Accenture Releases Numbers for a Huge Teams Deployment

#1 Teams Deployment and Lots of Microsoft 365 Statistics

Microsoft loves to hype its enterprise credentials. Given the company’s background in enterprise apps like Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL, it’s a reasonable stance to take, especially when attempting to prove just how effective Microsoft 365 can be for large enterprises.

In their FY21 Q2 results, Microsoft laid particular weight to the achievements of Teams in increasing the number of organizations with more than 100,000 users from 69 to 117, while 2,700 organizations now have over 10,000 Teams users. The enterprise segment makes up a large part of the 115 million daily users of Teams (the last reported figure).

Which brings me to the latest case study published about Accenture, which focuses on the use of Teams at a massive company. Accenture has long been Microsoft’s largest customer for Teams, so it’s expected that the 527,000 users participate in many online meetings every month and send large numbers of chat messages. On the surface, the reported data (Figure 1) is impressive, but the scale of the user community makes the reported numbers less impressive when you break them down. For example:

  • 521,000,000 chat messages per month is 49 chat messages per user per work day (based on 20 days per month)
  • 1,100,000,000 audio minutes per month is 104 minutes per user per work day.
  • 120,000,000 video minutes per month is 11.4 minutes per user per work day.

Some users obviously attend more video and audio meetings than others, but overall, I don’t consider these numbers to be as high as you might expect, especially during a pandemic. At least, not based on my experience of the number of Teams meetings I “enjoy” daily. I’m especially taken by the ratio of audio to video meeting minutes. It seems like many Accenture people do not like sharing videos during meetings (maybe the reduced data usage mode for Teams mobile clients will make video calls from smartphones more popular).

Accenture statistics for its Microsoft 365 tenant
Figure 1: Accenture statistics for its Microsoft 365 tenant

Low Mailboxes and Sites

I also note the low number of mailboxes (564K). Given Accenture’s reported 527K active users, I would expect more mailboxes, including shared mailboxes. Of course, the 445K teams also have 445K group mailboxes, so the real number of mailboxes is north of 1 million. Another inconsistency is the 9.5K reported SharePoint sites. These must be communication and hub sites because there’s another 445K sites created by Teams, not counting any generated by Teams private channels (and soon, shared channels). Accenture don’t say anything about how many distribution lists they use, or if they use dynamic groups.

The inconsistencies are likely due to those who created the case study focusing on certain aspects (like a simple count of user mailboxes) instead of the complete picture. That’s natural when you want to simplify what is undoubtedly a very complex picture.

Impressive OneDrive

The most impressive figure to me is the 3 billion files stored in OneDrive for Business amounting to some 10 petabytes of data. That indicates Accenture has successfully convinced their users that storing personal files in the cloud instead of on personal workstations is the way to go.

Managing the Beast

When I read statistics about very large Microsoft 365 deployments, the thought always comes into my mind about the tools and methods used by the tenant administrators to manage such large numbers of mailboxes, sites, and teams. The standard Microsoft 365 admin consoles are good for small to medium tenants, but I can’t imagine how they cope with finding a specific site amongst 500,000 or a certain mailbox in a million.

I imagine that Accenture’s management framework makes heavy use of policies such as the group expiration policy, retention policies, and so on (including how they avoid making the kind of mistake as happened in the KPMG tenant last year). Knowing what they do and what pain points exist in running such a large Microsoft 365 tenant would be much more interesting than a list of statistics, interesting as the numbers are from a headline perspective.

Not everyone has a tenant as large as Accenture’s, but we can all do with a little help to manage tenants better. Subscribe to the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook to receive updated advice on best practice and insights into how the technology works.

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