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High Economies of scale

Collaboration and Productivity: Connected  

Microsoft has emerged as a leader in the team collaboration environment specifically because of its acceptance of UC 3.0. Simply put, Microsoft doesn’t just offer collaboration as an add-on to your existing environment. Instead, Teams is a natural component of your existing Microsoft ecosystem.  

Microsoft Teams allows companies to hold scheduled and impromptu meetings, video conferences and calls, while they have access to the tools and services they rely on each day. They can start a conversation from a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, or bring PowerPoint presentations into their meetings. There’s even the option to connect with Outlook calendar to ensure that everyone is available for a conversation.  

Of course, it’s not just the connection between Microsoft Office 365 and Teams that makes the Microsoft offering so special. Microsoft also has a strong approach to the communication and business management worlds. Company leaders can organise their teams into different groups, track actions through Activity tabs, and customise their environment to suit their needs.  

The Microsoft Teams adoption rate has been astronomical. Teams entered the industry in preview format by the end of 2016 and launched fully in early 2017. Although initially, companies were concerned about the idea of a replacement for Skype for Business (particularly in the Enterprise), many of those worried have quickly evaporated. After all, Teams today doesn’t just have feature parity with Skype for Business (Online edition only as I write this); it can do so much more. Some Enterprises however are resisting the move to Teams due to recent investments in perpetual licences and not wanting to move to a pay monthly model. 

Increasingly, companies are beginning to see Microsoft Teams not just as a replacement for Skype for Business, but as a crucial component of their complete UC ecosystem.  

As of March 2019, Microsoft Teams has more than 500,000 organisations reliant on the platform – compared to Cisco’s collaboration portfolio, which serves around 300 million people around the world. It’s tricky to compare numbers like for like on this basis, however based on some simple math, I’d estimate that there are already more than 50 million Teams users out there. If Cisco convert a good portion convert their 130 million Webex users to Webex Teams, then we’re going to see an exciting battle for top spot over the next few years. 

As I said, it’s difficult to get a like-for-like comparison, since Microsoft never shares the number of individual users using Microsoft Teams. However, it’s fair to say that Microsoft Teams is bigger than the alternative offerings from Facebook and Google (Workplace and Hangouts). It’s also gaining on other productivity solutions like Slack too.  

For many people, Microsoft Teams represents the more enterprise-focused approach to collaboration that Slack simply can’t provide. It delivers the security, administration and productivity tools that Slack lags behind on. Most importantly, Microsoft also has the benefit of being an existing part of many current communication and productivity networks already. It’s hard to find a business that hasn’t at least considered using Microsoft Office in their stack.