US collaboration market share data (2)

Since my 5 December post about US market share data, Wes Smith of AECondemand has asked: "Are there any stats here on actual number of users across the leading offerings?"

Assuming Wes means US stats, I cannot recall finding many (Citadon claims a ballpark-sounding 60,000 users, e-builder says it’s got 20,000 users, while there were no obvious numbers at Constructware or Autodesk, for example).

Also, there can be a tendency for providers who offer more than one product to talk about their total number of users rather than breaking the total down by type of solution (Meridian, for example, claims its solutions are used by more than 8,500 organisations, while Tririga has "tens of thousands" of users across over 700 companies).

I suspect most of the leading US providers – like most of their UK counterparts (BIW is a notable exception, updating its user stats regularly both on its home page and in news releases, and is now past the 51,000 mark) – are reluctant to be too open just in case their numbers look tiny compared to a competitor’s user base.

Trying to get accurate numbers across the industry will also be difficult. There is the practical issue of accounting for users who use more than one solution – a common problem in many UK design practices, for example, who can be mandated to use particular systems by their clients.

The total number of registered users will often include ‘dormant’ or ‘inactive’ users – those no longer using the system as their project finished years ago – or ‘revisiting’ users – who registered as a user with company A but have now moved on and access the same system using a login from company B. On the other hand, some companies may have several people sharing a single login, but the system only records one user.

When I wrote my book and estimated the total number of UK users in early 2005, I came up with a ballpark figure of 175,000, based on estimates from several of the leading providers, but making allowance for duplicate users. I hope that the NCCTP will be able to come up with a more accurate and up-to-date estimate, but it will depend upon the members being prepared to trust each other, provide accurate numbers, take account of non-UK users, identify users of two or more member systems, and account for ‘inactive’ users.

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