The logo for Microsoft Teams, which is growing by millions of users per day
The logo for Microsoft Teams, which is growing by millions of users per day

WFH Revolution Making Microsoft Teams Global Phenomenon; Millions Added Daily

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As the work-from-home and learn-from-home revolutions take hold across the globe in the wake of COVID-19, Microsoft Teams collaboration software could be growing more rapidly than any enterprise application in history.

Let me state the perfectly obvious up front. A global pandemic is an incredibly unwelcome and unwanted trigger for such a phenomenon. No one with a brain would question that.

But the unprecedented reality of this crisis and the consequent mandate for billions of people to stay quarantined at home have combined to create a level of global need and demand that’s equally unprecedented. And while various vendors are rushing a range of capable collaboration solutions into high-volume service to meet this massive demand, Microsoft Teams appears to be winning acceptance and attracting users at a rate never before seen in the business-software market.

Recall that 18 months ago, Microsoft revealed that Teams had become the fastest-growing business app in the company’s fabled history. That’s a remarkable achievement in its own right. 

During the COVID-19 crisis, that already-steep growth has exploded.

Microsoft Teams’ Explosive Growth, By the Numbers

One of the biggest Teams deployments is at Accenture, where the company is averaging 150 million minutes of Teams meetings each week (more on that below). For perspective, in a 5-day workweek that’s 30 million minutes per day; spread across a 7-day week it’s 21.4 million minutes per day.

So clearly big corporations are dramatically ramping up their use of Teams to keep people connected and productive during these times of isolation and quarantine. 

But a huge factor in this recent surge of 12 million new users in 7 days was Microsoft’s generous, timely and wise decision earlier this month to offer versions of Teams at no charge through Sept. 30 to individuals, schools, governments and non-profits as well as businesses. (For the full story on that, please see an installment from our series, “The Response to COVID-19,” called Microsoft Offers Best-Selling Teams at No Charge for 6 Months.)

That article notes that on March 19, Microsoft revealed that in just the previous 7 days, Teams added 12 million new users around the globe—an astounding average of 1.7 million new users per day.

Three- and Four-Digit User Increases in Europe

While I’m hoping to get some updated figures from Microsoft, here are the latest breakouts for the Teams phenomenon:

  • For four European countries, Microsoft released some details about the sharp increase in week-to-week additions of new Teams users. Measured against the number of new Teams users added in the previous week, for the 7 days leading up to March 17 Netherlands was up 1,323%; Spain up 917%; France up 620%; and Germany up 492%. 
  • In Italy, which continues to among the countries hardest-hit by the Coronavirus, the number of Teams users doubled from mid-January to early March.

And in a LinkedIn post dated March 21, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella offered three examples of new ways Teams is being deployed across the globe:

1. Telemedicine Users.

“We’re providing critical infrastructure for the communities where we operate, and they are counting on us. Examples abound: In healthcare, our technology is being used for telemedicine, enabling user-intuitive solutions to share data and access critical information. St. Luke’s University Health Network in Pennsylvania is using Teams to video chat with patients most vulnerable to COVID-19.”

For more on Nadella’s letter to Microsoft employees and other stakeholders, please see As COVID-19 Rages, Microsoft & SAP CEOs Share Messages of Gratitude, Empathy, Hope.

2. Education Users.

“In education, schools and universities around the world are turning to Teams for remote learning: A professor at University of Bologna in Italy shared how the school moved 90 percent of courses for its 80,000 students online to Teams within 3 days – certainly a first in the university’s 900-plus year history.”

3. WFH Users.

“We’re seeing organizations of all sizes in every sector adopt Teams and Microsoft 365 to enable their employees to work remotely, while staying productive, collaborative, and fostering a sense of community. Accenture is averaging 150 million minutes in Teams meetings each week, which is staggering, while companies like Icertis are relying on our cloud to ensure employees with high-network bandwidth requirements can stay productive from home.”

So sometime mid-year when we have gotten over the COVID-19 crisis and the lives of billions of people begin to return to something approaching normal, some intriguing questions will arise:

  1. How big will the Teams phenomenon get over the next 3 months? And can Microsoft’s infrastructure keep up with that astonishing demand?
  2. How many of the millions of users who signed up for the free Teams offer will become paying subscribers?
  3. How dramatically will the current WFH revolution evolve into something that’s the norm rather than the exception?

Of course, first things first: let’s all stay safe and get ourselves and our families through the COVID-19 crisis. All the best to you on that, my friends.

Cloud Wars

Top 10 Rankings — Mar. 23, 2020

1. Microsoft —CFO Amy Hood bullish as customers make “multiyear commitments”
2. Amazon — My ‘open letter’ to Jassy: don’t behave like predator but talk like pacifist
3. Salesforce — COVID-19 Response: What Salesforce, ServiceNow and Workday Are Doing
4. Google — COVID-19 Response: Free Video Calls, Crackdown on Misinformation
5. SAP — co-CEO Klein shoots down Ellison claim re Oracle nabbing big SAP customer
6. Oracle — Ellison redefines cloud layers around unrivaled Autonomous Database
7. IBM — 5 steps new CEO Arvind Krishna can take to reinvigorate growth potential
8. Workday — Bhusri says his Financials business will grow 40%-plus in fiscal 2021
9. ServiceNow — Can McDermott be king-maker in Salesforce-SAP battle for CRM?
10. Adobe — Digital Experience business up 24% to $859M in Q4

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