Team Collaboration Confusion as Providers Battle DAUs

What can you trust?

Cisco Microsoft RingCentral Zoom 8x8 Analysis
Team Collaboration Confusion as Providers Battle DAUs

Team Collaboration apps are now the heart of any teamwork strategy. Persistent chat, file sharing, and screen sharing applications are rapidly replacing the cluttered corporate inbox. People are relying more heavily on video and audio conferencing to share ideas within environments where they can also message their team members.

In an age where remote and mobile working have made this fast-paced and synchronous conversation essential, collaboration apps are appearing everywhere. Virtually every leading UC company seems to be trying to dip their toes into some aspect of team collaboration. However, not every provider has successfully built a full-fat collaboration offering yet.

So, how do you decide which collab solution is right for you?

You could start with an assessment of popularity. Daily Active User (DAU) claims seem to provide an insight into how many people are enjoying a certain app.

But can we trust those numbers?

The Problem with Today’s DAU Estimates

In an ideal world we’d be able to conduct an apples-to-apples comparison of every collaboration company. Accurate DAU numbers would make it easier to assess popularity. Everyone would know for certain which services are leading the way, and which are trailing behind.

However, that’s not the case. The truth is that most companies are providing numbers that are more vanity-based than factual. Some companies confuse meeting participants and paying users. This leads to widely variable results that are difficult to trust.

Today’s business leaders need to consider the possible inaccuracies that might arise when calculating active user numbers for the top-performing brands. How are these companies measuring their user count? What do they include in their definition of “collaboration users?”

We created a graph of some of the leading collab vendors in the marketplace today, based on their scope and popularity. These vendors have all released active user numbers, and all have their own dedicated collaboration solution. Here’s what we discovered.

Team Collaboration Confusion as Providers Battle DAUs


It’s Not the Size of your DAU that Counts

As you can see from this graph, the biggest players in collaboration might not be as “big” as we think. To conduct this assessment, I considered three main factors:

Applicability: How many of the users in the DUA estimation are actually using a product classified as team collaboration (including team chat, search, and project rooms e.g team spaces).

  • 3 = 80%+
  • 2= 20-80%
  • 1= < 20%

User intention: How many of these users specifically log into their tool to use a team collaboration platform. For instance, Slack users may use a lot of chat, but Webex are more likely to use the app for video.

  • 3 = Very likely
  • 2 = Somewhat likely
  • 1 = Not very likely

% of Paid: Of the figures claimed, what percentage applies to actual paying customers?

  • 3 = 80%+
  • 2 = 20 – 80%
  • 1 = < 20%

What I’m looking at here are honesty indicators. In other words, this graph aims to determine how accurate the claims that companies make are with their DAU count.

Insights into DAU Number Estimations

There are a lot of discrepancies to consider when evaluating collaboration providers based on DAU. For instance:

  • Microsoft Teams: Microsoft says that they’ve hit nearly 200 million meeting participants. However, many of those users aren’t necessarily registered users. Many companies will use freelancers, guest accounts, and so on. I’d estimate that of the 75,000,000 Teams users Microsoft has, only 20 million are using the account for a full team collaboration experience. A large proportion of the estimated number is likely to apply to Office 365 users, and meeting attendees
  • Cisco Webex Teams: Cisco Webex also seems to have a highly over-estimated number of daily active users. The number that’s currently available, 324 million, refers to total meeting attendees. However, Cisco Webex Teams is it’s own product, without an accurate estimation
  • Slack: Slack appears to be a little more accurate estimation. People who log into Slack are generally looking for instant messaging because Slack doesn’t have the same inbuilt video and calling facilities as other tools. What Slack is reporting probably matches the number of paid users on the account
  • Zoom Chat: Zoom claims to have a huge number of meeting participants, However, estimations around collaboration tools like Zoom Chat are missing. The appetite for Zoom Chat is likely to be low because Zoom’s speciality is in video conferencing. When you buy Zoom, you generally buy Zoom for video. There’s a good chance the people using Zoom are already using another collaboration and UC tool alongside it
  • RingCentral Glip: RingCentral’s team collaboration app comes as a part of all RingCentral packages. The chances are that Glip’s DAU estimates are a little more accurate than some of the other options on the market
  • Google Meet: Google claims to have 10 million meeting participants, but that isn’t the same as having 10 million collaboration users. Users can easily access meetings through Gmail without paying anything right now, which is increasing user numbers
  • 8×8 Sameroom/Jitsi: The claim of 20 million monthly active users for 8×8 is likely to apply to Jitsi users, rather than 8×8 Team collaboration users within the X series. The company does have the basics of team collaboration, and they’ve had this technology since the end of 2018. However, it’s difficult to know how many people are using this service
  • Workplace from Facebook: Workplace from Facebook is very similar to Slack in nature. If you’re a paid user, which Facebook claims to have 5 million of, then your subscription is for Workplace. The only caveat is that Facebook started by targeting large enterprises. This means that there could be a bulk amount of users not fully using the platform. It’s also worth noting that Facebook claims to have 5 million paid users, not DAU

Who Can You Trust?

Based on our own research, I’m not sure that DAU can be a reasonable way to compare who’s leading the collaboration space right now. Every vendor has its own strengths and weaknesses. However, it’s difficult to know for certain how accurate the numbers available might be.

Some vendors have a clear advantage over others when you look at their numbers. However, others seem to be fudging the figures that they provide to the public.

For now, we’d recommend ignoring DAU as a factor when you’re choosing your collaboration tool. Stick to picking the service that delivers the right results for your requirements.

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