? Your guess is a as good as mine in this era of crazy, crazy growth.

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