Feishu needs a tipping point for overtaking in a curve.
Editor’s note: This article is from the WeChat public account “xinmouls” (ID: xinmouls), author: Xi Yin, editor: Qimu. Original title: “Flying Books Confined to Organization”
In terms of online office, 2018 is a watershed.
Before 2018, collaborative office was also known as automated office. There were three established brands in this field, namely Lanling, Fenwei and Zhiyuan. After 2018, as Internet players entered the game, emerging powers began to gradually overwhelm traditional strengths. Ali’s DingTalk and Tencent’s corporate WeChat began to break through.
One year later, in September 2019, Feishu, an office product owned by ByteDance, joined the battle for the first time for domestic users. The 2020 epidemic has accelerated the iteration of products in the field of collaborative office. Feishu, which entered the game later, began to exert one after another. Take the just-concluded 2021 Spring Feishu Future Infinite Conference as an example. The first release of Feishu before the end of the year will be in time. Only half a year has passed in dimensionality.
About this conference, there are many highlights, more about the organizational dimension. In other words, Feishu is broadening its battlefield and is no longer satisfied with corporate communication and collaboration tools, but has risen to the height of organization and management. The crux of the problem is that Feishu, which has always been known for improving efficiency, can still retain its “fast” background color at the management level. After Dingding and WeChat have eaten up a large number of B-end companies, how should Feishu differentiate itself? Incremental users?
Based on the above, Xinmo will analyze the logic behind Feishu’s update from the perspective of Feishu’s business, strategy, and products.
The second battlefield of Feishu
“Feishu is not only a tool for improving efficiency, but also a tool for improving the organization.” Xie Xin, vice president of Bytedance, summarized the changes in Feishu 4.0.
This sentence is easy to understand. Compared with the “π version” which can only cover office scenes, Feishu Knowledge Base, Feishu Recruitment, Feishu Performance and many other products launched in version 4.0 try to focus on the organization New areas of management.
Going back to specific products, Feishu’s performance was born out of the “360 Environmental Assessment” used by ByteDance for four years. Avoiding the disadvantage of relying solely on numbers in traditional performance and scoring on a single online level evaluation, the 360 EIA incorporates all colleagues who have worked closely with the evaluated employees into the eyeliner, and weighs subjective scoring deviations by decentralizing evaluation weights.
The logic behind it is very simple. Feishu Recruitment has seen that online interviews are becoming mainstream.
Take ByteDance as an example. Last year, 90% of interviews were conducted in video format. Ever since, Feishu launched Feishu recruitment, which focuses on “video interview”. It is worth mentioning that the Feishu knowledge base in the new version can improve the efficiency of information flow within the organization. Users can classify them in the knowledge at any time based on the “Internet black language” and “enterprise encryption language” appearing in the files they have browsed. In the library, the purpose is to open up the output between the various modules in the organizationThe current information is blocked.
Picture: Search through Feishu knowledge base
Generally speaking, if collaborative office software wants to step into a new field, it usually opens up APIs to access third-party products. Under this kind of path, the third-party product and the original platform are often not coordinated enough to achieve in-depth connection. Users need to jump to the interface multiple times when using the product. The internal system stalls are serious, and it becomes a point of loss.
Different from the above path, Feishu adopts its own developed products and puts them into use to help users find a one-stop solution. But it needs to be explained that Feishu’s newly launched corporate service products such as recruitment and performance are all in the HCM field, but now the SaaS subdivision track is comparable to the Red Sea, and there are subdivision products that meet different needs in different scenarios.
Throughout the core products released by Feishu, self-research is not surprising. In the case of high saturation in the industry, this may be a good way.
In 2017, ByteDance acquired the time management software Morning Calendar, and invested in the online collaboration product Graphite Document;
In 2018, ByteDance acquired the efficiency tool screen and invested in the enterprise cloud disk product Nut Cloud;
In 2019, participated in the early investment of millions of dollars in the video conferencing service provider Blue Cat Wechat.
Later, as we have seen, the morning and evening calendar, Graphite Document, Nut Cloud, and Blue Cat Micro will correspond to Feishu calendar, online documents, cloud disk, video conference and other Feishu’s enhanced functions. From this point of view, Feishu didn’t seem to have thought of improving its product line in a win-win manner from the time of its initial collaborative office product layout.
Feishu is slowly independent of multiple sub-products. It is not eager to integrate all product functions into Feishu, but chooses to use a single product to cut into the needs of different levels of the enterprise from all dimensions. Through self-development or acquisition of products that have improved on the market, and then improve them, step by step eat up the market share of the same type of products, perhaps this is the real calculation of Feishu.
For example, the previously independent Feishu document has introduced three new functions: thinking notes, multi-dimensional tables, and two-way links, which are more convenient for users to operate in the interface and synchronize to the main product “Feishu” in real time. The “Feishu Performance” product in version 4.0 this year is also expected to be launched independently in September this year.
From self-study to independent sonFor products, Feishu’s product logic does not take into account the differentiated experience of “thousands of people and thousands of faces”, choosing open interfaces or imitating the nailing method to help customers develop customized products. Feishu chooses the experience skills of Dianman products, and uses the ultimate product logic to forcibly conquer different audiences. Just like the Douyin in short video software, using a set of algorithms to beat the world, it can also eat all the audience.
It’s just that, using the product logic of to C to attack the to B end, can Feishu really do it like a fish in water?
The chasing is unsuccessful
At the Feishu Unlimited Future Conference, Xie Xin did not disclose the specific market share that Feishu currently occupies, even how to conquer the market, replace competing products, and the specific number of users, Xie Xin did not elaborate.
After all, DAU has always been an unspeakable pain point for Feishu. In 2020, Feishu has set an annual goal of 20 million daily active users, but according to data from the market research organization Analysys, as of November 2020, Dingding has 173 million monthly active users, 16.53 million corporate WeChat accounts, and Feishu monthly active users. Less than 1.5 million, far from reaching the original goal.
Looking at competitors, after a whole year of 2020, both Tencent and Alibaba have seized the growth point of online office during the epidemic period, thereby driving the activity of their products. Dingding has become an online classroom platform for primary and middle school students by opening up the “learning power”, attracting nearly 200 million registered users and 1.1 billion downloads in one fell swoop. After the epidemic began, Tencent pulled to the bottom of the WeChat group chat-voice call-to join the Tencent meeting entrance, and through WeChat diversion, the Tencent meeting quickly reached tens of millions after being online for only 5 months.
Even if Douyin, owned by Byte, has a huge C-side traffic pool, how to link short video traffic with Feishu’s business sector is still unknown.
Fei Shu, who had entered the game late, failed to grasp the critical period, and was once again divided into a big piece of cake by competing products. We must know that there is a fundamental difference between B-side customers and C-side customers. The migration cost of C-side users is generally lower. As long as the new products have characteristics, C-side users can switch products without pressure and will not face actual losses, but B-side users have Extremely high path dependence, once the system is replaced, it will face a lot of business migration and learning costs. Under this circumstance, how to increase users and even grab market share for Feishu is also a thorny problem.
In addition to user activity, Feishu’s biggest difference compared to Dingding and WeChat is the development path.
Picture: corporate WeChat, Dingding, Feishu app logo
DingTalk has been emphasizing that it is an enterprise-level operating system after launching the “Cloud-Ding Integration” strategy. To become an enterprise collaborative office and application development platform is a new direction for DingTalk to evolve. Under the new strategy, DingTalk has more subdivided functions, more vertical ISV resources, access to third-party ecosystem partners, and creating an application-level market.
Xu Zhe, the original product manager of Feishu, had intention to build Feishu into a “cloud + IM” combination when Feishu was only Lark for overseas markets to enhance its competitiveness. Previously, ByteDance had been rumored to enter the public cloud field, but it was later officially denied. With Xu Zhe’s resignation, Feishu’s idea of becoming a “cloud” disappeared.
In terms of enterprise WeChat, in the past year, a total of 27 versions have been released, 1,128 functions have been iterated, 540 open interfaces have been added, and a large number of interfaces have been opened to facilitate the online digital transformation of small and medium-sized enterprises. Enterprise WeChat inherits WeChat’s restraint in commercialization, does not personally end up doing specific applications, insists on an open ecological strategy, and leverages WeChat’s huge traffic pool to position itself as a bridge linking enterprises and users.
Is it possible to overtake on a curve?
Being a “cloud” is not successful, and it is difficult to drain traffic. Various signs indicate that Feishu is not smooth on the road of catching up and surpassing.
Xie Xin once said that there are three main problems with mainstream office tools on the market. One is the lack of change in productivity tools, the other is that tools are often used to control people instead of inspiring people, and the third is that most B-end products have poor user experience. Based on these three points, Bytedance decided to make Feishu a tool worthy of this era.
From the perspective of Feishu’s overall strategic layout, Bytedance has placed great expectations on Feishu, hoping to iterate through the innovation of the tools represented by Feishu to the innovation of the corporate system. It sounds very abstract, but when implemented in a specific methodology, it is to use “efficiency” to drive tools to the flywheel of the system.
From the beginning of the birth of Feishu, we can see the background color of the product’s pursuit of “efficiency”. ByteDance, known as the “APP Factory”, always pays attention to efficiency. In the early days, in order to improve development efficiency, it developed a product for internal employees. This is the original master version of Feishu. After Feishu was released, the department it belongs to. It is also the efficiency engineering department. At first, Feishu also anchored its target customers to intellectual elites and large technology companies who were extremely efficient.
Picture: Feishu historical version (Source: Feishu official website)
In this way, Feishu is different from the B-end platform derived from the C-end traffic platform. At the beginning, Feishu is not an extension of Bytedance traffic, but Bytedance itself. The industry once believed that Feishu’s customer base should be more similar to Internet companies like Feishu.
In fact, Feishu’s target customer group does face this limitation.
A user who has used both DingTalk and Feishu said to Xinmou: “Dingding pays more attention to process and Feishu pays more attention to efficiency, but the boss definitely wants to grasp the overall situation.” After all, for most companies in China now Mainly speaking, efficiency is not the highest pursuit. How to use tools to manage corporate organization and business is the top priority. Therefore, DingTalk and corporate WeChat, which are more focused on industry digitization and management efficiency, may better occupy the minds of small and medium-sized bosses.
In addition, focusing on efficiency will make the user’s goals more ambiguous. How to use hard indicators to quantify efficiency requires the accumulation of a large amount of data on the platform itself, but Feishu’s current DAU is not satisfactory and it is easy to fall into ” Do a good job in the reverse cycle of “products-massive data feedback-insufficient user scale”.
It can be seen that shifting from efficiency to organization is not so simple.